Top of the Mountain

Top of the Mountain (2009) for trumpet and two percussion players is commissioned by John Holt for his faculty recital at University of North Texas. It consists of seven sections (A-B-A’-D-E-F-G), each of which has its own unique character. The formal division is articulated by textural, timbral, and rhythmic contrast; however, musical coherence is derived primarily from such conventional procedures as motivic development. One of the primary concepts in the first section is the gradual ascent of the pitch center from the lowest note A of the trumpet part (below the middle C) to the highest pitch possible, which recalls George Crumb’s An idyll for the Misbegotten for flute and percussion (Images III, 1986). This same developmental concept applies to the third, sixth, and seventh sections as well. The second section, a fugal passage, provides a flavor of “Neo-baroque” through the use of independent unfolding melodic lines. The fourth section, the longest in the entire work, is characterized by a steady beat with high-hat, shaker, and bass-drum that creates a dance form with various meter changes and imitative canonic figures. Additionally, the fifth section includes highly colorful and evocative traditions: the exotic timbre and primitive flavor are produced by a gong with a rubber mallet, a Chinese cymbal glissando on the timpani, and bowed crotales.

CD release (2010) on Cristal Records Inc.

Instrumentation: Trumpet and Two Percussion Players

Duration:15 min

Premiere: John Holt Faculty Recital
John Holt, trumpet
Christopher Deane, percussion 1
Mark Ford, percussion 2
Concert Hall, UNT Denton, TX, USA on March 13, 2009