Still for Brass Quintet was commissioned by and written for the Gaudete Brass Quintet. The premiere occurred on October 25, 2013, during the live broadcast of Backstage Pass hosted by Julia Figueras at the NPR Station WXXI in Rochester, New York. The intent of the work is simple: aurally depict the first stages of meditation with the quieting of the mind followed by timeless restfulness. Feel free to close your eyes, allow your breathing to become slower, and let your thoughts come and go at will.
I wrote Chicago Moves for Gaudete Brass in 2011. The piece is in four movements, each of which showcases an aspect of life in Chicago, represented by a place or landmark. The piece is a melange of third stream (i.e., between classical and jazz) style melodies overlaid onto an almost minimalist groove that is passed between the instruments. It makes extensive use of mutes, flügelhorns, and interconnected lines to produce colors more like those of a string quartet or vocal choir than those typically associated with brass instruments. The work was commissioned for Gaudete Brass by Giddings and Webster Mouthpieces, The Venzon Family, Earl and Judy Baxtresser, and the Chicago Modern Brass Project.
My father loved to sail. Whenever possible, my family would head to the nearest body of water, rent a boat and catch the wind. When we moved to Virginia from South Carolina in 1964, the Chesapeake Bay was that body of water. Years later, when a group of guys from my church in Brookside, NJ decided to organize a sailing trip, I signed up immediately excited about returning to my childhood haunts. Chesapeake is a mosaic of the subsequent three sailing trips from Annapolis to St. Michaels, Maryland sprinkled with a healthy dose of nostalgia. It is strongly programmatic with Movement 1 depicting waking up in Annapolis, preparing the boat, motoring out into the Bay, and setting sail. Movement 2, Full and By, uses a nautical term which in essence means that the sailing was as good as possible with a strong wind and high visibility. Movement 3, Bloody Point, imagines a long-forgotten conflict that occurred on a passing shoreline now occupied by a lighthouse. Movement 4, Crab Claw is an eating establishment in St. Michaels where after a long day of sun and wind, we went to recover with soft shell crabs and a bit too much to drink. Chesapeake was written in 2010 for the American Brass Quintet and is dedicated to my father, Herman Sampson, whose passions were generously shared.