Storm Warning was born out of an inside joke. It was the spring of 2016, and the Grand Valley State University trumpet studio had just finished practicing and performing my trumpet octet, Earthquake City, for the National Trumpet Competition and multiple student recitals. When we were all together at NTC, they told me they were expecting the follow-up piece to be called Tsunami Village. In June, after poring over dozens of potential titles, I sent them three or four titles I was considering, one of which was Storm Warning. One of the students immediately sent back, “What is it with you and natural disasters?” The name stuck, partly to poke fun at the situation, but mostly because it was the right choice for the piece and the ensemble.
Storm Warning follows five trumpet players through a chaotic, often aggressive landscape filled with shifting tonality and hocketed melodic runs. The piece builds, then breaks itself down into a serene ballad section. From there, it regains its energy, returning to familiar material in new ways and continuing to build to a climactic finish.
Run time: approx. 5’40”.
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Notes to the performers:
-Part denominations are spatially determined, rather than following the usual responsibilities of a trumpet ensemble. This helps enhance the dueling section as well as some of the back-and-forth melodies in the beginning of the piece. Before assigning parts, look closely at them and decide which part is best for each of your performers.
-Sections within brackets are motivic material and should be brought to the forefront of the texture.
-In the dueling section, Trumpets 1 and 5 should toss the provided motives back and forth in any order and beginning on any pitch they choose. This should be gradual at first, creating a sparse, almost tentative texture; as the duel progresses, the performers should shorten the gaps between interjections, placing their motives closer and closer together (while adhering to the back-and-forth nature of a duel). This is meant to mimic the cadenzas one might find in concerti while simultaneously allowing for spontaneous interaction between two members of the ensemble.
Listen to Storm Warning, performed by Brianne Borden, Aaron Lovelady, Billy Berue, Robert Lau Giambruno, and Megan DeJarnett here: