Chorus of Light

for wind ensemble (2003)

Commissioned and Premiered by the University of Texas Wind Ensemble, December 2003
Duration 7:00
2 fl; 2 pic; 2 ob; eh; e-flat cl; 3 b-flat cl; b-flat bass cl; e-flat contrabass cl; 2 bn; cbn; 4 sx (satb); 4 b-flat tpt; 4 hn; 2 tbn; bass tbn; euphonium; tuba; str bass; tmp; 5 perc; hp; pno

Almost all of my recent projects involve the transformation of a theme or melody by placing it in a variety of what could be called “expressive contexts.” In other words, I write a melody and say to myself “what if it were played in a really bold, declamatory way?” or “what if it were played sweetly and serenely?” I try to imagine it within different textures, with different accompaniments, and played by different groups of instruments. Then I try to tell a musical story by placing these ideas within the context of a continuous musical narrative. After a while I begin to imagine the original theme as the “main character” of the story. I imagine this character exploring and being affected by different worlds and environments.

Chorus of Light begins with very high, delicate sounds, which eventually coalesce into a melody. I guess I had a vision of broken light—or many rays of light—when I wrote this opening. Throughout the piece, the opening melody assumes as many guises as I could think of. At times it is rich and lush, at others brutal and accented, at still others triumphant and brassy.

−Kevin Puts