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Politics, Money, Music (2005)

duration ca. 7:45

available from the composer


brass quintet

Program Note

It has often been my habit to composer works in pairs, putting similar materials and techniques to contrasting gestures. Having just completed a large work for symphonic band that in spite of its title, A Jazz Funeral, is an optimistic celebration of life, I turned to this commission for Brass Extreme Tokyo from the Hong Kong Composers' Guild. Inspired by the group's name, I took the jazzy rhythms and inflections from the previous work and put them to darker and quite a bit more virtuostic use. Frustrated and angered by what I perceive as broken promises, outright lies, and other evil machinations by my government in the US, the government here in Hong Kong and China where I now reside, and even within my profession and university; I gave vent to my feelings in this, my darkest and most sardonic work at the time. Politics, Money, Music develops a twisting chromatic figure throughout its nine-minute length, obsessively reordering the pitches repeatedly in static melodic statements that suddenly burst into movement, only to be cut short by stabbing syncopations. The central section expands the compressed chromatic idea into a sarcastic blues, which in turn works its way to a quieter but still unsettled conclusion. Shortly after the piece was completed, Hurricane Katrina devastated the southern United States. In sympathy with those who have suffered from its passage and from the subsequent governmental ineptitude, I have dedicated this piece to its victims.


Politics, Money, Music was premiered October 3, 2005, by Brass Extreme Tokyo at Space Do in Tokyo, Japan.

                                                                                  with Brass Extreme Tokyo in Hong Kong

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