Gateway

For euphonium and percussion

Duration: 14'

(2018)

In the spring of 2017, I was approached by Sean Schierbecker, a close friend and talented euphoniumist, about a collaboration for a new composition that would be premiered on his senior recital at Truman State University. We met and discussed the possible programs and themes the piece could explore, but settled on writing a composition that would celebrate and/or explore our shared hometown of St. Louis. In addition to this, we decided that the call for a percussionist (instead of a pianist) as the collaborative/accompanying musician would result in a much richer timbreal pallet for composition to pull from. The final product was a duet in three movements. “Eero’s Titan” depicts the Gateway Arch from multiple different perspectives, starting with an ostinato in the marimba representing foliage that darts in and out of one’s field of view as you look at the arch while driving along the Mississippi. A brake drum calls construction and traffic to mind as the traveler reaches downtown, and a sweet, nostalgic euphonium line over rolled marimba chords represents the warm feeling of “being home” as the traveler has ascended the arch and gazes over the city. “Bleeding Red Line” explores a darker theme of St. Louis: unhealed wounds that are the result of decades of segregation and racial prejudice. Scale degrees 3,1, and 4 are played to represent the city of St. Louis (with area code 314), and degrees 6,3, and 6 again represent the further reaches of St. Louis county (area code 636). These 3-note segments are played back and forth, but never reach any conclusive resolution. Finally, “Macrobrew” is a lighthearted movement paying homage to the Anheuser-Busch brewery, featuring glass bottles in the percussion and phrases with a rapid assembly-line like quality.

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