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The Ring-Bearer's Tale
This piece for unaccompanied flute focuses on five moments from J.R.R. Tolkien's The Lord of the Rings. The musical narrative follows the adventures of Frodo Baggins and his faithful companion, Samwise Gamgee.
II. Fog on the Barrow-Downs
IV. Shelob's Lair
V. The Grey Havens
Trust. (Psalm 143)
PICCOLO & PIANO
Trust is written as a musical meditation on Psalm 143, verses 1-11. These verses from the Bible underscore one of the basic (yet sometimes uncomfortable) truths of human existence: we need help. People often find it difficult to trust in anyone or anything other than themselves, but no matter how much we may desire complete independence and autonomy, human beings are simply not equipped to weather the storms life brings on our own. The difficulties of life can in fact make us feel isolated and deserted. Our culture’s celebration of strength and independence silently imply that we are “weak” if we are unable to stand alone, yet it is during troubling times, when we are totally incapable of moving forward on our own, that we find our greatest strength in embracing a helping hand.
UNACCOMPANIED OBOE OR BASSOON
The title of Sonar’s Riddle is an anagram of “Dr. Daniel Ross,” and stands as a tribute to a musician known for both his kindness and humor.
Dan Ross excelled in all things musical, but more importantly, he was an excellent man. He may well be remembered as a great musician, a great performer and teacher, or as an innovator in the art of reed making. But his true legacy lies in the hearts that he touched and the lives that he molded.
I count myself fortunate to have been one of many.
Sonar’s Riddle is a brief musical portrait of Dr. Dan Ross, attempting to capture the essence of his kind spirit and boundless humor.
BASSOON & PIANO
Bombadil is a musical portrait of one of the lesser-known characters from J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings. While he never made it into the LOTR movies of the early 21st century, Tom Bombadil is nonetheless a pivotal character in Tolkien’s epic novel, saving the hobbits from certain doom on more than one occasion.
The character is a wild juxtaposition of contradictions: at once fanciful and
fearsome; silly and sagacious; terrible and tender; whimsical and wise. While he seems childishly ridiculous at times, Tom is undoubtedly one of the most ancient and powerful living beings in the Tolkien mythology.
Inspired by Nevermore: An Evening With Edgar Allen Poe (a single act monologue portraying the legendary author of The Raven), Nevermore for unaccompanied saxophone combines elements of the cello suites of J.S. Bach with modern rhythmic sensibilities and overtones of gothic drama.
Narration of the full text of Poe's The Raven is an optional feature of this collegiate-level saxophone work. While inclusion of the poetic text makes for an enthralling dramatic production, an independent presentation of the music alone provides technical and expressive opportunities which would merit inclusion of this piece in any concert saxophonist's recital repertoire.
ALTO SAXOPHONE & PIANO
Commissioned by Dr. Brent Bristow of Arkansas State University (Beebe), Temporal Physics is a single-movement sonatina for alto saxophone and piano. Featuring a cornucopia of meter changes, the piece explores various stylistic treatments of two brief melodic motifs. Temporal Physics drops hints of different musical eras while remaining a truly contemporary display of soloistic virtuosity.
While Watercolors is primarily a study in minimalistic techniques, each movement also presents an impression of a scene or thought which is expressed in the title of that movement.
Cobalt Nymph is a portrait of water nymphs from mythology, often found playing gleefully near open bodies of water such as rivers, lakes, or even the ocean.
Midnight Mist conjures images of oceanside lighthouses or dark, damp forests shrouded in gloomy tendrils of impenetrable fog.
Azure Spray depicts the motion of the tides, musically coursing over the rise and fall of great ocean swells.
SAXOPHONE CHOIR SSAAATTB(Bs)
Groovin’ Goliath (and the slingshot of doom) for saxophone choir combines elements of blues, traditional and non-traditional tonal structures, shifting metrical landscapes, and saxophonic sound effects in this retelling of the epic tale of David and Goliath. The giant still loses the fight, but the biggest saxes reign supreme in this battle royale!
