Desert Clouds

Desert Clouds for flute, violin, and marimba
Publisher: Gottry Publications (2009)
Composed: 2006
Duration: 8′
Difficulty: Medium-Difficult

Desert Clouds is a programmatic work inspired by the Arizona summer monsoon storms. The piece opens with the dry, scorching summer afternoon, covered only by the slightest wisps of clouds in the sky. A sixteenth-note marimba ostinato and simple melodic figure in the flute bring in the rolling clouds of early evening. Brief staccato ideas in the flute and pizzicato in the violin indicate the beginning drops of rain which become more aggressive with the addition of marimba and off-set rhythmic figures. As the piece shifts into 12/8, the storm begins. The marimba drives the rhythmic intensity of the piece as the violin and flute trade melodic fragments and rapid scale passages. Staccato and pizzicato ideas are gradually reincorporated as the storm calms into a light rain and the marimba sixteenth-note motive returns as the clouds begin to roll away. Soft downward octave leaps in the flute add a few more drops off the trees and houses. The marimba ostinato gradually slows to a calm, cool night with just a few wisps of clouds remaining.