WINNER of the 2006 ITEA Harvey Philips Composition Contest
From the Composer:
The concerto is loosely programmatic. In the first movement the euphonium is Zeus, surveying, enjoying, and commanding his realm. The second movement depicts the eclipse, the emergence of stars in the darkness, and then the return of the sun. The third movement playfully explores musical possibilities and impossibilities, featuring interactions between the euphonium and the piccolo, timpani, and violin. The concerto is performed without a break between movements.
This programmatic work has a unique story behind it. In the opening movement, the euphonium is Zeus. The orchestra sets a wonderful atherial opening that brings to mind the beginning of the world. The powerful theme of Zeus enters and it includes a powerful BB-flat. A stately theme ensues and develops before the major challenging section with an extended high range obligato. The solo part has been edited throughout with numerous ossia to make the work more accessible and with the reduced range requirements the work will be accessible to undergraduate students. An extended cadenza develops the Zeus theme before the orchestra takes the theme while the euphonium provides a nice obligato. A very difficult technical section that is mostly scalar brings the work to an exciting conclusion. Of the three movements, Zeus is certainly the most difficult by far. The Eclipse requires a mute in the opening section and has a serene melody that later turns to a section that depicts the emerging stars after the eclipse. The writing is not overly challenging and phrases well. The Realm of Possibility features a lilting 6/8 that brings the euphonium into a contest with instruments of the orchestra depicting how the euphonium can be versatile. A technical test with the piccolo, a bombastic contest with the timpani, and a glissando and double stop showdown with the violin. The double stop, using multi-phonics, in the euphonium is optional and the writing for the euphonium features chromatic scales and arpeggios that modulate. Overall, this work is very accessible to audiences and performers and the movements work well individually. This work is one of the few originally conceived for euphonium and orchestra and this can be highlighted with the colorful scoring and orchestration. Solo part printed only in Bass Clef. Treble Clef is available via Email in PDF format.
Recorded on Taking Flight.
Samples: MP3: Full Recording on YouTube
PDF: Mvt 1 Mvt 3
Parts: BC (TC available in PDF after order)