To the Colors (2016) 3.5'
For chamber orchestra. 2, 2, 2, 2 - 2, 2, 0, 0 - timp, str
Premiered 5/15/16 by the Chamber Orchestra of Philadelphia. Self-published (Morningside Press, ASCAP).
To the Colors is loosely based on the first movement of Mozart’s Haffner Symphony. The Haffner opens with a fiery, tutti forte passage that immediately calls its listeners to attention, featuring dramatic octave leaps that descend four scale steps. To the Colors seeks to capture the thrilling energy of Mozart's opening movement in its own way, aiming to offer its audience a similar spirit of excitement and enthusiasm.
This work’s title is a reference to its attention-grabbing function. “To the Colors” is the name of a bugle call I heard often at summer camp growing up. While its official function is to honor our nation’s flag, we at the camp seem also to have adapted it for use as a signal that a mealtime or a special event was approaching. In my life, “To the Colors” has been the most authentic American cultural analog to the ear-catching function of Haffner’s opening gambit. Though the bugle call itself doesn’t influence the musical material in To the Colors, I like to think some of the energy it used to instill in me in my childhood has made its way into this music.