Composing – A Musical Tapestry

I shall be conducting the World Premiere of my latest work, Tapestry Tampa Bay, on March 23. Plans for broadcasting the concert live online are underway – keep checking for details.

The half-hour piece has six movements, each depicting a totally biased and subjective perspective that has grown in me since moving here a year ago. I had no intention of writing a piece of music, let alone a multi-movement one. But, I had a concert date and no guest solo artist to feature (the friend I had booked was just invited to participate in a 14 month world tour – rehearsals have just begun).

Skyway Bridge

So, I looked at the combination of instruments available to me now: the winners of my concerto competition (piano & marimba), and wondered what other pieces could be put on the program. Ah yes, Schubert’s Trout Quintet. Always wanted to do that one. Hmm. Still need some more flexibility. How about some woodwinds? Except the oboe, perhaps. It was a nightmare trying to secure an oboe player for my last “SPB & Friends” concert.

Oh, yes: must include an interesting twist – a non-text vocal line! And now I had an ensemble to work with: Flute, Clarinet, Bassoon, Percussion, Marimba, Piano, Soprano, Violin 1, Violin 2, Viola, Cello, Bass. Now I wouldn’t look so silly conducting an ensemble of 12 (instead of 5) musicians.

Next, what will the movements be about/ called/ style? Here’s what I came up with, in their final order:

1. Beaches & Boats. Of course, gotta have ’em – Tampa Bay is rampant with both!
2. Skyway Bridge. For anyone who has ever been on a scary roller coaster ride, just think of the initial uphill crawl and you’ll pretty much get what it’s like driving over the entrance to Tampa Bay.
3. Grouper. It’s a fish. I’ve never come across Grouper before and to be perfectly honest, it is a truly wonderful white meat. And then I saw a video of one. What a whopper! Had to include it in my piece.
4. Downtown. There are so many to choose from in Tampa Bay: Tampa, Clearwater, St Petersburg, Dunedin, Tarpon Spring, Brandon, Bradenton, Safety Harbor, Palm Harbor, Largo, Indian Shores, that I couldn’t decide. So I combined them all into one tertiary movement.
5. Churches & Arts. It’s simply unbelievable just how many churches there are in this area. I guess as people retire here they bring their religions and faiths with them. Truly remarkable. And as for the arts, it is truly a very active scene – I had no idea.
6. Back for More. This movement reflects the nostalgia that causes hundreds of thousands of people to return to the area every year.

I’ll be exploring each movement in more detail over the next few weeks, and hope you’ll be intrigued enough to spread the word, encourage local folk to attend (by sharing on Social Media), and maybe even watching online.

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