Twister (orchestral version)
Flute 1, 2
Oboe 1, 2
B-flat Clarinet 1, 2
F Horn 1, 2 F
Horn 3, 4
C Trumpet 1, 2
Tenor Trombone 1, 2
Timpani (4), one cymbal to place on 30-32" Timpano
Percussion 1: Small Tom, Tenor Drum, Hand Crank Siren. Beaters: wire brushes, felt mallets, wooden sticks.
Percussion 2: Bamboo Chimes, Glass Chimes, Key Tree, Nut Shell Rattle, Suspended Cymbal, Xylophone. All chimes should be of indeterminate pitch. Beaters: yarn mallets, soft rubber mallets.
Percussion 3: Rain Stick, Thundersheet (mounted, if possible), Bass Drum, Tambourine (placed on head of Bass Drum for periods of the piece). Beaters: bass drum beaters.
Twister was first commissioned in 2017 by Durward Ensemble of Cedar Rapids, Iowa. I was tremendously honored to be subsequently commissioned by my dear friend and colleague Dr. Michelle Perrin Blair (who conducted the premiere concerts with Durward and the recording for their CD release) and the Coe College Symphony Orchestra to create this orchestral version. I taught at Coe College for five years and I have a special place in my heart for the unique, multi-talented student body and the accomplished, generous faculty and staff of the Coe Music Department. Writing this version was a particular delight because it allowed me to exploit the immense color palate of the orchestra. Listeners will hear fluttering motives in the winds, haunting melodies in the horns and reeds, bombastic fanfares in the trumpets and low brass, intricate layers of percussive sounds, and the warmth and vibrancy of the full string section.
My impetus for Twister was to write a piece in celebration of the natural world of the American heartland. Originally a west-coast girl, I spent nine years living in the Midwest and became closely acquainted with its big skies, rolling hills, and extreme weather. I was inspired by the raw power and terrifying beauty of tornadoes. Twister delves into the tornado as a shadowy force to be reckoned with, a display of the awesome might and supremacy of nature. The piece opens with a variety of sound effect noises that evoke gathering winds, rain, hail, and thunder. At other moments, boisterous, asymmetrical melodies represent the strength of the tornado while flurries of activity evoke frenzied winds. These build to cacophonous clusters of chords that represent the raging storm and the sound of emergency sirens. The uproar cuts out abruptly in the middle of the piece, as if the listener is protected for a moment in the eye of the storm, but not for long…