TRANSFIGURED NIGHTS Double Concerto for Percussion
2022-23 Limited Consortium Commission
I am excited to announce my first full concerto in over a decade and one that I think is a truly compelling combination of forces. Percussion has played such a vital role in my musical life and I am thrilled to be returning to the fascinating sound worlds made possible by percussion and percussionists. The work will be scored for two solo percussionists with wind orchestra and I hope to take full advantage of this incredibly rich palette. A very small and select group of university percussionists and wind conductors are being contacted for this project and no mass announcement will be made.
The title "Transfigured Nights: Double Concerto for Percussion" of course refers to Schoenberg's Verklärte Nacht (always a favorite title of mine) and each of the three movements will depict a well-known night painting from the late 19th or 20th centuries.
I. The Falling Rocket James McNeill-Whistler's "Nocturne in Black and Gold: The Falling Rocket" depicts fireworks above a lake where smoke, light, and water intermingle in a stunningly rich image. Bright metallic sounds combine with darting winds for an effervescent opening to the concerto.
II. Carnival Evening Henri Rousseau's "Carnival Evening" has a whimsical and romantic quality that suggests the mysterious timbres of Bartok's "night pieces." Marimba and other wooden timbres will predominate and seek to explore the lyrical capabilities of percussion. As one figure is dressed as Pagliacci (or perhaps Pierrot), a few sly references to Puccini and Schoenberg will slip in and out.
III. Nighthawks Edward Hopper's immortal "Nighthawks" expresses the urban American landscape of the early 1940's. As such, the melting pot of New York slowly builds to a powerful energy as rhumba, swing, bebop, and stride swirl together to break the night's spell.
Duration: ca. 13-15 minutes
Instrumentation: two solo percussionists (advanced) with wind orchestra (medium advanced, grade 5+)