Concerto for solo tuba and wind ensemble
Heavy Weather seeks to describe two powerful meteorlogical phenomena that can cause much damage and discomfort to humans - a heat wave and a supercell. Rather than simply describing how one may be affected by a first-hand with one of these weather events, Heavy Weather depicts the actual natural processes involved.
The first movement, “Heat Wave,” describes a high pressure system that slowly builds over a large area of the countryside. As the high pressure strengthens, warm air is trapped close to ground level. As the high pressure system stalls, the mass of warm air builds and the temperature on the ground soars to unbearable extremes.
Whereas a heat wave is a result of an overly stable atmosphere, a supercell is a product of a highly unstable atmosphere. When a cold dry air mass collides with a warm moist air mass, supercell thunderstorms can form. Compared to a normal thunderstorm, a supercell is much more severe and longer-lived. As the thunderheads build darker and higher, an upwardly-rotating column of air, called the updraft, forms. The updraft is responsible for the formation of hail as well as one of nature’s most terrifying weather events, the tornado. As the storm grows more and more powerful and destructive, it becomes clear that, while humans can control many things in this world, the weather remains out of our grasp. The piece ends as it began as the storm dissipates. Tenuous stability returns to the atmosphere.