Instrumentation: Memories, Dreams, and Reflections
Commissioned by the Wichita State University Symphonic Wind Ensemble
Premiered at Wichita State University; December 8, 1996
Recording: Music of the Heart from the Heartland, Wichita State University Symphonic Wind Ensemble. Mark Records, 9048 MCD. Used by permission.
II. Brief Candle: An Elegy
IV. Are We There Yet?
Notes: The work takes its title from the autobiography of Carl Jung and was a sabbatical project in which I collaborated with Dr. Victor Markovich and the students of the Wichita State University Symphonic Band/Wind Ensemble in the creation of a large-scale composition for concert band. Though the work is, roughly, symphonic in form (Fast/Slow/Scherzo/Fast), I preferred not to call it Symphony for Band, choosing instead a title that would accommodate the diverse images or emotions presented by the four movements.
Nature imagery often functions as a genesis point for my composition; so it was with the first movement of this piece. The underlying image is that of swiftly-moving, sparkling, falling water; in fact, the initial inspiration came from a radio broadcast of Smetana’s The Moldau. The title of the movement is Cascade. In the tradition of Warren Benson’s The Passing Bell and the elegy written by Roger Nixon for the students killed in the anti-war demonstrations at Kent State, the movement Brief Candle: An Elegy, is dedicated to a member of the WSU Symphonic Band/Wind Ensemble who died tragically in the fall of 1995. Though the movement is a memorial to her, a wonderful tuba player, it is also a tribute to the loved ones, friends, and acquaintances who were left behind. In this sense, it is a study of the grieving process, hinting, ultimately, at transcendence. The third movement, Waltz, serves as a transition between the somber second movement and the up-beat, sunny fourth. It begins as an elegiac waltz before taking off in other directions. Hints of Mahler, Strauss (both of them), Shostakovich, and Sondheim can be heard, though nothing has been quoted directly (or at least not intentionally). The fourth movement is a kind of cheerful “impatient minimalism,” hence the title Are We There Yet? A Musical snippet at the end is a tribute to an old friend, a 1956 Chevy, which was auctioned off during the 1996 KMUW fall pledge drive.