Couplet For A Desert Summer (1980)
for Chamber Orchestra
First Movement - Dawn


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COUPLET FOR A DESERT SUMMER is one of a few works I wrote at this time that were scored from rather direct transcriptions of free improvisations at the piano. (The other works are CONCERTO FOR DOUBLE BASS (1977), BRASS QUINTET (1979), IMPROVISATORY CONCERT (1980), and TWO IMPROMPTUS (1980).

Since the Phoenix Symphony does not work in the summer, I have done much of my writing in the summer.  Summers are HOT in Phoenix, but the summers are when everything is happening in the desert - usually at dawn, dusk, and particularly at night.  The desert is not just scorpions, snakes, and man-eating spiders.  In fact, I recently learned that the Sonoran Desert was the second most diverse ecosystem on the planet, second only to the rain forest.  And it is the summer when everything is active, especially in the late summer when the monsoon rains come.  And I know because I have had a lot of time to watch!

I like to think of this piece as a collection of vignettes, held together by some common threads.  The second movement ends with a spectacular sunset that fades to black.  In fact, I considered calling the two movements Sunrise and Sunset.