This overture was commissioned by the Northern Virginia Community College in honour of Dr. Robert Petrella, founder and director of the Alexandria Band, 1977-2007. He directed the premiere in December of 2008.
‘The Audacity Of Hope’ was inspired by my reading of the book of the same name by then Senator Barack Obama. I found his vision appealing: a new political order founded on the resilience and positive energy of the human spirit.
This music is built around two strongly contrasted themes. The first could be described as energetic yet stoical in nature. It first appears in the form of a fugato by the four saxophones. The second theme gradually emerges from fragments throuhout the piece, finally being heard in its entirety as a trumpet solo in the closing minutes. I would characterise it as joyful but also assertive. All the ramaining material, including the up-surging opening figure in the clarinets, is derived from one or both of these themes. For much of the piece they are treated in a polarised manner – with hightly contrasted registers and textures. As they move closer together we realise that they are the two sides of the same coin.