for (oboe, Bb soprano saxophone / Eb alto saxophone, Bb clarinet, Bb bass clarinet, bassoon)
commissioned by the Paradise Winds
On May 25, 2012, the Dragon reusable spacecraft successfully docked with the International Space Station in orbit around earth, becoming the first commercially developed craft to ever complete a space mission. This event, while seemingly benign to the general public, definitely caught my attention and rekindled a mostly dormant interest I have in space travel and exploration.
The Paradise Winds and I had already been in conversations about me writing a reed quintet for them, a "new" type of standard chamber group that has a huge amount of traction in Europe and is growing in popularity (and practicality) throughout the United States. When the SpaceX Dragon completed its mission, the foundation for this piece had been laid, and I immediately contacted Joey Kluesener to solidify the concept.
Working within vague constructs, I wanted to build a piece of perspectives linked by a central point. This required finding a "central" point that can be observed from multiple locations, and what better to create that anchor than a comet. Thus, the idea is that a comet flying through space is observed from earth, an icy planet, and a fiery body before returning to earth.
As a whole, Journey on a Comet's Tail is more about the rekindled enthusiasm of a childhood fantasy.