Program Notes for Dark Star and Strife for Trumpet and Piano

Many of my generation were lost to the Vietnam war: some perished in battle; others simply lost their way, never to return to the America that nurtured them. All of the casualties did not carry a rifle or wear a uniform, but all became the casualties of the corruption of their dreams.

Back in 1980 I had hoped to write a fitting memorial to my fallen comrades: soldier and protester, hero and civil transgressor alike; somehow, not enough time had passed and I merely hinted at my goal in the end of the "Aria" movement of my 1982 Sonata for Violoncello and Piano. The last seventeen bars of that movement form the basis of this piece. The jazz middle section of Dark Star would later form the coda of the slow movement of my Columbus Concerto for organ and winds (1992), a kind of mournful American ghost in that piece.
I have always thought of the trumpet as a military instrument. To me it is the likely appropriate vehicle for a memorial to a whole generation that fell from grace.

Paul Reale, November, 2001, revised March, 2006 in preparation for CD recording.