My goals for Four Ethereal Planes have slightly changed, but the artistic intent for the piece largely remains the same. This concerto will feel a little more standard in its overall form than I previously thought, but in a way, I think the piece is much better in that regard. There are still plenty of opportunities for all of the players to put their own interpretation on the material that they're given, especially for all of the improvisation that occurs.
Take the second movement of this piece, for example - "The Dance That Never Was." Put simply, it's a ballad. Artistically speaking, it's a ballad for the moments in life that never happened - the risks not taken, the opportunities missed, and so on. A mixture of both longing and sadness, the emotion of it all is what really drives the core ideas of this movement.
Take a listen to a rough demo of the movement above; all improvisations were performed by me for the sake of this demo.
Of note, there are a few things I'm exploring with this ballad. As with the previous movement, much of this pertains to color. "The Dance That Never Was" features the soloist using both piano and keyboard synthesizer (aka, a lovely Fender Rhodes sound that works so well with this warmer style). Kevin Day will have two cadenzas, both with basic written directions that I've given him:
The moments of improv that he's given will largely be on synth; there are some moments of ad lib. that he has for piano, but not much -
The main ballad is primarily featured in solo keys before it's passed off to the band. It's relatively light in that sense - bass and drums (with brushes for this movement) join the keys, but not much else:
When the ballad returns, it returns with piano/bass/drums but the feeling is entirely different in context. Joining them is solo trombone primarily engaging in call-and-response with the keys, all of which adding to a sense of contemplative and sorrowful reflection -
This ballad returns in a jarring sense, as if a memory of the previous ideas is suddenly recalled out of nowhere yet fully by choice. Or, to put it another way, as if it lingers unexpectedly and can't be forgotten.
The third and fourth movements, meanwhile, will be much more upbeat in their own way. The third movement is its own quirky and mainly improvisatory tune, while the fourth becomes a wild conclusion through its own means. Something that moves, yet something out of control.