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Someone To Watch Over Me: Dedicated to Healthcare Workers, by Alessi, Yamamoto, Wendel, Morgenstern
Shadow Play, for Bass Trombone and Pre-Recorded Track

Shadow Play, for Bass Trombone and Pre-Recorded Track

Shadow Play, by Gregory Youtz Available for purchase in PDF or Hard Copy at: Recorded by David Binder of Prestige Recording Services, Detroit, MI, April 2021 In Shadow Play, the Bass Trombone is placed in a meditative context, quietly drifting in thought surrounded with bells in a kind of dream state. As the bells become deeper, it follows them down into lower registers. The bells become more dark, less pitch-oriented, more metallic and the trombone becomes more chromatic and agitated. The title is a loose reference to Indonesian shadow puppet theater and sounds of gamelan instruments can be heard in the middle sections of the piece. I like the idea of the shadow puppet theater allowing the viewer to see both the shadow side (all black and white) as well as the colorful puppetmaster's side. The shadow play thus seems to ask the question: which side of the theater (and thus life) is real? The pitches of the aggregate are divided into three pitch sets: the first is based on the higher partials of the trombone’s natural Bb series: Ab, Bb, C, D, F; the second is a set based on E or C#: G, B, C#, E, F#; The final two pitches form a tritone: A-Eb. The melody line alternates back and forth between these pitch sets and the bells freely explore these with the trombone. The marimba sometimes imitates the trombone- the closet real interplay between it and the bells. Later in the piece, these three sets begin to overlap with each other, creating more dissonant collections and more chromatic melodies. In the end, the original Bb-based pitch set re-establishes itself for closure. Gregory Youtz has served as Professor of Music at PLU since 1984. His compositions include works for orchestra, band, choir, voice and chamber ensembles, and three operas including the 1991 Songs from the Cedar House about Native American-White interaction in the Puget Sound region, 2016’s Fiery Jade-Cai Yan, (libretto by Zhang Er) based upon the life of a historical Han Dynasty Chinese woman and 2021’s Tacoma Method (libretto by Zhang Er) about the expulsion of the Chinese from Tacoma in 1885. A member of the Pacific Lutheran University Chinese Studies Program for many years, Youtz has done research on Chinese music, instruments, and the use of Chinese musical techniques applied to western instruments, and has a list of compositions based upon Chinese ideas, from poetry and painting to history and philosophy. Other pieces stem from his research into music from Trinidad and Tobago and Indonesia.
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