Vicissitude (2009)

I.  Children Once

II.  This Generation

III.  The Modern Love Waltz

IV.  In Memoriam

V.  The Promise (Of a Bright, New Future)

For Brass Choir and Percussion

Duration 13'10

Premiered by Christopher Newport University Musicians on April 11, 2009 at the Ferguson Center for the Arts, Newport News, VA. 

Program Notes

“Vicissitude: Successive, alternating, or changing phases or conditions, as of life or fortune; ups and downs.”

-Random House Dictionary

Vicissitude acts as a testament for the trials and tribulations that a homosexual teenager growing up in today’s society will face.  Composed between April and November of 2009, the piece features a large brass ensemble and four percussionists. 

I. Children Once

The first movement utilizes just the four percussionists.  Each is improvising their part off of a random assortment children’s tunes.  The movement is void of tempo.  The children’s tunes represent that all people were once children, innocent and full of hope.  The transition to the second movement happens without break.

II. This Generation

From each generation new open minds and attitudes emerge, thus new hopes for a better future.  However with these open minds, come new challenges.  Each challenge proves to be an obstacle to strive to overcome.  Comprised of solos from each instrument in the brass ensemble, the movement never comes together in a tutti section because this generation still cannot see eye to eye.

III. The Modern Love Waltz

The title for this movement is drawn from a Philip Glass work for piano by the same name.  Love is ancient and avant-garde, ever-changing and static, simple and complicated.  This piece plays more like a war scene rather than a waltz.  It represents the differing opinions on love clashing in an eternal battle for what ultimately is a seemingly unreachable compromise.

IV. In Memoriam

This movement is in memoriam of Matthew Shepard (1979-1998).  Shepard was killed in October of 1998 for being gay.  This terrible event opened the country’s eyes to hate crimes and hate crime prevention.  For the first time in the entire work all the instruments come together as one.

V. The Promise (Of a Bright, New Future)

This is a musical promise to the young teenager, that there is a beautiful, accepting future in store.  And no matter what, keep believing that things will be better.  The movement briefly quotes Aaron Copland’s The Promise of Living from the opera The Tender Land (a song that has new meaning to someone in these circumstances).


4 Horns in F

3 Trumpets in Bb

2 Trombones

Bass Trombone



4 Percussionists