Training Wheels

Composed 2007

instrumentation Viola and Cello

Premiered March 2008

Program Notes

This piece began with trains.  The cartoon trains that always run away and end up causing mayhem.  The two trains on a collision from high school math.  The toy train set my grandfather had at his house.  But really, it started with the idea of two trains racing.  The piece is in roughly two parts, one for each train.  They begin at rest, the engine roars to life, each train begins to move, slowly but surely picking up speed, passing through endless, non-descript terrain, when the engineer suddenly loses control on a downhill and the two trains rush toward some kind of inevitable disaster that gets cut short by the film breaking and a blank screen for a few moments before the lights come up and everyone leaves the theatre.

Or something like that.  I’ve never been a big believer in program music, even if I am a fan of Looney Tunes.  So take my fanciful tale above with a grain of salt and the realization that, except for the initial image of racing trains, all of it was made up after the ink had settled on the completed score.  But the damage has already been done, and you’ll be thinking of trains plummeting to their doom regardless of what I say.  So enjoy the eminent catastrophe your brain now tells you you’re about to hear, even if there is no catastrophe to be heard.

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