American Rhapsody was composed for Glenn Van Looy and Brassband Buizingen, conducted by Dr. Luc Vertommen. The premiere of this reduced version for euphonium, piano and percussionist was given at the Royal Northern College of Music Brass Band Festival in 2018.
The title American Rhapsody is perhaps a little deceiving, the music itself not being directly impacted by specific American musical material or indeed influenced by any facet of wider American culture. The piece is more autobiographical, representing small collection of the the composer’s personal experiences of the United States, realised here through a continuous musical narrative.
The opening movement, Colorado Eagle, refers to a visit to Lake Granby near Denver. The lake itself is manmade by the Granby Dam, stretching some 65 kilometres along the western entrance to the Rocky Mountain National Park. On a clear and bright day the rippling of the deep blue lake water seemed almost to blend into the skyline, with any defining line of horizon softened by full white clouds and snowcapped peaks. A single bald eagle, impressive in size, was seemingly effortless in flight only feet above the water.
Windy City Heartbreak was composed during a regular visit to the midwestern city of Chicago. Chicago is a special place, especially at Christmas time. The icy wind fuelled by lake Michigan is easily countered by the warmth in character of many Chicagoans. Sadly, statistics record that approximately six thousand people experience homelessness at any given point of the year in Chicago. Despite being surrounded by a population of 2.7 million, it must still be very easy to feel alone.
If you’re lucky enough to have performed with Brooklyn Wind Symphony then chances are you’ve spent a night At Matt Torrey’s. It’s the very image of a rustic American bar, set in the heart of Williamsburg, Brooklyn. The dark wood, dim lighting and ambient tunes provide a perfect release from the momentum of the work day’s traffic, trains and jam packed sidewalks. After dark Matt’s springs to life; an atmospheric hive of conversation, laughter and music.
Duration: c 15.30 minutes
Publisher: Tom Davoren Music
Catalogue Number: TD0027