Counterwork concerns itself with dualities: light/dark, optimism/pessimism, extroversion/introversion. Written for and dedicated to Christopher Wilson, it is orchestrated for trumpet/flugelhorn, marimba and piano. Beginning with the extroverted side of this duality, the music is lively, strong and rhythmic. Themes, harmonies and rhythms create a sense of joy and fun along with a bit of mischievousness. After a time, the work sinks into a sense of sadness and loss with the trumpeter changing to flugelhorn which in itself often personifies introversion. We then suddenly revert back to the light and revisit the first section with additional exploration. Later, we are again drawn back into the darkness, but, this time remain for a longer period. Returning for the final time to optimism, there is an added sense of strength and purpose along with a touch desperation. The work ends with a short, mournful return to darkness with a final cry from a muted trumpet.
Emma’s Dance was written during the summer of 1994 for Scott Mendoker to celebrate the birth of Scott and Annie Mendoker’s child, Emma Rose. The work is a little unusual in that it concentrates not on the birth itself, with its sense of joy and relief, but on the struggle, fear and doubts leading up to the birth. One can hear the emotions moving back and forth between complete exhilaration and deep concern. The work ends with the birth and settles into a spiritual calm.
Random Acts for trumpet and piano is presented in five movements: 1. Proceed 2. Aria Blue 3. Torque 4. Aria White 5. Return. The intentional allusion to opera foreshadows the content of the drama. Proceed is an overture of sorts, complete in itself, introducing ideas that will return in various guises. Aria Blue is soulful, lyrically introspective. Torque is a burst of rhythmic and contrapuntal energy. Aria White is a bookend to Aria Blue but with a warmer outlook. Return is an altered recap of music from the previous four movements.