Dedicated to Titus Underwood, Principal Oboe, Nashville Symphony Orchestra
Published by: Subito Music Publishing
The year 2020 has definitely been a very challenging year with many upheavals. During this time of the COVID-19 health crisis, wearing masks, and high racial tensions, I decided to compose four short solo woodwind works for flute, oboe, clarinet, and bassoon, which represent the core woodwind section in an orchestra. I was inspired to compose these short pieces after I first heard Igor Stravinsky's three short pieces for clarinet, which totals a little more than four minutes in duration. I thought that it would be nice to highlight and honor my African-American male colleagues in the orchestral music world. I wanted to celebrate the fact that they are the principal player in the section of their respective orchestras. The short pieces are as follows: Principal Brother No. 1 for flute solo for Demarre McGill, Principal Flute of the Seattle Symphony Orchestra, Principal Brother No. 2 for oboe solo for Titus Underwood, Principal Oboe of the Nashville Symphony Orchestra, Principal Brother No. 3 for clarinet solo for Anthony McGill, Principal Clarinet of the New York Philharmonic, and Principal Brother No. 4 for bassoon solo for Bryan Young, Principal Bassoon of the Baltimore Chamber Orchestra. These works all begin with notes that are representative of their name; D for Demarre, B for Titus (ti in solfège starting on C), A for Anthony, and Bb for Bryan. There is also a rhythmic figure in the opening measures of each piece, which represent the utterance of their names. All four of these works are rhapsodic in nature with elements of improvisation.
- James Lee III