As the Crow Flies – Brass Quintet – 2007
Winner of the Meridian Arts Ensemble/East Carolina University Brass Quintet Composition Contest, 2007
Duration: ~5 minutes
2 Trumpets in Bb
Horn in F
Notes on Performance
The crow, and its cousin the raven, are birds we see everywhere, no matter where we live. Though it is so familiar, the bird still manages to surprise and confuse us. Remember seeing crows attacking a hawk or an owl, stealing shiny bits of metal from you or gathering in dozens right outside your window. It is no wonder that the crow is the subject of mythology and superstition. This piece was meant to draw many possibilities of color and formal development from very simple material, mostly the unison line: the piece attempts to reconsider the brass quintet and the idea of melody. For most of the piece the ensemble moves together, like a single unit, or perhaps like a flock of birds, each one a member of a group but with its own personality. The phrase “as the crow flies” reminded me of this musical gesture because it represents the idea of a route that exists but that we are unable to take. There is a mystic feeling to it: it means we must reconsider our world and see it from above, as if from the eyes of a crow.
I composed and included the poem by the same title with the piece because I feel they go together, and perhaps help to explain each other. The poem does not need to be recited before performance or be included in program notes, if this is not desired or appropriate, this is entirely up to the performer. It is present as an aid to interpretation.