Pronto for winds and percussion (2009) - 3.5'

Commissioned by Audrey Murphy and the Hopewell Middle School Symphonic Band
Level: Medium
Level 4 on Georgia MEA List

Premiere: January 28, 2010
GMEA 2010 In-Service Conference
Savannah Civic Center
Hopewell Middle School Symphonic Band
Audrey Murphy, Conductor

Program Notes:

We live in a busy world. I grew up in a family that constantly reminded me that I was always doing too much (yes, Mom and Dad, you were, are, and will always be right). I hate to be idle. I always have to be busy and I always want to have my hand in everything, sometimes to the demise of my numerous projects. Pronto is a salute to the planners, the go-getters, and the overachievers that understand my addiction to the hustle and bustle.

For me, there is rarely a sense of resolution or relaxation that allows me to stop and pause between projects. As soon as one thing finishes, I am on to the next. Pronto is a musical collection of “nearly finished” statements. The tempo is constant throughout the entire piece, but can be felt in single time, half time, or in a two-against-three feel. Regardless of how it is used, the constant and relentless pulse never subsides, contributing to the sense of constant forward motion. Most every phrase ends and then surges into the next before there is any real sense of relief. I also avoid most typical harmonic progressions to end phrases. A progression that might seem predictable and easy to understand ends up leading to a completely unexpected and new tonal center.

As I have gotten older I have found much greater joy in the opportunities to focus on one project or idea and see it through to a satisfactory completion. The last third of the piece uses an elongated development of a B-flat chord to constantly build both tension and the expectation of the relief that eventually manifests in the final measures. For the first time, the relentless pulse takes a breather; but before anyone can get too comfortable, it's time to get back to work...

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