Fanfare for Brass

For brass quintet 

fan·fare – noun; a short ceremonial tune or flourish played on brass instruments, typically to introduce something or someone important.

The inspiration for this piece came from seeing the score to several of Bil Smith’s works, which would call for the piece to be performed “backstage, before a concert.” The concept of a “pre-concert” piece was very interesting to me, and made me reconsider what a piece of music really consisted of.

Upon entering college, my new tuba instructor, Stephen Klein, gave me a sheet with a number of different warm up exercises on it. It wasn’t long until I had played the exercises enough to be able to perform them by memory, which I would often do as a method of warming up before performances. Often times, I would also run through a number of orchestral excerpts, which worked out certain aspects of my playing in the same way as the sheet with the exercises.

This piece is a commentary on the arbitrary distinction between “a warm up exercise” and a “piece of a music.” Numerous composers have written works titled “etude” which originated as a kind of exercise (“etude” literally translates to “study” in French) yet, no one questions the fact that these are, in fact, pieces of music in their own right. There are even a number of modern composers who have taken this idea and written pieces titled “etude” (which have some pedagogical aspect) and writing them to be performed in the concert hall.