Moon Shards (2007) for alto saxophone, horn, trumpet, percussion, and piano was commissioned by and is
dedicated to Andrew Pelletier. The commission was funded in part by the MidAmerican Center for Contemporary
Music at the College of Musical Arts of Bowling Green State University and the Meir Rimon Commissioning
Assistance Program of the International Horn Society.
In the years past, I have composed a variety of works with "sun" titles (Autumn Sun Canticle, Sun Tracing, Sun Ride,
Turning Sunwards, Sun Figment, Wild Sunrises, As to the Sun, and Sunburst). This is, however, my first work with a
"moon" title, and it is very much a "darker cousin" to the brighter sun works. In the same way that I have looked at
the sun as a sign of inspiration in joyous times, the moon has become one in the midst of more difficult and darker
The first movement, Ritornelli, opens with fast and aggressive music for saxophone, marimba, and piano. This
returns between every section of the movement, but each time its "orchestration" is changed. Between the
ritornelli, episodes break the full quintet down into trios and quartets and are variations of the ritornello material.
The second movement, Ceremonial, begins with an unaccompanied horn solo. The focal point of the movement is
the piano´s music, which takes on a nocturnal, ceremonial character. The ensemble gradually colors and emerges to
join in the piano´s ceremony before leaving it all alone at the end.
The third movement, Song in Sorrow, forms a brief coda. It is a lament &ndash, though not a typical, introverted one. The
opening music of the movement employs fast, whispering passages in the saxophone, marimba, and piano, while
the horn and trumpet state a stentorian figure that is the basis of the movement´s music. The brief internal episodes
are both fragmented and lyric &ndash, music of anger, mourning, and sadness, but without the energy for rage. Though
they try and develop into more extended gestures, the music finally fragments to a stop. The opening music
returns, and the stentorian calls repeat, until there is nothing more to say.