The Glazer Suite: for Trumpet and Piano Quartet
Benoit is a music leader in the Central Florida region who wears many hats. Publicly, he is the trumpet soloist, conductor and music director of the wonderful Cirque du Soleil La Nouba. He is an arranger and composer as well. Less known, Benoit is also an audio engineer and holds a patent on a trumpet mouthpiece design. Privately, he is an inspired and devoted family man, who, with his wife Elaine – a pianist, teach both classical and jazz music to their three children Jean-Marie, Camille and Charles Edouard. Benoit is also leading the kids’ school jazz band (donating his time). Benoit and Elaine have elected to share the music of their family be creating a utopian interrelationship with Central Florida. They have constructed an outrageously unique and beautiful home for the purpose of music performance. Hundreds of concerts have been offered for free to the public from their private home under the auspices of their not for profit organization called Timucua and most of them feature his family in whole or part for the opening performance. Many of the evening performers at the “White House” are from around the world – and many are local. He says
“My beautiful wife and I started to host monthly concerts in our home in september of 2000. The concept is simple; Bring arts and music back into that forgotten venue: the living room. Always FREE to the public. People bring a nice bottle of wine or porto, and a piece of fine cheese or other delicacy. They enjoy an evening of live music performed by some of the best musicians around, and take in some artwork by local artists.
We put a strong emphasis on living composers, and we have had over 150 world premieres so far! That makes us one of the leading new music concert venues in Florida.”
In April of 2010, the Glazers were exploring the possibility that their talented family might do a kind of tour of France the upcoming summer, and that he was interested in a work from me for those concerts scored for trumpet, piano, violin, viola and cello. Even though the tour did not occur over the summer, I enjoyed writing for this unusual ensemble and eventually created 5 movements. The movements can be played singly, or together. If they are to be played together, I want them to fall in the order in the score. The five movements embrace a wide range of compositional approaches.
I am grateful for their premier of this work (then called “Suite for Trumpet, Piano, Violin Viola and Cello”) on September 11th 2011 as a part of the Accidental Music Festival. And I especially indebted to these fine young musicians and model parents for their hard work of recording this over the holiday break in December of 2011.
The first movement, “Meditation”, employs the Fibonacci series to guide entrance points and durations. A study on a single F major 13 +11 chord, the organic quality of the golden means lend a very pleasant sensation of time as only entrances and voicings change. The trumpet plays only 3 pitch classes: G, A and B.”Meditation” is inspired by the works of Morton Feldman as well as my own studies and experience in Vipassana meditation. Every moment of our lives is huge and spacious. I hope this work invites entry into Now.
The second movement “Fun”, has similarities to the first and third movements of “On the Playground” in its contrapuntal flow and tonal approach. Centering on a primary simple and short melodic phrases, the interest in “Fun” lies in the juxtaposition of phrase and tight trading of motives. The score calls the trumpet player to use a plunger mute rather extensively. I’m looking to create a talking effect throughout its jaunty melody somewhere between Bubber Miley and Charlie Brown’s teacher.
The third movement “Lesson on the Circle” is a resetting of a movement of the same name from “5 Stanescu Songs” for Tenor, Piano and String Quartet I composed in the early 1980s. A tightly composed piece, “Lesson on the Circle” is built upon a juxtaposition of simplicity and complexity. The simplicity is that of a kernal of action – that of rising a perfect 4th, or falling a perfect 5th – the strongest musical interval – that weaves its own polyphonic matrix. This kernal is the solitary item played by each string player, but at five different rates that create a series of interesting harmonies. The trumpet and violin often takes the track that moves fastest (half notes). The viola often on the track that plays it slower, and the cello slower yet. Upon this harmonically complex fabric of simple movement, I placed the violin or trumpet in a strict 12 tone row, also constructed of groups of 4ths. The piano part is a medium ground that sometimes lives in the row, sometimes in the matrix of 4ths. The work begins ends when the cycle returns to the same pitch.
4. Family (recorded Dec 2011 by the Glazer family, co-starring Spock the Greyhound!)
The fourth movement “Family” is a text/game based piece for the group. I learned how to compose these pieces from my retreat with Pauline Oliveros (Deep Listening Institute) a few years back and love these approaches. They are pure concept – meta-music. I limited the musical materials to be the same as the first movement but with several new interactive loops. The family members must negotiate and respond to each other throughout. The piece will expose the functioning (or disfunctioning) of their collaborative relationships and balances choice, limitation and freedom of expression and reparte. This video (the first version) describes the piece.
The last movement, “Acuity” is meant to end the set with a big bang of virtuosity. The piece moves very quickly – and is written to sound fiendishly hard without being so. The string players oscillate between open strings and the same strings being stopped at the same distance from the nut. This allows everything to be played in simple positions which allows for speed. The development of “Acuity” revolves around the growing interval between the open strings and the stopped strings as well as ensemble interplay.
This is the second draft of the score.