Program Note for Screamers

Composed in 1980 for the UCLA Wind Ensemble, Screamers summons up a world of dizzying high wire acts and circus parades. It is as much a mockery as a celebration of bygone bandstand recreations. While the work contains no actual complete musical quotations, passing and obvious references are made to rhythmic gestures in various Sousa marches, Hamel's Crystal Pearls, Fucik's Entry of the Gladiators, and one of the greatest circus marches, J. C. Heed's Storm and Sunshine. Fugal passages and chorales are sprinkled throughout to lend a kind of academic legitimacy to the proceedings. Screamers came into being as a result of a National Endowment for the Arts grant, and it was honored by the College Band Director's National association in 1983. The work is in the catalog of Carl Fischer Inc.

About ten years later, in the traditon of nineteenth-century composers, I made a piano four-hands version of the piece which contains about 90% of the original, and a few additional surprises. I wrote both versions of these pieces to show that contemporary music can be fun without being simple minded.