Impressions

for Wind Quintet
2018

Program Notes:


 

I. Dedicated to my mother, Jeanine Breadon, whose stable and calming presence fostered joyous and uncomplicated lives for her four boys.

 

To harken a simple and pleasant time, I composed this Impression using only the white keys of the piano and utilized simple textures, tight block harmonies, and weaving modal melodies without a strong sense of function.

II. To compose this Impression I employed a musical cryptogram that turns letters of the alphabet into musical pitches. Using this technique I turned five quotes from members (and former members) of the Trump administration into the music for each of the five instruments. Only the notes and short instructions are provided for the instrumentalists; all rhythms, rests, and articulations are improvised or prepared by the performer. 

 

The quotes used for each instrument are as follows:

 

Horn:

 

"We need to get the best and the finest. And if we don’t, we’ll be in trouble for a long period of time, and maybe never come out of it."

 

"In America, we don’t worship government, we worship god."

 

     -President of the United States, Donald J. Trump 

 

Bassoon:

 

Senator Whitehouse:

 

“Does a secular attorney have a, anything to fear from Attorney General Sessions in the Department of Justice?” 

 

U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions:

 

“Well, no... a little concern I have that we as a nation, I believe, are, are reaching a level in which truth is not sufficiently respected, that the very ideal, the idea of truth is, uh, not believed to be real and that all of life is just a matter of your perspective and my, sp...perspective, which I think is contrary to the American Heritage... I think we should respect people’s uh, views and, and, and, not, n, demand any kind of religious test for, a, holding office.”

 

Whitehouse:

 

“And a secular person has just as good a claim to understanding the truth as a person who is religious, correct?”

 

Sessions:

 

“Well, I’m not sure…”

 

Flute:

 

"Our desire is to be in that shephelah, to, um, confront the culture in which we all live today in ways which will continue to help, um, advance god’s kingdom..."

 

"I think it goes back to the concept of really being active in the shephelah of our culture. To  impact our culture in ways that are not the traditional, uh, funding the christian organization route, but that really may have greater kingdom gains in the long run, um, by changing the way we approach things, in the case, um, the system of education in the country."

 

     -U.S. Secretary of Education, Betsy Devos 

 

Oboe:

 

"Under ENDA, employees around the country who possess religious beliefs that, that, uh, are opposed to homosexual behavior would be forced, in effect, to lay down their rights and convictions at the door. For example, if an employee keeps a bible at his or her cubicle, if an employee displays a bible verse on their desk, that employee could be claimed by a homosexual colleague to be creating a hostile work environment because the homosexual employee objects to passages in the bible relating to homosexuality."

 

      -Vice President of the United States, Mike Pence

 

Clarinet:

 

"Are there racist people involved in the alt-right? Absolutely. Look, are there some people that are white nationalists that are attracted to some of the philosophies of the alt-right? Maybe. Are there some people that are anti-semitic that are attracted? Maybe. Right? Maybe some people are attracted to the alt-right that are homophobic, right? But that’s just like there are certain elements of the progressive left and the hard left that attract certain elements."

 

-Former Chief Strategist of Trump Administration, Steve Bannon 

 

I believe these quotes speak for themselves.

 

III. During my last visit to my childhood home in Ohio, I remember feeling deep sensations of nostalgia at every turn. Nostalgia, by its nature, encompasses all of the feelings of joy and comfort we attribute to a place and/or time. We generally see this as being a good thing, however, in some ways this is a disservice to the observer because it generalizes the sum of experiences that connect us to that time or place, both pleasant and unpleasant. It isn’t until specific memories re-emerge that we come to acknowledge a coherent recollection of our past.

 

This Impression begins by imitating something from my past that brings back feelings of nostalgia; the humming and chirping of crickets, tree frogs, and cicadas on a warm summer evening. The rhythmic and melodic material emerging from this reminiscent texture become more clear

and even intruding as the piece moves forward in the same way poignant memories begin to re-emerge as nostalgia fades away. 

 

After the flood of familiar interactions, wanted and unwanted, and a sudden shift in perspective, the time comes to rejoin with current reality. As the tension builds and releases, the memories fade and nostalgia takes its comfortable and appeasing perch.

 

The melodic material of the Impression is built entirely out of the Lydian Diminished Scale from George Russell’s theory text: The Lydian Chromatic Concept of Tonal Organization. This is a text I became acquainted with while still living in Ohio and George Russell is also originally from my hometown of Cincinnati, Ohio. The shifting pitch center of the scale throughout the piece is guided by a musical cryptogram, spelling “Nostalgia.”

 

 

 

 

IV. With the rise of an administration that is so outwardly bigoted, sexist, crude, uneducated, and incompetent; so willing to merge church and state; so apologetic and admiring of totalitarian regimes; so embroiled in conflicts of interest; so vicious in it’s attack of the press and the first amendment (I could go on); it is no mystery as to why so many have taken to the mantra: “Resist.”

 

This Impression represents the cries, anger, disgust, and disbelief of the majority of Americans who did not vote for this megalomaniac and fraud. It employs the same musical cryptogram used in Impression II to turn the word “Resistance” into pitches; of which all of the pitch material in this 

Impression is derived.

 

V. Dedicated to my grandmother, Gail Osborne, whose lifelong pursuit and promulgation of higher knowledge is an inspiration to a family that adores her. 

 

This Nocturne is designed to be simple and elegant in it’s melodic and harmonic structures which are built on the most classic of early American musical forms: the thirty-two-bar form (AABA song form).

© 2018  Thomas Breadon, Jr.

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