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Excursions, Op. 76 (2016)

For Trombone, Tuba, and Mallet Percussion

Live Performance:

Liam Wilt, trombone; Grant O'Brien, tuba; Victor LaBozzetta, Hannah Dick, percussion

Duration: 13'

Instrumentation:

  • Trombone (with straight & harmon mutes)
  • Tuba
  • Percussion 1 (marimba, vibraphone, xylophone, chimes, glockenspiel, crotales)
  • Percussion 2 (marimba)

Program Notes:

I met Dallas last year at the Bay View Music Festival. At the festival, a horn quartet premiered a piece I had

written recently, and I wrote a quintet (alas, unperformed) for Dallas's group. Towards the end of our four weeks,

Dallas approached me and asked me to write him a piece for trombone and tuba for his senior recital.

Around this time, I had become fascinated with the idea (exemplified by Steve Reich) of rhythm as additive

rather than divisive. That is, rather than having a beat that is subdivided to achieve rhythm, rhythm is achieved by

grouped multiples of an indivisible (and here, omnipresent) beat. I began to conceive of a quasi-minimalist piece,

and Dallas agreed that a piece for trombone, tuba, and percussion would be perfectly achievable.

As the piece progressed, it bothered me a little bit that I hadn't begun with an overarching scheme for the entire

piece - something that seemed like it ought to be necessary for a work of this scope. One day when I was out on a

bike ride, I realized that I had planned the piece exactly how I plan my bike rides - I know how long I want to be

out (in this case, 13', a result of 60 bars of 1/8 all the way up through 12/8), I have a general idea of some routes I might want to take, and I know I want to end up where I started. When bike riding, this leaves room for

exploration of side streets I haven't noticed before, or even a total change in plans on a whim. When composing,

this resulted in an overall arc that nevertheless allows for some sudden detours and changes - excursions, if you

will.