For Trumpet, Horn, and Trombone
One of my closest friends at Eastman was David Mayrhofer. During my last two years there, I roped him into many of my shenanigans and we put on a number of recitals together. As a result, I was able to meet his family on a few occasions.
This past winter, his mother, Shari Gleason-Mayrhofer, contacted me and asked me to write a piece for the Tempered Brass Trio. I'd been talking with my friend Dovas Lietuvninkas about sutartines, traditional Lithuanian folk music for two to three voices, and this seemed the perfect opportunity to explore that genre more.
Based on the (admittedly cursory) survey I did of sutartines, they typically contain two parts of four bars each in distinct tonalities, making them one of the only bitonal polyphonic folk traditions. They were often sung by women and performed instrumentally by men on horns, panpipes, and wooden trumpets (making an arrangement for brass trio not unreasonable!)
The piece opens with an original sutartine melody, set in a traditional way for three voices. Three episodes follow where the sutartine weaves in and out, in the manner of trying to recall a vague dream after one has awoken.