Chants and Flourishes for double brass quintet was written to commemorate the fiftieth anniversary of the formation of the American Brass Quintet. The work is a continuation of my ongoing collaborations with the ABQ that began with Morning Music, written in 1986. I have been, and continue to be, a strong supporter of the work of the ABQ in guaranteeing the survival of the brass quintet as a serious chamber music entity through commissioning, performance and recording of new brass chamber music. It has been my honor to be a co-conspirator in their quest.
Edge for Thirteen Brass, Snare Drum and Timpani was written during the late spring of 2008. It is a one-minute fanfare bristling with energy and drive culminating in an intense climax.
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.
Written during the summer of 1995, Hommage JFK is a fanfare for four trumpets, four horns, four trombones, two tubas and three percussion. It was commissioned by the National Symphony Orchestra to commemorate the twenty-fifth anniversary of the opening of the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington, D.C. In the writing of the fanfare, I chose to concentrate on the man for whom the building was dedicated, John F. Kennedy. Since I was only nine when he was elected president, Kennedy became the first political leader to make an impression on me. What I remember most was his humor, smile and vitality, and the fact that these were taken away from us so suddenly. Hommage JFK reflects these two elements: vitality and sudden loss.