October 3 , 2009
My Concerto for Piano and Wind Orchestra gets its world premiere in Baltimore on October 7th , and Iâ€˜ll be there. Itâ€™s scored for soloist and large wind ensemble; Harlan Parker conducts the Peabody Conservatory Wind Ensemble with Timothy Hoft as piano soloist. The program also includes Husaâ€™s Music for Prague 1968, and works by Carolyn Bremer and Percy Grainger.
Subtitled â€œSolar Travellerâ€, the three-movement Concerto is a half-hour long, and is definitely absolute music. Over the years Iâ€™ve written works which center in the vastness, wonder, and beauty of sky and space â€“ music that has to do with appreciating natural cycles and the discovery of whole systems outside our normal frames of reference. These pieces are not program music but they all carry descriptive titles. So does the Concerto; its three movements are â€œOutward Boundâ€, â€œNocturne (Lunar)â€, and â€œAd astra per asperaâ€. Its only programmatic element is an embedded technical feature – each movementâ€™s core material is a progressively smaller musical interval, thus mirroring the compressive forces associated with the propulsion necessary to leave Earthâ€™s gravity.
Quite by chance, the Concerto is timely â€“ just in the past two weeks weâ€™ve learned that NASA has uncovered evidence of water hidden on both the Moon and Mars(!). For myself, living in Arizona has as benefit a state mandate that the night sky not be cluttered with light â€“ Iâ€™m someone who faithfully tracks the space station on its night-time visible passes across the skyâ€™s dome, and thrills at the sight.
[â€œSolar Travellerâ€ was commissioned by partnerships of wind ensemble conductors and pianists at Peabody Conservatory, Eastman School of Music, Indiana State University, Louisiana State University, Shepherd University, Slippery Rock University of Pennsylvania, the University of Minnesota, and the University of Southern Mississippi. Individual state premieres will take place over this season and the next. ]