The King's Entourage

Concert Band (4:31) - February 1997


This piece is the first I've written with a large amount of thematic content. There was theme to Chimerical Fanfare, but nothing very specific beyond "a dream." It can be interpreted on three different levels. You might wish to listen to the entire piece before continuing to read.

On the most basic level, the piece depicts the journey of a King, escorted by his army and retainers. The first theme represents mounted soldiers, the second represents footmen, and the final them is the King and his men.

At the second level, which most people so far have missed, this journey is actually the King's funeral procession. The footmen in the center are pallbearers and the flute solo is the final glimpse of the King in his coffin before he is taken away, or buried.

On the deepest level, the piece reflects a conflict between the King and his nemesis. The King is represented by the dotted rhythym throughout, and the antagonistic figure is the two-sixteenth-and-eighths figure played in three places by the trumpet: When the quiet march is first played (the King's pallbearers), The grandiose section between the trumpet and flute solo (appearing at the height of the King's majesty), and at the very end (living on after the death of the King). Below is the interpretation of my trumpet teacher, Allen Bachelder:

    Interpretation, in relation to the title: I hear it as a recollection of some past, now defeated, nobility - not unlike that depicted by Shelley's "Ozymandias". A postmortem, if you will. Perhaps the King's Entourage contained the seeds of it's own destruction...

    There is danger in carrying extramusical interpretations too far, but I can imagine the opening 68 bars as prologue; the "Quiet March" with the poignant trumpet solo depicts the reign itself; the flute solo at 110 warns of some sort of conflict arising at about bar 116 leading to demise at the end. Such an interpretation does explain the shape of the piece. The unifying dotted rhythms throughout are a conventional symbol of regality whereas other rhythmic and melodic shapes suggest multiple facets of a particular regal character. It is interesting to note that the dotted rhythm is last heard at 128 - it's disappearance appears to support my "demise" theory.

For my conducting final exam, I arranged this song for a rather eclectic group: 2 flutes, violin, 2 clarinets, 2 alto saxes, 4 trumpets, 1 horn, 2 trombones, 2 tubas, piano, and percussion. Tempos were adjusted so I could rehearse the entire piece in 15 minutes.

I orchestrated the second entrance for alto saxes and violin on a whim, but it actually resulted in a very unique and interesting sound. I'll have to remember it if I ever go into movie soundtracks.

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