Overture for Band – “Influences” (2001) SZM019

Dur: 7:17

Instrumentation: 2Fl, 2Ob, 3Cl, BsCl, 2Alto, Tn, Bari, Bsn., 3Tpt, 4Hrn, 3Tbn, Euph, Tuba, Timp, Perc 1 - 5

This piece was commissioned by Jeff Grogan, associate director of bands at Baylor University, and premiered by the Baylor University Symphonic Band in a concert on April 23, 2001. “Influence” – the act or power of producing an effect without apparent exertion of force or direct exercise of command; The power or capacity of causing an effect in indirect or intangible ways. Who are the people in life that influence you? How do they affect you? Is their influence by design or coincidence? What do you take from the people around you, and what do you leave with them? This piece is about my influences. Having never studied composition in a formal setting, I had the great fortune of learning from the best source of all . . . those who have gone before me. Every time you listen to music you are changed. It is an experience that alters forever your understanding and appreciation of the universe around you. Who then are the composers that have changed my understanding and relationship with music? William Walton, Leonard Bernstein, Samuel Barber, Stephen Sondheim, John Adams, Aaron Copland . . to name a few. These are the people who made music in the 20th century. Their contributions to modern classical music have been well documented by historians and academics. These people made the music that made me want to make music. As I flip through the pages of this score I can clearly see their influence on my composition, as if we are all gathered around the table passing manuscript paper from hand to hand. The point of this is simple; we forever change the people whose lives we touch. Whether it is through music, theatre, friendship, or just a passing word in a hallway. Who are your influences . . . and who do you influence? Theoretically speaking . . . the piece is based on three main motives that occur in various forms throughout. A quick rhythmic motive heard in the opening sections, a constantly evolving dialogue between major and minor key relationships, and one melodic element, which can be heard in fragments throughout the composition, but is not heard in it’s entirety until the closing minutes of the work. The piece is loosely organized into four distinct sections. The first and last rely on velocity and rhythm, the second is a more calming cerebral setting, and the third section is a short interlude which serves as a transition into the final act. It is subtitled “an Overture for Band.” What is an overture? In this context I was thinking of the overture to a modern musical, which contains fragments and small sections of material from larger sections of the work as a whole. I think it’s clear how this inference ties into the previous discussion of influence and bringing together the best of many ideas from different sources.

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