Memories To Keep Awhile for trumpet/flügelhorn, violin, violoncello and piano was commissioned by and written for David Elton for premiere at the 2015 Australian Festival of Chamber Music. The title was taken from a label that my mother had placed on a box of photographs of my family when I was growing up in South Carolina and Virginia. She passed away a few years ago leaving me with all of the familys’ historical documents. It has been my responsibility to examine all of these photographs, slides, newspaper articles and films to decide what to keep and what to throw away. I am the family historian for my generation. My guess is that many of you have done this already and most of you will experience this in your lifetime. What I have found was that it stirred up a tremendous amount of varied emotions. I also found that when I saw the rather self-effacing label that my mother created for one of the boxes, I smiled at her wonderful attitude. She was correct in the observation that these cherished memories are cherished by only a few presently and will be only a curiosity to future generations.
Memories To Keep Awhile is divided into four movements which I call “photos” with the third and fourth “photo” played attacca, that is, without pause. I choose not to describe the actual photos, instead, allowing your imagination to create your own. The work is an attempt to aurally depict a small portion of what my familys’ lives have meant to each other.
Just Keep Moving was written as part of a concept album titled Chesapeake (Summit DCD 639). The album features the American Brass Quintet with two additional performers on percussion and piano. It is conceived as if one were attending a recital of the ABQ performing Breakaway for two trumpets and electronics, then Powell Trio for trombone, marimba and piano followed by Three Sides for trumpet, vibraphone and piano. Just Keep Moving is next with four movements of varied techniques and moods concluding with a wild drive to the climactic end. The title was suggested by a comment made by my mother, Betty, years before the creation of Just Keep Moving on how to deal with adversity and loss: “never stop, just keep moving”. The album or recital concludes with Chesapeake for brass quintet which aurally depicts three sailing trips on the Chesapeake Bay.