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[Ben Phelps looks at a crane]

Works > Chamber music- eclectic > chorale / lament / rhapsody

chorale / lament / rhapsody

for Clarinet, Baritone Sax (doubles alto sax), Trombone, Vibraphone, Bass   

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Commissioned by the Howard Hanson Institute for American Music of the Eastman School of Music at the University of Rochester. Premiered in Spring 2006 by the Westside Collective. 2006. 12 minutes.

When I was asked to write a piece for the odd combination of clarinet, saxophone, trombone, bass and percussion, my first thought was of a jazz combo, and more specifically (for whatever reason) of a New Orleans funeral procession. Not feeling comfortable writing a piece in the tonal language of traditional jazz, I took that idea and applied it to my own style- though if there is any direct connotation it is of Klezmar music (again for no clear reason). I do like the idea, however, that the piece is some kind of funeral processional for a non-existant culture, played by a street band, somewhat rough around the edges, that gradually works itself up into great rhapsodic fervor. And if I’m lucky, transcendence maybe.