Works for Solo Instruments and Chamber Ensembles

(click links for sound clips and score excerpts)


 

Bolero (Tuba & Euphonium Ensemble, 3:45)

C. Alan Publications: Score and Recording

Bolero was commissioned by Tim Olt, Visiting Assistant Professor of Tuba at Bowling Green State University, for his Octubafest celebration. The work is a humorous set of variations, starting with a tribute to Ravel’s "Bolero" and including blues, rock, minimalism, in addition to allusions to other familiar works by other composers.

 


Chatterboxes (Flute Ensemble, 12:00)

Contact the Composer (unpublished)

Chatterboxes was commissioned by the SIUE Flute Ensemble for their performance at the 2015 National Flute Association Convention in Washington, D.C. Each movement is a character study in different types of speaking. The first movement, "Jibber Jabber," is frenetic and tonally nonsensical. The second movement includes a practical lesson on how to whisper "Sweet Nothings" to one's significant other. "Gossip" is a semi-minimalist movement where harmonies travel back and forth from one player to another, always with at least one common tone. The finale movement, "Trash Talk" features improvisatory passages and introductory beatboxing for both soloists and the entire ensemble.

 


Fiddlydee (Euphonium & Piano, 7:00)

C. Alan Publications: Score and Recording

What if, on the night of a barn dance, the fiddle player got sick and couldn’t make it? What if only a euphonium player were available to fill in?

 

Fracture (percussion ensemble, advanced, 7:00)

C. Alan Publications: Score and Recording

Fracture was commissioned by the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse Percussion ensemble, for 10 performers.

Most of us recall our childhood in a comfortably hazy, idyllic light, as a time of carefree simplicity. However, I was recently struck by a friend’s admission of having abruptly recovered memories of childhood abuse. What must this be like? Those long-held pastel images suddenly have to be integrated and reconciled with darkness and sharp edges. It occurred to me that while this is horrible, it is perhaps not so different from the common human experience of a traumatic accident, illness, death, or other life changing event. For all of us, once our world is fractured, who we are and what we thought we knew can never be the same again.

 


Multiple Personalities (Tuba and Piano, 7:30)

C. Alan Publications: Score and Recording

Tim Olt, who commissioned the work for his solo tour and eventual CD recording, is certainly an interesting character, himself, so I knew he would appreciate the humor and challenge of representing three completely different personalities in the course of this music. "Herbert" is rather old-school, named after Herbert L. Clarke, with his many flashy showpieces for cornet. "Rauel" is a bit smarmy, while "Doyle" favors a pint and a good jig at the local pub.

 


Obsequies (Trumpet ensemble, 3:00) 

Contact the Composer (unpublished)

Recording

Score

"Obsequies" are funeral rites. This work, commissioned by The Lindenwood University Trumpet Ensemble for their performance at the International Trumpet Guild Conference in Amherst, MA, is meant to be somber, but also easily accessible to both performers and audiences.

 


Outbreak (Brass Ensemble, 2:00)

Contact the Composer (unpublished)

Recording

Score

Outbreak was commissioned by the North Meridian Brass Ensemble of Butler University in Indianapolis, IN. Since this dark, aggressive work emerged at the same time as the 2015 ebola outbreak, it seemed only natural to pay respect to the virus!

 


Pairanoid (Tuba and Euphonium duet, 5:00)

Contact the Composer (unpublished)

Score

Gail Robertson and Stacy Baker asked me to compose a tuba/euphonium duet for their Symbiosis program at the 2008 ITEC convention in Cincinnati, OH. The premise of the work is that a tubist and eupher have been admitted to an asylum together. (It seems to me that insanity is a very real occupational hazard of low brass playing!) They sit in their fuzzy blue bathrobes, wild-haired, sometimes playing checkers but also sometimes eating the checkers, and wondering where those voices are coming from ….

 


The Piney Woods of St. Tammany Parish (Flute Ensemble, 11:00)

Contact the Composer (unpublished)

I. Northshore Sunrise (score)   II. Commute on the Causeway (score)    III. Hardwood Hubbub (score)

The Piney Woods of St. Tammany Parish was commissioned by the SIUE Flute Ensemble for their performance at the 2013 National Flute Association Convention in New Orleans, LA. In keeping with the "celebrate New Orleans" theme of this convention, each movement showcases a unique feature of the Lake Pontchartrain estuary: I. Northshore Sunrise, II. Commute on the Causeway, and III. Hardwood Hubbub (complete with a bass flute gator roar).

 


Sonata for Euphonium and Piano (15:00)

Contact the Composer (unpublished)

III. Rondo (score)

Sonata for Euphonium and Piano was commissioned by Christian Folk at Winthrop University for his senior recital. Each movement is dedicated to mentors and influences throughout his college career.

I. Fantasy is a bold proclamation featuring the euphonium’s flexibility both in register and technique. Paradoxically, a large portion of its role in this movement is harmonic and sometimes even subordinate to the piano. It is dedicated to Mr. Folk’s parents and his fraternity, Delta Omicron. Embedded in the euphonium melody is quote from the Harry Potter soundtrack, which is my own nod to Mr. Folk’s passion for the series.

II. Song is a lyrical, sustained tune. Ironically, the upper register is more difficult to sustain on euphonium than on trombone, but it is also particularly pure and sweet. This movement is dedicated to Mr. Folks teachers, Profs. Sarita Maxwell and Doug Black.

III. Rondo is a flashy showpiece constructed from folksongs set by Percy Grainger. The rondo theme is loosely based on “Lisbon” from Lincolnshire Posy. Other tunes include “The Children’s March,” “Molly on the Shore,” “Shepherd’s Hey,” and “Lost Lady Found.” This movement is dedicated to Dr. Lorrie Crochet, the Director of Bands at Winthrop University.

 

On a personal note, I wrote my first work for solo euphonium a decade ago, as a “recovering trumpeter” who had only just switched to the euphonium a few months before. Now, as a more mature player – albeit nowhere near Mr. Folk’s level of sophistication – both my relationship with the instrument and my perspective on it as a composer have evolved. The euphonium has a leadership role in the British brass band but a widely varying identity in the wind band. There, composers treat it in three distinct ways, sometimes all within the same piece: 1) simplistic harmonic filler in the same role with trombones, tenor sax, or tuba, 2) a double at the octave for lyrical lines in the trumpets, or 3) a ridiculously technical instrument, particularly in transcriptions, where it is suddenly called upon to arpeggiate like a cello or swoop and run like a violin, clarinet, or flute. Thus, I tried to craft each movement of the Sonata in an entirely different character to show off each of these identities.

 


String Quartet no. 1 (8:30)

C. Alan Publications: Score

Recording: Mvt 1          Recording: Mvt 2          Recording: Mvt 3          Recording: Mvt 4

String Quartet no. 1 is my first venture into composing for this genre. Although there is no formal programmatic basis for the work, I started composing it after a particularly difficult train ride from Syracuse, NY to Chicago, IL. The fourth movement somewhat reflects the journey.

 


Trombone Sonata (Trombone and Piano, 16:00)

C. Alan Publications: Score and Recording

A composition teacher once claimed that the trombone is not a melodic instrument, so I decided to prove him wrong by writing a large-scale sonata for the instrument. The work is dedicated to Brock Feller (trombone), who was one of my students when I was a high school band director, and to Kyle Kindred (piano), who helped me understand how to better write idiomatically for the piano during the composition process. Brock and Kyle premiered the work at my doctoral composition recital in 2003.