Duration: 6 minutes (grade 6)
Solicited by James Colonna and the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire Wind Symphony
While a Fulbright fellow in Madrid, Spain, I spent some time at the Real Conservatorio Superior de Música in Madrid studying music by Spanish composers of the Twentieth century. I recall a work I studied by Manuel de Falla that began with brass and timpani, in a fanfare reminiscent of the kind played at the beginning of a bullfight, as the impassioned animal bounds into the bullring. That fanfare is where Corrida begins.
While the work, at least initially, draws upon the music of bullfighting, it also embodies my admiration of the orchestral overtures of Hector Berlioz. Like his overtures, Corrida is set in a large ternary form with a middle slow section surrounded by fast ones. Each section is also comprised of its own modified ternary--each section respectively featuring its own middle section flanked by two contrasting outer sections.
Ultimately, the score evokes a severely physical, even violent, athletic contest--much like the one fought bravely by the bull. Ebullient and energetic, it also possesses an instrospection that may momentarily call into question the fervor (or fever!) of its enthusiasm for bloodsport.
Concert Premiere: May 3, 2009 by the UW-Eau Claire Wind Ensemble, James Colonna conducting.