Opus 12 (2013) – Tres Cogitatum pro Bucina et Clavicordio (Horn and Piano)

Recorded 10/23/15 by Travis Mallett (Piano), David Zartman (Horn), and Kyndra Sisayaket (Horn).
Program Notes

Opus 18 These three “thoughts” (cogitatum) are written in memory of my wife’s youngest brother who passed away in 2009 at the premature age of only 6 years old. The pieces outline the happy memories of his life, the mourning of his death, and a hopeful eagerness for a future meeting.

The opening piece titled, “The Boy and the Bear” serves dual purposes of presenting in capsule form the outline of the three pieces, as well as the pleasant memories of the past. The Boy and the Bear is in ternary form with the opening section an upbeat dance in Bb which darkens and becomes ferocious before erupting into an uncertain and ethereal middle section. The piece eventually returns to the opening material and ends on a light note. As the title suggests, the boy is my wife’s brother, and the bear is the sickness he struggled with.

The second piece titled, “Nocturne” is an exposition of the middle section from the first work. The piano quietly ticks away with a major 7th, as if in shock, while the horn laments with a mournful melody. Like the first, this piece is also in ternary form with an explosion of anguish in the middle. This piece is much less connected to tonality than the first, but is generally centered on E-natural, a tritone away from the first piece. After the chaos of the middle section, the piece returns to the opening but ends with the piano playing a major triad, indicating the hopefulness of the final stage of grief.

The last piece titled, “Six Variations on an Original Theme” is written to indicate a confident, spiritual, hope of a future meeting. The theme is a simple, yet confident, melody in G-minor, which although related to the first piece as a relative minor, and the second piece by a chromatic mediant, is tainted with the sad events that came previously. Each variation represents some scene or idea of some joyful meeting in the future. What these scenes are is left to the imagination of the listener.