Program Notes by Chris Brubeck, 2010
Travels in Time for Three was created to feature the unique talents of three remarkable young musicians at the top of their game. The piece is tailor-made for the versatile members of Time for Three, and embraces many musical genres, from jazz to country, funk to classical, and even some gospel! The common thread throughout the work’s movements and various styles is the main theme, which reappears in many guises. This theme came to me as I was riding a train to Philadelphia in 2009 to work with the group. Zach (former and founding member of TF3), Nick, Canaan, and I had several jam sessions that I recorded, giving me a sense of what musical directions TF3 wanted to explore. The ‘train’ theme stuck, and you will hear it in the first movement in its original, jazzy style before it is transformed through a series of musical adventures, appearing finally in a very Baroque presentation. Moving quickly from the 17th to the 21st century, the piece conveys the feeling that the musicians are ‘musical time travelers,’ hence the title Travels in Time for Three.
In the last movement, Clouseau’s Mardi Gras, I made the note Misterioso burlesco in the score, as the movement takes the audience on a humorous ride from a sneaky, Mancini-influenced opening, to a Cajun fiddle / Mardi Gras funk parade, to a gospel-funk-country groove in 7/4 time, complete with blazing fiddles on top, that matches the intensity of rock ’n’ roll. After individual cadenzas, the entire piece climaxes into a fast 7/8 version of the original theme. This serves as a vehicle to propel the celebratory music to an exciting conclusion.
A consortium of orchestras formed the commissioning group that presented Travels in Time for Three in its premiere season. I am grateful for the leadership and vision of maestros Keith Lockhart and Randall Fleischer, who had the idea that I would be the right composer to create a piece for this trio of young virtuosos.