Slack Tide (2019)

for symphonic brass and percussion

[5641/2perc] Duration: ca. 8'30"

Commissioned by the Tanglewood Music Center

  • premiere
    June 30, 2019
    Tanglewood Symphonic Brass Ensemble
    Nathan Aspinall
    Seiji Ozawa Hall, Tanglewood Music Center
    Lenox, MA

Slack Tide is the moment between high and low tides where there is little to no movement of water. While tidal forces can create powerful flood and ebb currents, slack tide is a time of momentary stillness and calm resulting from an uneasy truce between these opposing forces. Scored for large brass ensemble and percussion, the piece reflects the character of this truce with rhythmic grooves that are both laid-back and simmering. Two melodies are featured in the piece: first a jazzy one introduced early on by solo muted trombone over a steady bass line, and second a contemplative one played by solo horn over shimmering chords that sweep upwards from the bass. A variety of brass mutes and effects, coupled with percussive grooves, create kaleidoscopic accompaniments to these melodies that evoke the glittering, iridescent surface of water.