An October Stroll
(Symphonic Etude No. 1)
Difficulty: Medium Advanced
Duration: approx. 4:18
Composed in 2014
Premiered on July 7, 2014, by the Smithtown Community Band
Symphonic Etude No 1: "An October Stroll" was written as a wedding gift for my wife, Cheryl. On October 8, 2011, we went to an arboretum on Long Island during Cheryl's favorite season. While we were walking around the grounds, a butterfly kept following us- a theme depicted in the upper woodwinds. After strolling through most of the park, I led her to our favorite spot; a small island, only accessible by a pedestrian bridge. With my heart racing a mile a minute, I got down on one knee and proposed to her. It was as if fireworks were shooting off! As we walked back to the car, that same butterfly joined us once more.
When writing this piece, I wanted to capture as many of my emotions as possible through music. At first, you can hear the warmth of the sun, followed by a conversation from the brass and woodwinds (symbolizing my heart and my mind). As we approach the island, you can feel the anticipation and hear the butterfly. All of a sudden, the entire ensemble plays one measure together (me down on one knee), answered by the growing suspense of several percussion instruments rolling. When she "says yes", the upper woodwinds flourish in a whirlwind. Wedding bells can be heard in the distance from the chimes, as the clarinets take over the “butterfly" theme. Finally, the brass enters with a majestic fanfare version of the original theme.
This piece was premiered by the Smithtown Community Band on July 7, 2014. I had the privilege of conducting the first public performance with Cheryl playing co-principal flute.
From the Publisher:
Written in homage to one unforgettable afternoon, this symphonic poem is a true masterpiece of delicate writing, combining warm harmonies with uplifting woodwind textures to celebrate the beauty of life, nature, and love!"
Bb Clarinet 1-3
Bb Trumpet 1-3
Mallet Percussion: Bells, Chimes
Percussion 1: Snare Drum, Bass Drum
Percussion 2: Suspended Cymbal
Percussion 3: Crash Cymbals