go to the garden (B-flat or C trumpet and fixed media)
Available for purchase April 1, 2023. go to the garden is a modular piece filled with options: ossia notes and staves as needed, a (brief!) cell notation section so you can choose your own adventure, and three fixed media tracks to accommodate performers who wish to perform at 3′, 6’10”, and 9′ lengths. With increasing difficulty from one section to the next, it is ideal for developing performers, folks recovering from injury, and anyone who enjoys a long piece but sometimes just wants to play the easy part that sounds pretty. (Perusal score available!)
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Calm, quiet spaces can be effective and popular sites of introspection, reflection, and emotional processing, yet access to such spaces—plus the time and energy required to travel to them—remains elusive for many. The ongoing (at time of writing) COVID-19 pandemic keeps even more of us from calming spaces we previously could access while requiring an isolation and distance from others that feels anything but restful. Some of us have created new spaces for that vulnerability and processing, often online, but barriers to access still remain, and virtually everyone has been saddled with grief, anxiety, and burnout we are unable to fully process.
Rather than attempt a true-to-life reflection of this in go to the garden, I’ve crafted a narrator (voiced by the impeccable Tess Galbiati) who’s spent years upon years building a lush, overflowing space in their mind. The six- and nine-minute versions of the work examine what happens after that world experiences a deep, radical disturbance—it’s constructed metaphorically, but listeners and performers may find connections to trauma processing and recovery that map onto many life-altering events, not just a pandemic. Much as performers are encouraged to engage with the material at their own pace, I hope to leave space for audiences to grant themselves time to heal or rest no matter the specifics of their situations.
For the performer, I hope go to the garden serves as a reminder that doing what you can when you can in your performance journey is no less worthy of recognition than doing things “perfectly” (however you and the forces in your life define that) all the time.
Notes to the performer (excerpt):
go to the garden is designed to be modular specifically because none of us are in the exact same position on any given day. We may be injured, having a bad playing day, dealing with external complications that make it difficult to commit our best to the horn, grieving, taking joy in things beyond music, and so much else. To deny life in all its fullness is to reduce the performer to almost a machine—an organism that is expected to put out the exact same product every time with no variance from moment to moment or day to day. That doesn’t seem very fair to me.
As such, go to the garden is filled with options: ossia notes and staves as needed, a (brief!) cell notation section so you can choose your own adventure, and three fixed media tracks to accommodate performers who wish to perform at 3′, 6’10”, and 9′ lengths. When combined with the increasing difficulty of the piece from part to part, this can be a useful pedagogical tool as well as an easy way to build some flexibility into your programming. If you don’t have high range control you feel good about that day, don’t force yourself to play Part III! If you just want a short piece to round out a concert, just play Part I! The world, as they say, is your oyster, and I want that to be as fulfilling (and non-painful) an experience as possible.
Parts for B-flat and C trumpet are provided. Feel free to play it on either, though I find it sits a hair better on B-flat.
go to the garden asks performers to sing just a little. Whenever you see sung material, please realize this in whatever octave is most convenient for you. These moments will appear as follows:
- Diamond noteheads should be sung on an exhale through the horn. You should be able to do this without removing your embouchure from the mouthpiece, though you may need to experiment with vowel placement to find the parameters that work best for you.
- Square noteheads should be sung ingressively, by inhaling through the horn. Yes, sometimes you’ll breathe in that delightful valve oil aroma (sorry). Ingressive singing in this work should not sound as stereotypically “pretty” or even remotely refined; outlining the pitch content is important, but don’t be hard on yourself if it’s not as precise as you’d like. This will take some practice if you’re new to it, but it’s very fun (and another way to make your instrument sound like something is catastrophically wrong).
- If you are non-speaking and are unable to realize the sung portions, you can play them with or without a mute (your choice which one!) or explore other options. Want to involve a vocalist? Cool! Want to experiment with adding some silence? Excellent! I look forward to the results of your artistic exploration.
Throughout the piece, double bar lines appear with fermatas over them. This indicates that you’ve reached the end of that section and should wait until the next listed timecode to begin the next passage. If there’s no barline fermata, continue onward with no waiting, even if a timecode is given.
In various parts of the score, I have included supplementary expression text that can at times be rather vague. I like invoking ideas or feelings and letting my performers respond and react! Your interpretation of “stepping out into the light” or “like a forgotten echo” may be different every time. That continual journey of discovery and re-discovery is an important part of the piece.
Some narration cues have been provided to help you sync up with the fixed media. Don’t stress if you’re a little off. (I miscounted two entire sections of this thing while writing it.)
I have provided a series of ossia staves and optional notes throughout the work. Performers can navigate these however they find appropriate; play the options that work best for you in the moment! I do not view lower notes or simpler rhythms as compromises or failures, and each alternative was written so performers can keep the spirit of the gesture no matter which version they play. I love all of the options I’ve written, so I’ll be a big fan of any you choose. Please don’t feel the need to strain beyond what’s good for you to realize an option. This piece is about being nice to yourself, dang it! (notes continue in the score)
A note to teachers:
If you’re working with a student on go to the garden, bear in mind that I do not expect or want performers to realize the piece the same way every time. You may find that the process of engaging with this work is sometimes at odds with how many of us have been taught to practice and perform. That is intentional, and I hope it provides an opportunity for you to interrogate your own processes as well. This piece should only be taught with patience in mind; to demand perfection in its performance is to directly contradict its very purpose.
Check out the go to the garden perusal score. (This one is for B-flat, but I promise you get both parts when you purchase.)
go to the garden will be available for purchase on April 1, 2023. Join my mailing list to get updates on preorder information and other upcoming works!
Many thanks to the consortium members who made this possible:
Adrian Holton | Alex Wilson | Anne McNamara | Ashley Killam | Ben Bruflat | Benjamin Hay | Brianne Borden | Bryan Appleby-Wineberg, Rowan University | Caitlin Krueger | Carrie Blosser | Conlan Lang | Connor Johnson | Daniel D’Addio | Doug Reneau | Dr. John Marchiando | Dr. Ryan Gardner | Erica Binder | Jason Bergman | Jean Laurenz | Jennifer Oliverio | Jeremiah Kersting | Jon Ailabouni | Kate Amrine | Keith Benjamin | Kelly Watkins | Mary Thornton | Matt and Jena Vangjel | Matthew Onstad | Robert White, Western Michigan University | Sophie Mejia
Listen to go to the garden as presented by Ashley Killam for the world premiere:
Got one I’m missing? Let me know!
- 2023 (tentative, pending approval), John Marchiando, ITG New Works
- 10/2022 (upcoming), Ashley Killam, University of Northern Iowa
- Fall 2022 (upcoming), Brianne Borden, SUNY Potsdam
- 5/7/2022, Ashley Killam, Eris’ Twitch celebration for the go to the garden consortium (virtual, world premiere)
- 4/9/2022, John Marchiando, 1st Annual Volcano Vista High School Band Solo Competition (guest soloist, preview performance)