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Commissioned by the

Colorado Mesa University Wind Symphony

Calvin Hofer, conductor,

with the generous support of Karen Combs.




One of the most challenging tasks when composing or orchestrating for a film are chase scenes. Fast tempos, fast notes, horrid scene cuts and some chases can go on for what seems like forever making the notes and pages stack up. Some people groan when they see a music cue list from the music editor full of chase scenes. Some get excited. I am the latter. I LOVE scoring chase scenes. It is always a challenge to keep the excitement up and some scene cutscan really push your imagination. The scene is rolling along, a really nice car chase, gun play, pedestrian near misses. SCENE CUT. Guard shack, securityguard eating a ham sandwich while watching a basketball game. SCENE CUT. A disheveled older

man in a basement making a sophisticated bomb.SCENE CUT. Back to the car chase and 2 and half more minutes of seat griping stunts. SCENE CUT.

A romantic love scene, candle light, the love interest.SCENE CUT. You get the idea.I have always wanted to compose a chase scene piece without the video footage and Vortex is it.

The piece is seven minutes full of scene cuts, intrigue, the love interest, car chases and of course the hero triumphs in the end.

The best part is every instrument is involved. Nobody escapes the Vortex!




A chase scene is like a finale. It has to be full of excitement which means extra attention must be paid to all dynamics and articulations. In Vortex, short not only means VERY short, in many instances it is short with a BITE. