First Performance: June 15, 2022, Mise-En Festival, Mise-En Place, Brooklyn, NY; Sam Jones, trumpet and Josh Perry, percussion
Arches was one of two works composed in 2019 for trumpeter Sam Jones, the second being Postlude, a shorter piece premiered soon after its completion and now available on a Bridge Records CD. Arches had to wait for its premiere until the Covid-19 pandemic had begun to subside in 2022, but previous to its composition, Sam and I had discussed various possibilities for the trumpet’s accompaniment, and settled upon the modern tones of the vibraphone as providing an unusual and intriguing complement to the brass sound. To this timbre, I added a few chimes, and in two places in the work, expanded the percussion to include some non-pitched instruments. These come to the fore as mini-cadenzas towards the work’s center.
The piece spawned its own form: a slow introduction becomes increasingly active until it blossoms into a steadier Allegro with the vibes displacing the chimes in the faster music. The first non-pitched percussion cadenza interrupts; it ushers in a more contemplative mood. Then the work reverses itself, and a return to the faster music leads to a second brief percussion cadenza that, in turn, initiates a slowing process as the trumpet begins to recall more and more of its opening legato lines, but in a modified reverse order. Given the pervasive palindromic allusions, “Arches” seemed an appropriate title, evoking the symmetrical architectural shape. And, of course trumpet players are often found under arches. The work last lasts approximately ten minutes.