Cones of Silence (Chorales and Diversions) (2016)
for Flugelhorn, Euphonium, and Tuba
- Chorale I
- Diversion I
- Chorale II
- Diversion II
- Chorale III
Duration: 12 min.
Dedication: for Chris Gekker and the Eastern Music Festival
Commission: Commissioned by Chris Gekker for the Eastern Music Festival
Publisher: Soundspells Productions
Cones of Silence (2016) was written for and is dedicated to Chris Gekker, for premiere at the Eastern Music Festival in Greensboro, North Carolina. Chris specifically requested a work for the appealing combination of these three brass instruments—unified by being of “conical bore” design with a short lead pipe and a long taper to the bell. In a very real sense, it is a trio of mezzo-soprano, tenor/baritone, and bass tubas. The warmth of sound of which these instruments are capable was foremost in my mind.
This piece was written during a period in my performing life as an new music-specializing concert organist in which I was immersed in repertoire of the Wandelweiser Group, an international (though largely European) collective of “experimental” composers and musicians whose work is principally unified by an interest in “the evaluation and integration of silence(s), rather than an ongoing carpet of never-ending sounds.”
Although my own music, and especially my brass chamber music, sits much more within an American traditionalist landscape than it does a European experimental one, I began thinking about a work in my own idiom in which the integration of silence could be as important to the mood and pacing of the piece as the pitched sounds. This work is the result. It felt like a particularly appropriate idea to explore with the timbre of these instruments. While certainly capable of the stereotypical “brass fanfares,” they have additional tranquil and expressive possibilities that were especially appealing.