Dawn Game (2004)
for Wind Ensemble
Carnegie Mellon Wind Ensemble; Denis Colwell, conductor
Duration: 6.5 min.
Dedication: for Denis Colwell and the Carnegie Mellon Wind Ensemble
Commission: Commissioned for the Carnegie Mellon Wind Ensemble
Publisher: Lauren Keiser Music Publishing
Dawn Game (2004) for wind ensemble was written for and is dedicated to Denis Colwell and the Carnegie Mellon Wind Ensemble. It was inspired by Colwell and the ensemble’s vibrant recordings and performances of contemporary wind ensemble literature. The title refers to both the work’s formal play (“game”) and also the sense of new, unfolding energy (“dawn.”)
In general terms, two outer sections of driving energy surround an atmospheric and spacious middle section. Throughout the work patterns are repeated and overlap in differing combinations to create textural and harmonic variety.
The work opens with a trumpet flourish which contains the basic musical material of the piece—it returns throughout. A whirling texture emerges under which the saxophones present a syncopated harmonic and melodic idea. With the return of the trumpet flourishes, the first section gives way to the second.
The second section is spare, focused around atmospheric sounds fixated on certain pitches (primarily C# and A). A very simple melodic idea is first presented by the alto saxophones and is developed by the rest of the instruments. A grand chorale theme emerges (derived from the melodic idea of the first section) and interacts with the rest of the material. The section dissolves into quiet fixations again on C# with wisps of the section’s melody.
The third section is very similar to the first one—with additional textural changes. A brief coda closes the work in jubilation.