During my undergraduate career at Penn State University, my euphonium professor Velvet Brown noticed my excitement for composing. She charged me to write a piece for our ensemble to perform at the 2012 International Tuba Euphonium Conference in Linz, Austria. What I produced was Dobbs, a 4 movement work inspired by my grandfather. Dobbs was his nickname, an abbreviated version of his name Robert. He inspired me to be a musician, so it felt appropriate that the first real piece I would write would be in his memory.
The four movements are:
The first movement begins with a light driving rhythm that gives way to a short chorale. The light rhythms pick up again and gradually become more intense as the movement progresses ending with a “scream” from the first euphoniums.
The second movement is a chorale based on two hymns, “Nearer My God to Thee” and “It is Well with my Soul”. Over the course of the movement, the harmonies being consonant, become more dissonant, and come back to consonance by the end.
The third movement is a complex rhythmic dance. Taking the definition of Scherzo literally, the movement takes the ostinato and makes jokes with it moving between 4/4, 3/4, 7/8, and 7/16.
The fourth movement takes themes from the other movements and combines them into one flurry of sound, hurdling towards an explosive ending.
Dobbs was premiered at Penn State University in University Park, PA on April 2, 2012. The ensemble then performed Dobbs at the 2012 International Tuba Euphonium Conference in Linz, Austria that summer.