Trumpet and Piano (4:47) - March 1998
This song was written after Mvt I, II, IV of The Hero and before Mvt III. I needed a break from that thematic material and wrote Scarabus for a friend of mine. One of the goals I had was to make a clear high point in the song; something which Mvt II of the Hero didn't seem to mark as well.
The piece opens with a melancholy trumpet call followed by a piano interlude which brings the piece into a major key. After the introductory sequence, the mood is content, with the trumpet resting atop piano pedals. Gradually, the piano pulls away from the pedal, with a little more insistence until it falls into a minor key.
The tempo speeds up and the mood shifts to fierce as trumpet plays a high proclamatory statement filled with runs and backed by descending chords. This rhythmic section builds up through 4-bar sequences to the climax, where the piece shifts from a 3-feel to a 4-feel. At the highest point of the climax, the trumpet sustains a high concert Bb, while the piano drops away from underneath. From here, the piano falls through several chords and eventually lands in G major (the piece originally started in Bb minor). Muted now, the trumpet ends with a slow and hopeful chorale style melody as the piano moves through open fifths to settle on a G chord.
Originally, I had planned to perform the first edition on a Convocation, but as the result of some sort of strange misunderstanding, my accompanist never showed up twice in a row. Rather than make it an even three strikes, I just canceled the performance and spent the summer re-writing it. The Second Edition was performed on Convocation at Virginia Tech in September 1999.