Trumpet and Orchestra
Composing Odyssey was akin to starting an exciting adventure, a (life-affirming) voyage. The decision to call the trumpet concerto Odyssey came in part from my own inner odyssey in composing this piece, and also ideas which arose while reading about Nikos Kazantzakis' epic poem, The Odyssey: A Modern Sequel. Kazantzakis believes that man must structure his life and work on the "dark Abyss". Life has meaning only when it accepts and rises above the great negation of the Abyss. The two conflicting currents,seeking a synthesis, lead to creative play and affirmation of life.
1. Turning Point: A concerto is a great vehicle for metaphor, a tale with dialogues between our trumpet protagonist and the different sections of the orchestra. The prominent ascending fifths of the trumpet theme and its subsequent development create
a broad and expansive mood. In the following movements the interval of the fifth or its inversion continues to be an important element of the trumpet solo.
2. Dancing on the Abyss The middle movement has a perilous and risk defying dance for the trumpet. The opening theme for the contrabassoon, accompanied by an octave-leaping motif in the bassoon and double bass creates a stark, quirky nervous energy.
3. Shifting Currents
An undulating pattern in the low strings ushers in the haunting blues-influenced trumpet theme accompanied by the shifting moods and rhythms of the orchestra.
The concerto was commissioned by the Pro Arte Chamber Orchestra for the premiere performance by Charles Schlueter.