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Instrumentation: Duet Instruments: French Horn, Piano, Tuba
For Horn, Tuba and Piano: Commissioned by The International Women in Brass Conference, Lin Foulk, Deanna Swoboda, Cimarron Music Press and BVD Press
When I started working on a new work for horn, tuba, and piano, I had no thoughts as to what I would call it or what direction it would take. However, as often happens in composition, the piece took on a life of its own with three movements of contrasting moods. I thought that might be a good name, "Moods,"but I woke up one morning with the word "Colors," on my mind, and that soon morphed into "Color Code." There has been evidence that colors affect one's mood so this seemed a perfect alternative. Also, each movement has a pair of colors to represent the horn and the tuba.
Now I had to figure out what colors would best represent each movement. The first is dissonant and militaristic with the driving accented rhythm and sudden dynamic changes. The horn and the tuba repeat each other's phrases, almost as in a competition. The quiet middle section has an ominous undercurrent, a lull in the battle. So when I thought about the colors of this movement, it occurred to me that the horn is generally a gold colored instrument and the tuba, silver. (Although it can be either silver or gold, for this purpose I decided it would be sliver.) Thus the name, A Clash of Gold and Silver.
The second movement begins full of tragedy and melancholy calling to mind the dark and forbidding colors of violet and gray. The movement shifts between one shade of despair to another, as in Shifting and Shimmering Shades of Violet and Gray. The opening choral-like section is suddenly interrupted by the repressed anger of the hand muted horn. The tuba and piano join, expressing growing angst until the first theme intercedes with an attempt to calm the anxiety, but it is thwarted again and again until finally a resignation is apparent although it's left to the last movement to brighten the spirits.
What better colors to signify having fun than Champagne and Chocolate! This movement's sprightly and humorous themes, rather tongue in cheek, bring Color Code to a fitting and happy conclusion.
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