Winter Ceremony, scored for two trumpeters also performing on flugelhorns, glass chimes and suspended cymbal, was written to appear in the February 1984 International Trumpet Guild Journal. Part of the inspiration for the work was the influence of living for four years on the campus of Delbarton School, Morristown, New Jersey, which is administered by the Benedictine monks of St. Mary’s Abbey. Through association with several of the monks and actual participation in the centuries-old ceremonies at the church, I became fascinated with the rituals of the Catholic church and with rituals in general. When the opportunity arose to write a new work for the Journal, my interest was able to take form. An additional reason for creating this piece was to honor my father who had died only months before, ending a series of deaths in my immediate family. Because of this, the work is mostly solemn with frequent moments of stillness interspersed with sudden outbursts. Between the sections of brass music are formalized movements by the performers and gentle percussion sounds. The work ends with echoes of previously heard material sounding offstage.
REFLECTIONS ON A DANCE
David Sampson’s REFLECTIONS ON A DANCE, commissioned by Raymond Mase and Melvyn Jernigan, was written in the spring of 1988 for the Summit Brass and was premiered by them on June 11, 1988 in Keystone, Colorado. The composer states:
The (“Dance”) in the title could be replaced by the words “My Life” – and specifically “My life as a trumpet player.” When Ray Mase and I began discussions on the creation of the work, brass passages from the great orchestral and chamber music literature flashed before my ears. Although nothing is specifically quoted, the final effect of REFLECTIONS ON A DANCE is a kaleidoscope of musical impressions that could only sound well on brass. The resulting piece is a tribute to brass players and the music they have inspired.
REFLECTIONS ON A DANCE is written in a highly personal style charged with dynamism and élan. It has moments of introspection and mystery succeeded by passages of drama and excitement. There is meditation and there is a vibrancy and the score runs the gamut of emotional expression, driving finally to a stunning virtuosic climax. (David Hickman)
Points for brass octet (three trumpets, French horn, three trombones and tuba) and percussion was written in 1983 for Solid Brass and first performed by them that year. It was subsequently substantially re-written in 1987. The work, in three unusually titled movements: “Ontario: 4:30 P.M.; South Carolina: Saturday; Kansas: 3 A.M.”, refers back to various points in my life that have particular significance. As an example, “South Carolina: Saturday” evokes my childhood, which was spent in a small town in South Carolina called Camden. Saturday, a day in which school was mercifully closed, meant a time to be an uncontrollable, mischievous, ball-of-fire brat. This was an age of great innocence where one of the best and most daring pranks one could pull was to sneak up on some unsuspecting girl and cut the bottom out of her Halloween candy bag without her noticing. “South Carolina: Saturday” is my nod to that freest of times. “Kansas: 3 A.M.” is dedicated to all of you who have ever driven non-stop across that most gargantuan of states. Actually, it is something I have done several times leaving strong indelible impressions: boundless sky, billions of stars, a ceaseless wind, breathtaking vastness. “Ontario; 4:30 P.M.” refers to a camping trip in Canada with my wife, Christine, with all of its unexpected experiences.
“OUR FATHER’S ROAD”: A CANTATA FOR NEW SWEDEN
“Our Fathers’ Road”: A Cantata for New Sweden for Soprano, Oboe/English Horn, Violoncello, Percussion and Piano is a cycle of five songs in Swedish and the Lenni Lenape language translated into English. It was commissioned and premiered by the Vinland Duo in 1989.