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A WILD CHRISTMAS NIGHTCAP (2020) 

By Josh Trentadue

 

For Concert Band

Grade 6

 

LISTEN

 
 

ABOUT
THE
MUSIC

Every year, the Christmas season usually leaves me feeling one of two ways. I'm either reflecting on the cozy, nostalgic, blissful, and sentimental feelings of home, hearth, and family traditions, or I'm groaning at the overbearing, technological nuisances of explicit commercialism that seems to capitalize on the impending season of presents and lights earlier and earlier with each passing year.


The carols and songs associated with this holiday season conjure up more of the former feeling; the first appearances of this music on radio stations, however, seems to capitalize on the latter - the continued commercialization of Christmas through your favorite airwaves, seemingly occurring earlier and earlier with each passing year. With all of this in mind, what happens when one wreaks havoc on these contradictory feelings about the Christmas season? This is what I sought to answer with this piece - a prog-rock/heavy-metal, zany, and adventurous fantasy for wind ensemble weaving several famous, public-domain Christmas carols into the fray. A Wild Christmas Nightcap is the pinnacle result of this concept - a somewhat nightmare-fuelled, sometimes caffeine-induced (insert literally any Christmas holiday coffee joke here), wild ride through a frozen landscape with uncertain twists and turns at every corner.


The musicians are given a shockingly quick tempo indicating "Like a Sleigh Ride Through a Frozen Inferno", finding themselves caught between percussive bursts of energy and flurries of manic runs. This is matched with seemingly serene moments of tranquility where the more nostalgic and sentimental, innocent feelings of the Christmas holidays are able to make an appearance, if only for a brief moment. Several Christmas carols even fight each other throughout this madcap work, moving from mixed meters and clashing rhythms to purely epic, and bombastic, moments of utter, quasi-religious majesty.


So, picture going on this wild ride in the middle of a chaotic night while witnessing a sheer battle between commercialized holiday spirit and those wonderful, nostalgic memories of hearth and home. Serve with eggnog... maybe with something else added to it.