Echo Chamber for solo trumpet and wind ensemble (2015) - 6'

written by Michael Martin and William Pitts

Commissioned by the North Hardin High School Wind Symphony
Brian Froedge, Director of Bands
Level: Accompaniment - Medium; Solo - Professional


Premiere: December 17th, 2015
Midwest International Band and Orchestra Clinic
North Hardin High School Wind Symphony
Brian Froedge, Conductor
Michael Martin, Trumpet

Reference Recording:
North Hardin High School Wind Symphony
Brian Froedge, Conductor
Michael Martin, Trumpet

Program Notes:

When I was asked to join forces with my dear friend, Michael Martin, to write a piece…the challenge seemed both exciting and daunting at the same time. Two brains, two sets of ideas, two sets of experiences… what could go wrong?! In the end, the process was invigorating, and the end result is truly an equal melding of our ideas and independent voices into one unified work.

Our focus was to create a showpiece for solo trumpet to be accompanied by any range of scholastic ensemble. The experience of performing with a professional musician is unlike any other in one’s musical development, and we wanted this piece to give more opportunities for these collaborative experiences.

Come on, we have all done stand in a cavernous concrete structure and belt out a sound that seems to last forever.  Physically experiencing the movement of sound all around us is mesmerizing, to say the least. In Echo Chamber, we attempt to capture numerous facets of this sonic effect through various stylistic and conceptual explorations.

The first section of the piece explores the highly saturated and all encompassing feeling of reverb and echo in a cavernous place. The principal melodic motif is first stated freely in the vibraphones, then in echo from the soloist and trumpet section. As a motif in itself, the “echo effect” from voice to voice, choir to choir, etc., creates a sense of forward motion throughout. 

From here, the piece explores a drier echo, most specifically the sense of repetition and dispersal of sound. Stylistically, the feeling also changes significantly. I mean…when you are writing a piece for and with one of the most accomplished classical trumpet players of our generation, why would you not choose aggressive and highly technical jazz figures?! The feeling of persistence and drive remain, even through a chorale-like statement of the principal motif again. After a cadenza, the chorale returns triumphantly, and the piece gradually makes its way back to the feeling of the opening. One final echo of the melody leads us into contentment.  

Echo Chamber is dedicated to our better halves, Cassie Martin and Emily Pitts. Michael and I are lucky to do what we love, and we would not be able to survive without the enduring support, guidance, and patience of our best friends. Thank you both for joining us on this journey.

 Program Notes by William Pitts