Between the Rooms - Concerto for Trumpet and Orchestra- 2007
(S.Trumpet / 2222 / 4231 / Tmp / 2-4 Perc / Hrp / Strings)
Composed for the Kitchener/Waterloo Symphony Orchestra - funded by the Ontario Arts Council
Premiere: May 29, 2007, Centre in the Square, Kitchener/Ontario, Kitchener-Waterloo Symphony Orchestra, Edwin Outwater - Conductor, Larry Larson - Trumpet
Part 1 - Allegro - Moderato
Part 2 - Adagio - Andante
Part 3 - Vivace
Movements are played without interruption.
After the experience of composing my saxophone concerto, Babbitt, I realized that the concerto format was an ideal platform for a composer. The music can be focused around a soloist, much like how the protagonist functions in a novel. The orchestra acts as a counterpart, establishing colourful contexts and create vivid interactions, even conflicts with the soloist. With this in mind, the trumpet makes for an ideal solo instrument, with its brilliant tone, wide dynamic range and expressive variety, able to carry well against the power of the orchestra.
I Died for Beauty
by Emily Dickenson
I died for beauty, but was scarce
Adjusted in the tomb,
When one who died for truth was lain
In an adjoining room.
He questioned softly why I failed?
"For beauty," I replied.
"And I for truth, the two are one;
We brethren are, he said.
And so, as kinsmen met a night,
We talked between the rooms.
Until the moss had reached our lips,
And covered up our names.
Vancouver Symphony Orchestra’s Musically Speaking is a beautiful jazz-inspired program
Lloyd Dykk, The Straight, February 8, 2010
"But one piece was not slight at all—Scott Good’s wordless setting of the short poem, I Died for Beauty but was Scarce by the reclusive Emily Dickinson, which describes two beings, one of them who died for beauty and the other for truth. We two are one, says the latter, and they converse between the rooms until moss covers their lips.
This trenchant lyric, titled Between the Rooms, is voiced by a trumpet, one of the most vocal of instruments, featuring soloist Larry Knopp in a superb performance.
Far from a short toss-off, Good’s piece is a 25-minute concerto and for me, it was the main event. It is a beautiful work, the trumpet writing fresh and elegiac, with an orchestral surround that in the slow movement is muted with a sense of breathless, listening attention. Good has really caught the feeling of this exquisite poem, and it’s not the first time I’ve been impressed by this promising new composer-in-residence, too many of whose predecessors seemed overly concerned with the cosmos and answered with music that often left an effect of space junk.
Good is a reminder that there are unplumbable mysteries much closer to earth. How can we imagine the beyond when terrestrial conditions are strange enough?"
For The Record
Stepha Preece, Web edition, May 30, 2007
"The hot ticket Saturday night was at the Centre in the Square, with the KitchenerWaterloo Symphony topping its Signature Series season with Beethoven's iconic Ninth, as well as a world premiere trumpet concerto.
Performing to a packed house (a not-so-common event in recent years) the programming choice couldn't have been better - successfully attracting a broad age demographic, as well as sending listeners into summer with a resounding sense of why both traditional, and newly-composed, orchestral music can be stunningly hip.
The evening started with Between the Rooms, Concerto for Trumpet and Orchestra by Scott Good - currently Composer-in-Residence at the Vancouver Symphony. Good performed trombone for the KWS in previous seasons and it was in that role he came to appreciate the immense talent of local trumpeter Larry Larson, the artist for which the piece was commissioned.
Contemporary compositions with both substance and personality can be few-and-far-between, though Good struck the sweet spot with this piece, simultaneously challenging and appealing.
The three movement work traversed a wide expressive range, starting with a bold cabaret-like harmonic blast from the brass, spinning out punctuated blue notes, muted trumpet and frenetic pizzicato. A syncopated strings and brass bass line set up a broad foundation for solo trumpet to pierce through with a contrasting melody, jostling for a wonderful sense of tension and development. At other times it was a swirling, spinning suspension of strings, harp or winds, mesmerizing texture for Larson's masterfully-rendered trumpet solo (an irresistible voice for which KWS fans are eternally grateful).
There were lovely, unrushed, touching moments of stillness and repose, as well as bustling, cacophonous traffic jams, each in good measure and balance. His use of the pentatonic scale through the middle section gave an exotic flavour, and the finale - a riotous, percussive bacchanal (maracas, marimba and bongos) brought the house down.
Having slogged through a difficult period of transition and challenge for the KWS, this evening felt like a watershed of sorts. A youthfully-enthusiastic and talented conductor tackling a cornerstone of the repertoire, a personal tribute to one of KWS's finest musicians (representing others of his ilk), a grand collection of choristers and musicians, and a capacity Centre crowd to appreciate it. Freude!"
Brian Walker (ed. Luis Engelke), International Trumpet Guild Journal, March edition, 2014
"Scott Good, Composer-in-Residence for the Vancouver Symphony, is a name that might not be familiar to those in the trumpet community. Formerly a trombonist with the Kitchener/Waterloo Symphony, his impressive compositional ability is showcased in the three-movement, 25-minute powerhouse concerto. Between the Rooms was composed for the Kitchener/Waterloo Symphony and trumpeter Larry Larson.
Often, new compositions face a significant challenge of engaging both the artists and audience, while maintaining substance and depth. Between the Rooms completes all tasks admirable and creates another exciting opportunity for trumpet players to be featured in front of an orchestra. Emily Dickenson's poem "I Died for beauty but was Scarce" provided the inspiration for the concerto. Dickenson's subject matter is well communicated with Good's pentatonic melodies and unusual tonal textures. Various moods from tranquility to complete discord are found within the work, and the trumpet soloist is specifically highlighted with multiple extended cadenzas throughout the composition. As with any piece of this length written for trumpet, there are several obstacles present for the soloist. Endurance is of some concern in this work, but moments of rest are interspersed effectively throughout the three movements. The technical demands are also of some concern, even with the idiomatic writing for the instrument. The composer notes that the orchestral parts are written with accessibility for most professional regional orchestras.
The required range for the solo trumpet part is from a low a to high d-flat; however, the high d-flat only occurs once, and the vast majority of the part lies within the middle range (c'-g''). Most figures are scale-based, and awkward skips for the soloist are avoided. Although the solo part was designed with Larry Larson in mind, advanced college-level and professional trumpeters will find the part accessible but challenging. This reviewer is convinced that trumpeters have not heard the last of Scott Good, and encourages readers to become familiar with this wonderful composition for solo trumpet and orchestra. (Brian Walker, assistant professor of trumpet, Tarleton State University, Stephenville, TX)"
At the onset of composing, I asked Larry if there were any possible non-musical points of influence he would be interested in using for this work. He provided me with the poem "I died for beauty, but was scarce" by Emily Dickinson - a poem that he was not only moved by, but had also worked with musically in the past. These evocative words affected me immediately upon reading them. They became a catalyst for the composing of the slow movement in the concerto, sandwiched "between the rooms" so to speak of the outer fast movements.