when the clouds break

  • Brass quintet (2 trumpets, horn, trombone, tuba)
  • Duration: ~3 minutes
  • Composed in 2020
  • Scroll down for recordings!

Imagine staring up at a sky that is bright and sunny, but full of layers of big clouds. As the clouds shift and move overhead, the sunlight dances around the edges of the clouds and teases the release of its warmth. When the clouds finally break, the sun pours through the sky for just a brief and glorious moment before being hidden again.

This experience is reflected musically in the harmonic tension and syncopated rhythms throughout this piece. The concept for when the clouds break came to me while improvising using three simple chords: G, D, and C, in a I-V-IV progression. I wondered if I could build a short piece around these chords, incorporating colourful suspensions and added tones throughout, only giving the pure form of each chord later in the piece as a long-awaited resolution (this moment occurs at rehearsal letter E). As I played around with these ideas, I was reminded of the moments of tension and release found both in nature and in the human experience. 

This piece was released in 2020, when the COVID-19 global pandemic caused some pretty serious cloud cover over us all. My hope is to provide a brief moment of metaphorical sunshine to anyone who interacts with this piece. 

Please let me know about any upcoming performances and/or recordings that include this work! Thank you for bringing it to life.