Special Ops (2012)

reed quintet [ob., cl., b.cl., bsn., asx.]

Special Ops depicts the various circumstances that members of a Marine Task Force may find themselves in while deployed overseas. The first movement, Recon (short for reconnaissance), evokes imagery of an exotic locale, with fleeting gestures and nebulous textures representing the group's concealment and discreet movements.

F.U.B.A.R., the title of the second movement, is a colloquial acronym commonly used to describe a situation that has escalated wildly out of control. In this movement, brisk tempos and chaotic ostinati convey an extreme sense of urgency. The music builds to a point of triumph, where the soldiers believe they've overcome their predicament; however, this is quickly seen to be a delusion. The climax is reached when the clarinetist leaves the stage, signifying the death of a team member.

The final movement, Loss, serves as a tribute to soldiers who have given their lives in service of their country. The remaining voices progress through stages of shock, anguish and reminiscence, and the clarinetist provides brief offstage material symbolizing the memory of the fallen team member.

duration: c. 16'30"

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