The first main motive is this rhythmic identity that essentially becomes one of the more important cells of music throughout "Youthful Adventures". These irregular rhythmic patterns, combined with its richer harmonic content, is set to a larger and overarching meter. The use of meter in particular becomes important to the framework of this movement due to a few other elements later introduced.
In my last blog post, I mentioned that the role of the solo soprano saxophone would largely be that of a narrator telling a story. It's not telling any kind of specific stories in this piece, but rather describing the conceptual idea behind each of the movement titles. Here, the soprano sax finds a greater balance between two different approaches - the lyrical and the technical. Throughout the first main motive, the soprano sax introduces overarching melodic content that will be developed throughout the piece.
As the solo part becomes more intricately technical, a new rhythmic motor is introduced.
In general, it's the dichotomy of rhythm and melody that receives the greatest amount of attention throughout this movement. I'm seeking to find a balance between the overarching melodies and these rhythmic motives to suggest the spirit of adventure and flight, as well as the fun and excitement of undertaking such events. Every new journey is different - sometimes, they're thrilling in all of the right ways, and sometimes, unexpected occurrences can also happen.
This is especially why harmony becomes more and more important in this movement - it's the dichotomy, the opposite extremes of both good and bad memories that can be gained from these experiences that I'm most interested in exploring with the whole work. Harmony is the final key ingredient for the conceptual ideas Summertime Echoes explores.
Take these further examples, for instance. Harmony in this case can suggest something grand and epic - here, it's used as a transition to the next section of material:
Harmonic content that's much denser, however, can suggest something darker, and maybe even sinister, at play. Combined with the rhythmic motives developed up to this point, and a few other flourishes, this can create brief moments of pure chaos. Chaos? On a summer vacation? SAY IT ISN'T SO:
Finally, harmonic content with lighter amounts of material (lighter than the previous example, anyway) can suggest more of a sense of peace or tranquility:
One of the questions I've asked myself when writing this movement is how innocent can the piece allow itself to go before it becomes too much? As I mentioned earlier, finding a balance between these opposing concepts is the most important goal I have for completing Summertime Echoes. Too much of one side doesn't allow the work to be fully realized at its true potential. Too much of the other side can allow for the music itself to become underutilized. In either case, the concept becomes uninteresting and underdeveloped in my mind if this imbalance occurs.
Creating something purely romanticized and innocent out of this concept could possibly be easy to accomplish, but life isn't always like that. People grow and change over time based on their personal experiences and journeys, whether that happens over a summer vacation, a year, or a lifetime. Others come and go in one's life over time, or they stay for years, or they become lifelong companions. All of us experience good and bad memories in our lives - with this piece and its conceptual ideas, the music has to reflect that. And, it has to find that balance. If it can accomplish this effectively, than I think the heart of the music can be truly realized.
"Youthful Adventures" will end with a recap of its beginning of some kind - how it will exactly end is something I'm not sure about just yet, and maybe I won't know until it's written. From there, it'll be onward to the second movement, "Idyllic Chronicles." Funnily enough, I already have the ending of the second movement planned. A lingering memory that stays for a brief while longer, to be captured by an offstage player hidden from the audience. Not sure exactly what will be the instrument of choice here, as I'm looking for something that can conjure an ethereal or quasi-spiritual quality without being too present and without sounding too dark in color. Euphonium? Trumpet? Clarinet? Flute? Most likely one of these four.
We'll see what becomes of this choice later this summer.