A Bard's Tale
Gather Round: A Bard's Tale was commissioned by my good friend Rafael Napoles in 2012 after the passing of his father-in-law. To gather inspiration for the piece, I asked him all about Norberto, his father-in-law, to find out what made him special. There were a two things that Ralph mentioned that I wanted to use as the basis for this piece. The first was that he was a Cuban immigrant who came to the US by boat. The other element of Norberto was that he loved to tell stories. Everyone remembers him as the life of the party who would have everyone gather round as he told tales.
For this piece, I chose to introduce a rocking motive at the beginning to signify the rocking boat as he traveled to the US to begin his new life. Throughout the piece, you could hear this rocking motive at various times under other solos or colors. I also created a theme for Norberto's move to the US which is heard in the first trumpet at measure 3 and returns near the end of the piece at letter I. The other characteristic of Norberto in the piece is the representation of him telling tales. This is why almost all melodic statements are portrayed as solo instruments. They represent the story-teller as others listen. When the music shifts to his ascent to heaven, Letter I, you hear more instruments playing his motive representing others telling his tales and keeping his memory alive.