…and sundry movements of the heart… for Tuba and Piano. The four movements of this work explore very diverse (“sundry”) musical territories: abstract and serious, songlike, humorous, pensive and transcendent. Many of the musical ideas were generated in spontaneous improvising sessions or by singing–hence, “movements of the heart.”
“Prelude” is anchored in its structure by a bold, serious gesture that is heard at the beginning, middle, and end of the movement, developed differently each time. The two intervening episodes are contrasting in tempo, and materials: the first is more abstract, the second a strong, focused melody.
“Song,” the second movement, is a warmly lyrical tune in a straightforward setting.
The third movement, “Vaudeville,” is light-hearted and witty.
“Standing Stones” is titled after numerous sites in the British Isles where ancient people erected huge stones in circles, singly, or even lining broad avenues. The incredible effort required to do so is mind-boggling, given the tools available to the people. And that they were able to make near-perfect circles, with stones aligned by the positions of sun and moon and seasons is further evidence of their intelligence and dedication to ideas and deep feelings far beyond the daily tasks of survival. The music begins very quietly, in deep tones, enigmatic harmonies, and introspective melodies. The music gradually takes on a brighter sound until it reaches an ecstatic climax.
Duration – ca. 14′
–Jonathan B. McNair