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for piccolo trumpet and organ
Premiered by Jim Stephenson in Naples, Florida, 1995
Program Notes by Jim Stephenson
Early on in my composing career, I decided to write a piece for an upcoming trumpet/organ recital I was to do in my then hometown of Naples, FL. Apparently I felt the urge to create a piece that had a silly story to it (it must have been late at night!), and thus this mini-tone poem was born. The piece stands alone just fine, but for those who are curious, the original story went something like this:
Once upon a time (all stories have to start that way, right?), there was a toy (piccolo trumpet). This toy really wanted to have a life of his own, and so he invented a melody. But his mean, mean master (the organ) didn’t want his toy to have such a life, and so he put his foot down (literally). He used all of his resources to thwart the little toy melody. He changed harmonies, added wrong notes, and even took over the melody until finally, after much frustration, he yelled “Stop!” at the top of his lungs at his frightened little toy. “You, my toy, shall never live!” he declared, in his most authoritative tone.
The toy, gathering his wits about him, decided to try another angle to trick his master. He put on his best airs, showing off a little, and proceeded to try to outfox his master by lulling him to sleep with a beautiful tune. This worked for a while, and just when it appeared the master was almost asleep, he awoke with a start. Realizing that he was almost fooled by his lowly little toy, he became very angry, and chased it around and around, until finally, unsuccessful, he got very, very tired. The toy laughed at his master as he watched him slowly sink to the ground in utter exhaustion. Then, seeing his opportunity before him, he quickly tied his master up in ropes so that he could not move and triumphantly played his original melody. Finally the master gave in and joined in on the melody, which is jubilantly played together until the end. (But don’t be fooled: the master manages to sneak in his final word before all was said and done!)
A word of warning: All of this happens in just 2 1⁄2 minutes, so you must have a vivid and quick imagination!