picc / 2 fl / 2 ob / bsn | eb clar / 3 clar / b clar | SATB sax | 4 hn / 4tp / 2tbn / b tbn | 2 euph / 2 tba | Timp + 6 perc | hrp | pno
CSUF Wind Symphony, Dustin Barr - Conductor
Originally, State of Alarm was not intended to be a work for wind band but was instead an early sketch for a tuba quartet (now called 3 Shorts for Andrew), commissioned by my great friend and very gifted tubist, Andrew Ordonez. I began to send sketches of this work to Peter Bement, a wonderful horn player and emerging conductor, who recommended that these sketches would sit well within the language and colors of the wind band. The piece then continued in the wind band format as a side project during the beginning of the initial COVID-19 lockdown period, progressing to its penultimate form late in the summer of 2020. The piece was then revisited a year later during the summer following my first year of grad school, for the premiere by the CSUF Wind Symphony in the fall of 2021. After gritting through a pandemic, challenging political climates, moving coasts, changing careers, and relearning a new definition of independence, this piece became a personal journal as I watched the many worlds around me shift and turn anew.
The work begins quite literally as a series of bells and whistles ring and sing into orderly chaos before folding into a rag- tag, topsy-turvy dance. Dodging, ducking, dipping, diving, and dodging again between major roadblocks, fake news, and other assorted momentum-stopping whistleblowing events, the dance pushes on in efforts to maintain its momentum. After slinking around in a helter-skelter jaunt, the ensemble begins to at first, politely argue, then aggressively fight internally for independent dominance. Shortly following, the debates coalesce into an emergent explosion before quickly finding itself settling into a moment of less-than-placid solitude.
That solitude then begins to shift and evolve, hearing echoes of things that just passed, and reconstructing itself with a misplaced sense of security. Separate but together, the voices in the ensemble shine in their own niche in a glitchy but connected sea, rising together to new peaks and a different sort of shimmer. This ephemeral moment of unity is unfortunately short-lived, falling yet again into the midst of an unsettled resolution.
A protest of voices mark the beginning of a heavy and tumultuous schism within the ensemble, with different timbres singing and shouting with evocative force and gesture. Where some push, others pull; some cry and others celebrate; some fight, and others fight back harder. Around this tumult lays a heavy stinging cloud, from which rises a song sung in brash unity. Splintered fragments of a whole continue to scream and shout until !nally reuniting on the !nal note of a very familiar tune, concluding the work.
This piece is dedicated to those in marginalized communities who do not receive the social and political support they deserve and/or receive unjust treatment and criticism for their identity in all manners. A portion of the proceeds from this piece will be donated to local support groups centralized in supporting these marginalized communities, so that our broken today may be a stronger, more accepting, and more unified tomorrow.
*Please note that the current available perusal score does not reflect current performance material. An updated perusal score is currently in progress and is available upon request
World Premiere - Oct 3, 2021 - CSUF Wind Symphony, Dustin Barr - Conductor @ Meng Concert Hall - Fullerton, CA