Commissioned by Elevate Ensemble
2 October 2016, Hume Concert Hall, San Francisco Conservatory of Music, San Francisco, CA, U.S.A
Kensey Chellis and Lucas Jensen, Elevate Ensemble
I wrote Puppies!!! for Elevate Ensemble’s “Stravinsky: Reconstructed” program. The task was tocreate a short duet for trombone and bass trombone, showcasing the characteristics that make thetrombone unique. Of course, I turned to glissandi (sliding pitches), the sine qua non of the trombone.But I also didn’t want the piece to be a cliché, as so many trombone pieces are glissando-heavy.So I started playing around with a figure that alternates small, quick glissandi between each trombone,back and forth. That worked for me, taking the music in directions that seemed fresh andinteresting. Also, somehow this kind of sliding, rambling interplay reminded me of the way puppiesplay together, tumbling on top of each other over and over. My wife loves dogs, but we can’t havepets right now, and whenever she sees a cute puppy she’s so happy. So I decided to name the piecePuppies!!! as a sort of dedication to her.