Hwaen Ch'uqi - A Sterling Suite for Tuba, Trumpet, and Piano (Digital PDF Download)

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Suite in 5 movements:

I. Prelude?
II. Minuet and Trio
III. Chorale, Variation, and Coda
IV. Song Without Words
V. Finale

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Suite in 5 movements:

I. Prelude?
II. Minuet and Trio
III. Chorale, Variation, and Coda
IV. Song Without Words
V. Finale

PREFACE

Those who know anything of my biography are well aware of the many sadnesses that littered the landscape of my early life. The places of refuge and solace - not the least of which was music - have been likewise documented. Perhaps the sunniest of these escapes was and remains the light and brilliant Septet, Op. 65, by Camille Saint-Saëns. Scored for trumpet, string quartet plus double bass, and piano, it evokes with charm and elegance the dances and musical forms of a bygone age.

It was only natural then that, when I was approached by the dedicatee of this work about writing something for tuba, trumpet, and piano, I should return for inspiration to said Septet - this because the dedicatee both signaled and came to represent an aspect of that sunshine that would eventually dissolve the tentacles of those early horrors and that would overspread my true and latter life with joy abundant, undeserved, and unspeakable! We were students together at the Eastman School; he was my freshman roommate, and I became his unwitting initiate into the worlds of lower brass and
more contemporary classical music.

In addition to what I truly believe are five highly-accessible movements, the suite contains a compendium of allusions to our friendship generally and to many a goings-on specifically. I address only the title itself. It is a reference to the legendary John Sterling, the play-by-play radio announcer for the New York Yankees. Each movement bears a subtitle that quotes one of Sterling's home run calls as used in the 2017 MLB season. He and the Yankees are dear to both of us, and this seemed as good a time as any to memorialize them.

To the matter of accessibility, my confidence in the universality of my music - that is, within the world of listeners and performers accustomed to the language and structures that I employ - spills necessarily into decisions of notational practice. At once most noticeable, and thus most apt to elicit acute pangs of alarm within would-be interpreters, is the relative "cleanness" of the score, I taking care only to communicate explicitly that which experience has shown warrants clarification. Otherwise, I invite each player to find his own way, remembering along the process to regard his own
voice as well as the voices of his partners. (Were it at all possible, I would extend such practice beyond scores for conductorless ensembles!) In other words, my music is not meant so much to be sightread as it is to be "worked out," ensuring a well-crafted and truly unique interpretation.

A dear colleague recently remarked that she perceived in my music a constant thread of sadness "which a listener might not realize while listening to it, but it appears afterwards." In principle, I cannot disagree with her, only preferring the characterization "bittersweet." But I submit this work as "exhibit A," hoping to demonstrate to the world - even through moments of deep poignancy - a lighter side. After all, I have often styled myself as "the Saint-Saëns of Perú," and what better way to support so brazen a claim!
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