Southern Comforts

Concerto for violin with orchestral winds and percussion
16 Minutes in length

This recording features The Casella Sinfonietta with Marjorie Bagley, soloist and Kevin Geraldi, conducting from their Equilibrium release, "Arts and Letters."
Full Score available HERE

Listen/Peruse

Program Note

Home. I think about it constantly. I haven’t spent more than a week in the south in more than seven years and yet, I know it will always be home. Sometimes it’s a phone call from mom or a card from my sister. Sometimes it’s the faint smell of a dogwood or an Atlanta Braves box score in the paper. No, I haven’t really been there in years but I think about it daily.

In Southern Comforts I am sharing some of the things that were important to me growing up in Atlanta or have become important in trying to remember home. Each movement is my representation of a memory or item from my childhood in the south.

Movement I. Faulkner

Often when I am feeling particularly nostalgic I like to pull out Sound and the Fury or As I Lay Dying. Faulkner’s descriptions of Mississippi and dysfunctional southern families always make me want to get on the first plane back home.

(There is no pause between movements 1 and 2.)

Movement II. Ritual: Football and The Lord

Sunday ritual: Breakfast, Sunday School, Service, Lunch, Football. (In the off-season: Golf)
From cradle to age 15, I can literally count on a single hand the number of times that I missed any part of this routine. And I tackled each part of the routine with equal seriousness. I still remember who Methuselah begot and every Sunday when the prelude begins, I can smell the carpet at the now defunct First Christian Church in Collage Park, GA. (And I can also tell you who started at every position for the 1980 Falcons.)

Movement III. Lamentation

Lamentation is a traditional form that began in early baroque opera and is characterized by a mourning text and the so called “descending tetra–chord” which is a falling chromatic line that is usually treated as an ostinato. Egypt Puckett died May 5, and we mourned her with equal parts emotion and, as is tradition, great restraint.

Movement IV. Mint Julep

I must admit this is a late affectation that I have developed. Before I left the south I had no idea what a mint julep was and didn’t give a hoot about some horse race over in Kentucky. But as time passes it seems that I look for reasons to feel nostalgic, so every year around May 1, I can be found breaking out the mint leaves and the whiskey.

Southern Comforts was completed in October 2008 for
a consortium of collegiate wind ensembles. The members of the consortium:

Arizona State University—Gary Hill
Baylor University—J. Eric Wilson
Boston College—Seb Bonaiuto
Georgia State University—Robert Ambrose
University of Iowa—Mark Heidel and Scott Conklin
University of Michigan—Michael Haithcock
University of North Carolina-Greensboro—John Locke and Kevin Geraldi
University of Tennessee—Gary Sousa
University of Texas-Arlington—Doug Stotter
Valdosta State University—Joe Brashier