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Embers, Op. 93 (2018)

For Jazz Band

Live Performance:

Members of the NMRHS Wind Symphony, Jason Bielik, conductor

Duration: 6'30"

Instrumentation:

  • Clarinet in Bb/A 1
  • Clarinet in Bb 2
  • Alto Saxophone 1
  • Alto Saxophone 2
  • Tenor Saxophone 1
  • Tenor Saxophone 2
  • Baritone Saxophone
  • Trumpet 1 (straight mute, hat)
  • Trumpet 2 (straight mute, hat)
  • Trumpet 3 (straight mute, hat)
  • Trombone 1 (straight mute, hat)
  • Trombone 2 (straight mute, hat)
  • Trombone 3 (straight mute, hat)
  • Tuba
  • Vibraphone
  • Piano
  • String Bass
  • Drum Set

Program Notes:

I did not expect to write this piece. I was as surprised as anyone when Jason Bielik (director of bands, North Middlesex Regional High School - where he was my band director many years ago) e-mailed me asking to commission a work in memory of Scott Mullett. Since program notes are not really the place to reminisce, suffice it to say that Mr. Mullett was larger than life in every way, and a true joy to work with whenever I had the opportunity. It has truly been humbling to write this piece in his memory.

Most elegies either seek to celebrate the life of the person or to express grief at their passing. I have tried to do both. I considered writing more words here, but I'd prefer to let the music speak for itself.

I do, however, want to comment on the title. I spent a long time trying to figure out what to call the piece. "Elegie" isn't exactly right for a piece that is so often upbeat. "Remembrances" is accurate, but too clinical and neutral. "Fireflies" and "Flickers" got closer to something right. Finally, I hit upon "Embers" and it all made sense. Embers are what remains after a fire has run its course. They may grow cold or, if tended well, may once again bear flame. Although Mr. Mullett is no longer with us, our memories remain - his embers are still among us.