Remembering “Night Walk”

In yesterday’s post, I reminisced about being invited to compose and perform a solo piece with Ulysses James’ Washington Metropolitan Philharmonic. I shared the piano reduction of the first movement in that post–a slow flugelhorn piece that evokes the coming of night–“Night Fall.” I forgot to mention that these recordings are available on the Ars Laureate label–on Spotify, iTunes and Amazon.

In this post I’d like to continue remembering this performance from 2014 by sharing the second movement called “Night Walk,” which opens with a short and frightening motive that frames the repetitive and initially-relaxed bass line, over which I play long phrases, often interrupted by unpredictable outbursts. The bass line becomes more and more unstable until rhythmic and melodic chaos breaks out, representing a run from terror. After the framing motive returns, relative peace is restored to the end of the movement. Structurally, this movement traces the root structure of one chorus plus the interlude of Gillespie’s “Night in Tunisia.” In general, each chord change in the original jazz standard is spun out over ten bars in my piece. Melodically, much of the melodic material is drawn from the bridge of Gillespie’s composition, while incorporating Bach’s “Gute Nacht, o Wesen” from time to time. The movement finishes with the overlapping melodic sweeps that lead directly into the third movement.

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