Towards the Western Horizon

Towards the Western Horizon was commissioned for the 2009 ATSSB All-State Band by the Association of Texas Small School Bands, Rob Toups, President. They gave the premiere on February 14th 2009 at the annual convention of the Texas Music Educators Association in San Antonio, Texas.

The idea for the piece was sparked when the composer noticed the postal address of the ATSSB is Morse Street in Houston, Texas. It brought to mind the almost unbelievable feat, finally successfully achieved in 1866 after five failed attempts, of laying a telegraph cable across the Atlantic from western Ireland to eastern Newfoundland which eventually allowed Morse code telegraph messages to cross from the United Kingdom to the United States and back in minutes. One of the earliest transmissions was a message of transatlantic accord from Queen Victoria to President Buchanan.

This technical triumph seemed to be a good theme for a transatlantic musical message in the form of this piece. Furthermore, the initials “ATSSB” are spelled out in Morse code by the rhythm of the melody in bar 126.

The piece starts with a depiction of the wide Atlantic horizon and the themes in the following Allegro vivo have a specifically Irish character in honour of the starting point of the whole adventure.