Anita Brown



Disarming The Tempest

NEW MUSIC from Composer, Anita Brown I have written this piece as a result of having been selected for the Jazz Composers Orchestra Institute's (JCOI) Intensive workshop (Part 1) at UCLA this past August, and a subsequent invitation to make application for their 2013 EarShot Readings workshop (Part 2). Disarming The Tempest is a new work for symphony orchestra, marking my first attempt at composing art music expressly for this genre, as opposed to the jazz- and tune-oriented works I have been writing. It will be read for the first time by The Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra in Buffalo, NY on April 23rd & 24th. The reading sessions are FREE and open to the public: Also visit & Below is the description of Disarming The Tempest. For my non-musician friends, "Programmatic Music" is music that intends to tell a specific story. (Update: Completed on February 4, 2013) My deepest gratitude to all the Marines who shared personal thoughts with me as I forged this work. ~AB This is the PR info I provided upon request, describing Disarming The Tempest. (The content of this text is copyright protected; All Rights Reserved, 2013) * * * * Disarming The Tempest is a symphonic poem illuminating the plight of returning combat veterans suffering from PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder). In AB form, its disjointed A section represents the tempest within, while the lyrical B section offers the inner peace they long for. Its exposition reveals four short melodic motives derived from four spoken phrases, three of which are among a civilian’s concept of conversation-starters with returning combat veterans. In this setting these phrases induce a tempest within, rather than help the veteran infantryman feel welcomed and at ease, as they can prompt guilt, pain and indignation. With programmatic intent, one can envision a combat veteran at a social gathering upon his return to civilian life, feeling alienated from that world. Assigned pitches render each phrase a motif. As the phrases are passed around the orchestra in the exposition, they are simultaneously assigned as intoned speech to additional players, reflecting an intrusive repetition of thoughts sometimes associated with PTSD. Wavering between consonance and biting dissonance reflects the veteran’s conflicted inner dialogue while appearing engaged in the civilian’s social world. The three, increasingly offensive, civilian phrases are So good to see you!, We’re so glad you made it home alive! and Did you kill anyone? The fourth phrase used is the humble veteran’s response, Thank you. Thank you very much. In its development, the manipulation and treatment of these phrases illustrate the veteran’s shift in focus, resulting in a percussive portrayal of his being transported back to combat. Following a bout with his personal memories, the transition to the B section offers increasing tranquility and progress toward greater control over his inner dialogue; a goal of many who suffer with this torment. Progress toward this goal is fraught with memories, depicted intermittently, as the piece concludes with a journey to peaceful closure, thus Disarming The Tempest. The intention of this work is to promote awareness that each of us can allow our brave warriors the reemergence of personal inner peace and optimism by honoring their service and sacrifice without invading their privacy. This composition offers each of them the acknowledgement and peace I wish for them. I am grateful to the United States Infantry Marines who allowed me a window into their world as part of my research. “…It is foolish and invasive to ask a combat soldier if he ever killed anyone…asking him that question is like asking him to reveal intimate secrets about himself…” --Grunts, by John C. McManus “Losing control of my mind had never been a part of my plans.” --Soft Spots, by Clint VanWinkle "[Explosions leave] a sense of disillusion for that split second. The world stops. Then hell kisses you in the mouth again." --Brandon Weatherford, 3rd Battalion 5th Marines, United States Marine Corps