3ɟutures for Trumpet and Orchestra, though not explicitly programmatic, depicts three climate crisis scenarios. The first movement, "ɟuture/pending," is a future based on our current trajectory, where the planet experiences the collapse of our ecosystems, mass extinction, and, eventually, the fall of human
3ɟutures for Trumpet and Orchestra, though not explicitly programmatic, depicts three climate crisis scenarios. The first movement, "ɟuture/pending," is a future based on our current trajectory, where the planet experiences the collapse of our ecosystems, mass extinction, and, eventually, the fall of human civilization. It starts with a warning call sounded by the trumpet in the pedal register, followed by dissonant harmonies and an ominous melody that sound like dark clouds of calamity slowly rolling across the planet. Portents of catastrophe devolve into a destabilized 7/8 meter with unusual 10-measure phrases; dissonant chords, synthetic scales, and rhythmic chaos portray the panic of starvation, drought, war, and natural disasters brought on by runaway climate change. An emergency siren call from the trumpet ends the panic, and the survivors play a lament for the earth. The trumpet tolls a dissonant death knell as the strings and marimba fade into oblivion
The second movement, "ɟuture_lost," is an imagined future had we acted on climate change sooner. In essence, it paints a picture of a green utopia. The melodies and harmonies are simple and clear; the cyclical rhythm, soaring melodies, and minimalist approach to the movement give a sense a floating and tranquility. It is the only movement that follows conventional major tonality, providing a moment of comfort and familiarity in the middle of the piece. However, there is always a bittersweet undercurrent of dissonance as this is a future we can never have.
"ɟuture.possible," the third and final movement, is a call to action with high-energy rhythmic drive and heroic melodies. Its modal harmonies, which avoid decisively settling on either major or minor keys, illustrate that neither is all hope lost, nor is anything assured. The melodies tend toward the pentatonic scale, which is the most universal pitch set, just as climate change is a global problem. The peak of the piece, played on the piccolo trumpet, sets up the expectation for a heroic major chord, but it is thwarted at the last minute by a deceptive minor cadence. However, moments later, the trumpet returns once again, saving the orchestra from the brink of disaster and resolving to the longed-for major resolution. The cadenza recalls the warning sounded at the beginning of the piece, this time with more urgency; then there is one more melancholy strain, reminding us of the catastrophic loss that is at stake with climate change, before returning to the call-to-action theme to bring the piece to its rousing conclusion. It ends bombastically on an unsettled chord, symbolic of the unfinished work we have to do to save the environment and stop the climate crisis.