Imagery is central to my writing process. Just thinking about a certain place can push the music I’m writing in one direction or another. While out for a run at the beginning stages of writing this piece, I found myself wondering what I might be seeing if I were in Texas rather than Minnesota. My mind instantly went to a sea of bluebonnets, which I associate with the timbre of low reeds, juxtaposed with the repetitive pulse of my shoes hitting the asphalt. I then made the decision to enhance this somewhat minimalist “running” music with a digitally modeled analog synthesizer—in this case, the ARP 2600. But I knew something was still missing. Adding processed tenor saxophone to the “bluebonnet” music was the last piece to the puzzle. Many thanks to my longtime friend and collaborator Joel Vanderheyden for the beautiful playing!
My choice of notation (mostly quarter notes) in the sections marked “very free” was intentional; I did not want the notation to be overly prescriptive. Instead, experiment with shaping the phrases in a variety of ways and observe how different interpretations affect the counterpoint between the winds and electronics (processed saxophone). Additionally, the percussionists on brushes should be encouraged to listen to both parts and improvise accordingly, much like a jazz drummer would respond to a soloist playing with a big band. Wire brushes should be used for all three, and a heavier brush with the tam-tam is preferred.
The electronics are all pre-recorded and triggered by Ableton Live. Please email [email protected] to learn more about the technology requirements and to obtain the electronics file.
Wind Orchestra and Electronics
December 17, 2021, at The Midwest Clinic, Chicago, Illinois
Wakeland High School Wind Symphony; Tanner Smith, conductor