Earth Rise

Year Composed: 2004
Instrumentation: 5 tpt, 3 hn, 4 tbn, tba, 3 perc
Duration 8 minutes

Program Notes

"Earth Rise" depicts the conflict between two opposing musical ideas. The first is a majestic chorale, composed of major and minor triads within a non-diatonic framework. At the outset of the piece the chorale is muted and calm, yet as the music continues it begins to be 'polluted' by 'impure' sonorities, suggesting a growing tension and doubt. The second subject enters midway through the piece, and it is by contrast violent, aggressive, primal, and dissonant. At the final segment of the piece the chorale reasserts itself with impassioned intensity, just before the second subject returns in a more heroic form to close the piece.

The title "Earth Rise" is an attempt to articulate a complex emotion rather than something tangible. For instance, I associate the word "earth" with a kind of natural, primal energy—the kind of energy that quickens our adrenaline whenever we hear a powerful beat, for example. This is represented by the second subject of the piece, where tension is released in the form of uninhibited fury. On the other hand, "rise" has connotations of loftiness, transcendence, even faith. The chorale embodies this ideal. Although it was not exactly my intention to reconcile these contrasting ideas, nevertheless both surge towards a decisive, affirmative finale.


  • January 26, 2005 - University of Calgary Brass Choir, conducted by Adam Mailman. University of Calgary

Commissions and Awards

  • commissioned by Adam Mailman for the University of Calgary Brass Choir

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