Bold, Blue, and Bright


For solo trumpet, six ensemble trumpets, and timpani.

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for solo trumpet, six ensemble trumpets and timpani
duration: 7′

notes written by the composer:

In the fall of 2004, Marc Reese (Empire Brass trumpeter) and I began discussions about a new piece that would be a complement to the Concerto for seven trumpets and timpani of Altenberg. I believe it was Marc who suggested: “How about something Bold, blues-y, and then a bright piccolo feature to finish it out?” And that is how the title and piece were born.

Having heard Marc play on many occasions, both with the Empire Brass and when he would join us in the Naples Philharmonic trumpet section, I knew that the most important feature of his playing I wanted to feature would be his sound. It is the core of Marc’s teaching and playing, and it gave me great pleasure to “expose” it in this piece.

The movements are, of course, self-explanatory: the 1st movement to be strikingly bold, almost devoid of melody but rather concentrating on pure tutta forza, occasionally pitting the trumpets against the timpani in rhythmic interplay. The end of the 1st movement is a surprise, fading away as an echo. The Blues-y movement starts right where the 1st movement ended, but immediately launches into the expected blues feel, in complete contrast to the 1st movement. The timpani is used almost as a pizzicato bass, while the solo flugelhorn floats above the jazzy chords, colors, and rhythms of the ensemble trumpets. The third movement starts attacca, introducing the bright piccolo trumpet on top of the held remnants of the blues. Here, again to change the mood, I stick mainly with bright chords, up-beat rhythms, and almost pointillistic writing at times to spring the music forward to its exciting conclusion.

The seven minute piece was written for premiere at the Las Vegas Music Festival of 2005, with Marc Reese as soloist.

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