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Bitter Wind (2007)

available from the composer

duration ca. 12:00



for trumpet (in C) and piano

(original for Zephyros trumpet and piano)

Program note

A bitter wind blows though our lives: our humanity is increasingly being taken from us. We work more hours than ever before, and are less satisfied. The people who would control our lives seek to do so only for their own benefit. Altruism and compassion are rapidly disappearing, teaching and learning are being replaced by manipulation and marketing. Lies go unquestioned and truths are attacked. Independent thought is discouraged in favor of dogma and catch-phrases. Diversity and originality are publicly praised but not valued; conformity is king. Quantity reigns supreme over quality. We are being turned not into machines— which would at least require an effort to replace—but into leaves of a diseased tree whose individual lives and deaths seem of no consequence whatsoever. Only through a difficult but vital appraisal of our true situation and our real needs can we fight the bitter wind which otherwise promises catastrophe.


Bitter Wind was originally commissioned by Kiyonori Sokabe for his newly created Zephyros trumpet—a trumpet with both valves and a trombone-like slide. He premiered the work in Paris, France, in January of 2008 with Kanako Abe, piano.  For practical reasons--how many people have a Zephyros trumpet?--I have since rewritten the work for standard trumpet in C and piano.

Performance Notes

Much of Bitter Wind uses proportional notation; where this is employed the parts are to be loosely coordinated unless they line up exactly (as at A). The boxed notes are to be repeated immediately with no pause, the number of repetitions are either given above the box (3x) or shown approximately with the wavy line. Where the wavy line does not continue to the next bar, as at the beginning, the pianist should stop and wait until the next bar to begin again.

The notes sung by the trumpet player may be transposed to whatever octave the performer finds most suitable.

The trumpet glissandi can be created through a combination of embouchure, half-valving, and judicious manipulation of the tuning slides.

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