While selecting music for my graduate wind conducting recital, my goal was to create a program that utilized a number of members from our ensemble. As I began the process, I found it challenging to involve the saxophones, low clarinets, and percussion. From what I discovered, chamber wind repertoire tends to overlook these instruments, so I wanted to write a piece of music that would explore the combination of these colors in a small ensemble setting.
Much of this piece remained unorchestrated for many years before I was able to find the instrumentation that suited the music appropriately. The beginning section was originally composed for orchestra with English horn playing the haunting opening melody. The driving middle section was intended for a full concert band, but I quickly abandoned the idea, as the piece seemed to call for a smaller, more agile group. It was not until the spring of 2018, when selecting repertoire for my recital, that I decided on the current instrumentation.
Embers in the Black depicts an eerie, dark, and desperate atmosphere based on the following text: “This place is familiar, but never safe. Surely, one more trip will do no harm. Yet as the blanket of night covers the land, two eyes emerge like embers from the black.”