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Glimmers of Hope (2005)
for trumpet and organ
Commissioned and premiered by Richard Watson
Program Notes by Brian McCreath – taken from the liner notes of Richard Watson’s CD: “Hope”
On the other end of the time spectrum, the most recently composed piece on the CD is first, in “Glimmers of Hope,” by James Stephenson III (b. 1969). Commissioned by Watson specifically for this project, “Glimmers” confronts the central issue straight away: that hope is necessary because of (to return to Kennedy) tribulation. Stephenson, a composer and trumpeter of wide- ranging musical interests, gathered the initial musical seeds for “Glimmers” from an iconic jazz work, John Coltrane’s “A Love Supreme.” Using the same basic intervallic structures that underpin that work, “Glimmers” begins with an opening fanfare that establishes an optimistic vision. Stephenson then injects tension, sprinkling the harmonies with notes that deny the impulse to relax. After a fractured dialogue between the instruments, a short meditation gradually transforms into an ending of ascendant affirmation.