Solo Euphonium and Wind Ensemble. (1999) 17′
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In brass-player slang, the euphonium is the “eupho.” I have punned this into “UFO,” giving it an altogether different twist. I wanted to throw our “life-on-earth” experiece into sharp relief by suggesting a cosmic origin and connection for the human spirit. In any case, my son Matthew, for whom this piece was written, is convinced that I am from another planet!
The concerto is in the traditional three movements. The first is based on the English folk song “The Water is Wide.” This is a beautiful song that my wife used to sing to the children when they were very young. The movement consists of two sets of variations on the melody, separated by acentral digression. The second movement – “Home Planet – Who are you? Where do you come from?” – is a dream of distant origins. My choice of this title is still a mystery to me, but it feels quite right. The last movement is again a set of variations, this time on a melody from the bach Chorale book. The title of the tune is “Aus meines Herzens Grunde” (“From the Bottom of My Heart”). The music is bold and spirited, and expresses my wish for Matthew’s life and cosmic journey.