“How does one portray a person in music?” was the question I asked myself again when I began to write Serenade. I had actually tackled this question before in a previous work titled Three Portraits for tuba and chamber orchestra in which the person musically sketched was Scott Mendoker, close friend and tubist. Now I wanted to portray my wife, Christine, my two sons, Benjamin and Mark, and myself. What I chose to do was concentrate on personalities. And since we are quite a close-knit family, it seemed natural to intertwine these personalities into a single twelve-minute movement.
The next decision centered on which instrument would best represent us. For a long time, I had wanted to write something for an instrument that was not terribly familiar and has a minuscule repertoire: a flügelhorn. Since this instrument is to the brass family (I am a trumpet player) what the viola is to the string family (my wife is a violist), somehow the connection seemed to fit. And I had vivid recollections and photos of both of my kids dragging my flügelhorn around my studio when they were very young.
The personalities are presented in this order: me; my wife; my very cool thirteen-year-old son, Benjamin; my nine-year-old son, Mark, bugging the hell out of his brother, Benjamin.


Solo for unaccompanied flügelhorn (optional Bb trumpet) was written in 1991 as a result of a trumpet concerto commission from the International Trumpet Guild. I began the concerto with flügelhorn alone intending to change instruments once the introduction was complete. What I discovered was that my imaginary performer did not want to relinquish the flügelhorn and before long, I was well into a flügelhorn concerto. A quick call to my commissioners confirmed what I already suspected: the music world did not need a flügelhorn concerto. So, I began again, changing my conception of the work, and finished Triptych, a concerto for trumpet and orchestra in August 1991. An optional flügelhorn section in the second movement hints at my original effort. Upon completion of the concerto, I returned to the flügelhorn material that I had put away and realized that with minor changes and some augmentation, it would work as a solo flügelhorn composition. Solo was the result.