eos for winds and percussion (2008) - 7'

for Scott A. Stewart and the Atlanta Youth Wind Symphony
Grade Level: Medium

Premiere: January 20, 2008 - University of Georgia JanFest 
University of Georgia Hugh Hodgson Hall 
Stewart Clinic Band 
Scott A. Stewart, Conductor

Reference Recording:
University of North Texas Concert Band
Nicholas E. Williams, Conductor

Program Notes:

One of my favorite parts of my parents’ house in Western Georgia is its exposure to the sunrise. Every morning, light slowly appears over the lake behind our house, yielding a progression of vibrant colors and increasing brightness that is difficult to describe. eos was actually named about halfway through my writing of the piece. As I listened to these chords and the subtle harmonic progressions, I associated these aural ideas with the visions in my head of the sunrises at home. In Greek mythology, Eos is the goddess of dawn who rises from her home at the edge of Oceanus to pave the way for her brother Helios, the sun. The piece is not necessarily programmatic, but after listening to what I had put down on paper, I could not help but feel as though the music flowed just as the dawn.

            eos begins with the striking of the chime and the hum of mallet instruments establishing the key of C. The chimed notes represent time and its passing leading into the darkness of night. The clarinets then establish the chord progression that is the foundation for the rest of the work. After an extensive oboe solo, the clarinets, now accompanied by the voices of the brass players, repeat the initial chord progression.

            The brass then take the piece into the key of A-flat with the horns leading the way melodically. As with the parallel woodwind soli in the first part of the piece, the chord progression is constantly changing its perceived tonal center, slowly moving downwards. The reentrance of the chime signals a contrasting minor section, emulating the time of night most devoid of any light. Just as the tension builds to its peak, the first hint of light breaks over the horizon with the entrance of the woodwinds. From this point until the climax of the piece, you hear the opposite effect of the previous two sections. The chord progression now gradually progresses upwards, depicting the slow increase of light. In my opinion, the most beautiful part of the morning light over my parents’ lake is the vibrant colors that emerge behind the trees. The climax of the piece depicts the surge of color. As Eos finishes her journey across the sky, the intensity of color slowly decreases as Helios takes his place to light up the day.

           eos is dedicated with humble admiration and unending appreciation to Scott A. Stewart, a great mentor, an incredible conductor, my greatest teacher, and a selfless friend. If it were not for him, I would probably still be in business school...

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