This was my first opportunity to write for this important ensemble.  When I began this work, my mind raced with possibilities.  I thought about traditional brass literature, and the standard forms for brass.  Of course there are many wonderful fanfares and solemn hymns.  I also knew I wanted to write a silly scherzo, but which to choose?

 

I finally decided my best option was to choose them all as a part of a suite.  I added a fugue movement to the three listed above.  I had recently written a fugato as a part of a bassoon and piano work, and had such fun I wanted to try it again.  I decided to go back to some traditional roots for the ending rondo, a typical form for final movements of sonatas and symphonies.  The title of the entire work tries to reconcile all these ideas.  Each movement takes its inspiration from the brass quintet, but from there the movements diverge.

 

The Intrada is not a typical joyous fanfare; rather it is pensive, even ominous at times.  It is in ABA form with the B as a kind of distant echo to the main material.  Really, if one has the chance to write for brass one must take advantage of the incredible articulation and dynamic possibilities!

 

When I decided on the five part fugue for the second movement, I went to humbly to study the master, Bach.  The C-sharp minor fugue from the Well-Tempered Clavier is one of the finest pieces ever written.  My subject begins on C-sharp and has the same basic shape as Bach's subject.  Although my work is clearly in a 21st-century language, I hope my careful study of the Bach is evidenced in this movement.

 

My Hymn, like the Intrada, is a sobering affair.  After a brief introduction, the first trumpet player gives the theme.  Though beginning soft and calm, the theme gradually rises to a loud climax.  There is a transitional breather before the horn plays a variation on the hymn-theme. This presentation of the hymn is interrupted by commentary from the other instruments.  Occasionally I also enjoyed dwelling on a particular idea.  Again there is a gradual build to an even more powerful climax.  After this, there is a bit of a coda with fragments of the hymn.

 

With all this sobriety, the Scherzo is a welcome relief!  For some reason working on this I had an image in mind of all these little cartoon cogs running around in a factory.  I never quite decided why they were all in such a hurry, but they kept running and were quite serious in a little cog kind of way.  This movement uses frequent changes of meter (changes of direction for the cogs?) and a variety of mutes.  Please enjoy.

 

The final Rondo is, I hope, perceived to be celebratory in nature.  This is a five-part Rondo, ABACA.  The A sections contain a rather long, optimistic melody.  The B and C section are dance-like (courrente and gigue) but with a contemporary twist.  The B contains unexpected harmonies and the C is (mostly) in 5/8.