A few months back I mentioned in this post that an upcoming recital would include the premiere of a new work for Electric Guitar, Horn and Piano by Dr. Mel Mobley, Associate Professor of Theory and Composition at the University of Louisiana at Monroe. Unfortunately, because of some scheduling difficulties we ended up not performing the piece on the March recital, but we were able to premiere it later in the semester on a new music concert. The piece is titled Covering, and was lots of fun to put together and perform. Though challenging (especially rhythmically), Covering works very well as a small chamber piece. The composer was kind enough to grant me permission to share the recording of the premiere on this site, and he also provided the following brief description of the piece.
I can say the idea was to explore the diversity of the instruments – their history as well as timbre qualities. I arrived at the main idea of an awkward “popish” groove that incorporated 7/8 measures as a way for all the instruments to meet in the middle, so to speak. The other sections are meant to violently oppose this A section in a lot of ways and give each instrument a chance to at least touch on some of its traditional qualities and techniques. The sections are fashioned in an arch form ABCBA with the C section being the most disjunct but at the same time using elements from both of the other sections.
Speaking as a brass player I would also add that the horn writing in Covering is idiomatic and rewarding to play. The piece is full of interesting rhythmic and melodic ideas, which are often shared and passed among the three players. Although it is not an “easy” piece, the pop/rock elements and unusual combination of instruments make it both appealing and accessible for general audiences. Performing new compositions is very exciting for me, and we are quite fortunate to have an active (and talented!) composer on our faculty. While it is of course important to study and perform the standards in our repertoire, I think it is equally important to seek out and promote new works whenever possible. If performers of the past had been content to only play the works of their predecessors, imagine how little music would be available to us today. At any rate, I hope you enjoy the recording – the performers are: Richard Seiler, piano; Daniel Sumner, guitar; James Boldin, horn; Mel Mobley,conductor.