Many Hearts One Pulse (2017)
for solo horn and wind ensemble
In 2015 Dave Schreier and the University of Central Florida commissioned me to write a wind ensemble piece featuring horn virtuoso Juan Berrios, a UCF alumnus. I spent months considering ideas for a piece, but nothing seemed to fit.
On June 12, 2016, at the Pulse Night Club in Orlando a terrorist killed 49 people, injuring many more, and shattering the lives of their families and loved ones. Having lived and studied in Orlando for four years, the horror of that event was all the more real to me. As a composer I felt a strong urge to record and commemorate these events the only way I knew how.
Many Hearts One Pulse is an elegy for those lost in the Pulse tragedy. The title refers to the huge, spontaneous upwelling of love, support and solidarity for the victims and their families, especially from the Orlando community, but also from across the nation. It is my hope that this piece will reflect both these ideas: the intensity of grief and the power of empathy.
The composition begins in the minor mode with the solo horn intoning a mournful, almost chant-like passage to the eerie accompaniment of metallic percussion. Underpinning this texture, one piano note is repeated 49 times, reminiscent of the tolling of a bell. Intense tutti passages give way to increasingly jagged, passionate outbursts from the horn. Eventually the music shifts to the relative major key and a more positive feel. Gradual increases in tempo and dynamics lead to a final, brief climax before falling away. The music ends as it began, with 49 notes, this time on the vibraphone.
Premiered by Dave Schreier, Juan Berrios and the University of Central Florida Concert Band on February 19, 2017.