First-foot (2023) - for euphonium, tuba, and piano
**Winner of the 2023 North Texas I.T.E.A. Composition Competition**
In Scottish, Northern English, and Manx folklore, the First-foot is the first person to enter one’s household on New Year’s Day and is seen as a bringer of good fortune for the coming year. First-foot was inspired by this tradition which is still practiced in Scotland, the Isle of Man, and various parts of Northern England. I appropriately began composing this piece on New Year’s Day of 2023 after stumbling across the Wikipedia page on First-footing through one of my favorite Instagram accounts, Depths of Wikipedia. I immediately knew that this work should be optimistic and exciting, reflective of my own feelings beginning the new year. Written in an ABCA form, First-foot begins with a grooving, celebratory piano motive in the right hand before being joined by an even groovier, syncopated bass line melody in the left hand. These two initial statements are the musical foundation for the entire work. The tuba and euphonium soon enter with interlocking melodic material, with each instrument taking turns having the lead and emerging from the chaotic texture. A reflective and quieter B section follows, as if one is reminiscing on the highs and lows of the previous year. An anxious, metrically unstable C section follows, with almost every measure switching meter. This segment represents the widely-known feeling of anxiety when realizing there might be financial, personal, work related, or other issues still unresolved from the previous year. However, the piece ends with a recapitulation of the optimistic A section (with slight alterations and changes), which represents setting New Year’s resolutions and improving oneself.
Duration: Approx. 6 minutes 30 seconds
Format: PDF piano score and parts (euphonium, tuba)
Copyright © 2023 Ian Lester