First Performance
Madison High School, Madison, NJ; Colonial Symphony, Scott Mendoker, 1994
Redrunner Music (David Sampson)
Monument, Scott Mendoker, Czech Philharmonic Chamber Orchestra; Summit Records DCD 237


David Sampson (1990)

Three Portraits for tuba and chamber orchestra was written during the late winter and early spring of 1989-90 as a result of a commission from Scott Mendoker. It is a three-movement work approximately eighteen minutes long and, as the title suggests, the movements are each a musical “portrait”. Although portraying three different individuals would have been the normal fare, I chose to profile the same person in each movement. The result is a deeper, multi-leveled image. First impressions are the subject of Portrait One. The individual is funny, friendly, outgoing and the center of attention. The music is light, engaging, even “pop-like”. Portrait Two begins to show a deeper side, more intimate and sensitive. The music is quieter, richer and more delicate compared to Portrait One. Portrait Three, at the outset, shows the individual in crisis: angry, hurt, and confused. The music is angular and complex. As this movement progresses and the initial burst of emotion is spent, the music becomes introverted and a peaceful stillness gradually replaces the pain. Introspection concludes the movement and work.
These Three Portraits, besides profiling Mr. Mendoker, are an exhibition of the range of possibilities for the tuba. Although there are no extra-musical sound effects in the work, the emotional and technical requirements are formidable.

Total Running Time: 18:09
Portrait I 5:59
Portrait II 5:18
Portrait III 6:52