Scoring: 2 Soprano, 3 Alto, 2 Tenor, 1 Baritone, Optional Bass which doubles Bari
World Premiere: 2018 World Saxophone Congress by the Arkansas Saxophones under the direction of Dr. Jackie Lamar (University of Central Arkansas, retired)
On YouTube HERE
Advanced Techniques: Slap-Tongue (all parts), Multiphonics (Baritone)
All Those Who Wander
VIOLIN, CLARINET, & PIANO
“All those who wander” is a reference to a poem written by J.R.R. Tolkien as part of The Lord of the Rings. That poem speaks of the character Aragorn, originally introduced to the reader as a ranger known only as “Strider.”
This piece is a musical re-telling of Aragorn’s wilderness travels through the White Mountains and the haunted Paths of the Dead, a journey which will ultimately reveal him to all as the “lost” (and returning) King of Gondor.
extended performance techniques (audio examples)
Songs of the Warrior
This Brass Quintet won the 1996 Fine Arts Festival Music Award at Illinois State University, an international competition.
Songs of the Warrior utilizes thematic material derived from a twelve-tone row, presented in three contrasting styles. While the piece stands on its own as absolute music following traditional formal structures, the titles of each movement do suggest a setting befitting the mood or atmosphere evoked by the music.
The Cannon's Mouth - The first movement is somewhat cerebral and demands much virtuosity from the performers.
Amidst the Fallen - This second movement is darker, with some almost lyrical melodic lines.
Revelry - The final movement is nothing if not bombastic.
One Zero Zero
CONCERT BAND - GRADE 3
One Zero Zero, written in 2016 to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the Lawrence County School District in Walnut Ridge, Arkansas, is dedicated to the Walnut Ridge High School “Pride” Band and long-time director John Long.
One Zero Zero opens with a fanfare based partly upon the Morse code for the numbers 1, 0, and 0, leading up to an energetic, cinematic style main theme. The middle section of the piece references a hymn based on Psalm 100 found in the Genevan Psalter of 1551, later harmonized in 1564 by the French composer Claude Goudimel.
Finally, in keeping with the theme of “100”, One Zero Zero is exactly 100 measures long, utilizing repeats and a DS al Coda to round out the full form of the piece, a modified rondo (ABACBA).
CONCERT BAND - GRADE 3.5
Revelation was commissioned in 2002 by Dru Davison, then Director of the Brookland High School Band in Brookland, Arkansas.
In 2002, the United States was still reeling from the deadly and devastating terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001. In the wake of the tragic loss of life and the shaking of the nation’s sense of security, many people feared what the future might bring. Revelation begins with a question: “Where do we go from here?” The piece presents the uncertainty and sense of foreboding felt by so many Americans at that point in history, followed shortly by the only possible response: “We must move forward.” The music moves toward its climax with new energy, driving onward with a sense of urgency, reflecting the heart and will of a nation determined to rise above tragedy.
Soli section for Flute, Clarinet, Alto Sax, and Tuba soloists, with percussion.
SCORE AND PARTS SOLD SEPARATELY
MARCHING BAND - GRADE 3
The Privateers is a swashbuckling depiction of an oceangoing pirate adventure, presented in the form of a march. The piece starts with a brief fanfare, followed immediately by a rousing melody in the style of an old sea-shanty. Images of sailing upon an endless sea of stars come to mind as a tranquil nocturne is presented, but the peace is shattered as cutlasses and sabers clash in a dogfight sure to end in Davy Jones’ locker! The music swells to a dramatic conclusion as our mighty galleon surges across a stormy sea.
Disco Aardvark Goes to Beale Street
JAZZ ENSEMBLE - GRADE 4
Yet another jazz tune with a name that makes absolutely no sense!
In the same way one would not expect to see an actual aardvark strolling down Beale Street while listening to disco hits of the 1970s, one would not expect to find a G-flat wandering aimlessly about in an E-flat Major 9 chord. Nonetheless, both of these confounding conundrums are presented here. Anomalous Adventure Number One is about to start, so grab some hot salsa, get your “waka-chicka” on, and be ready to swing, big daddy!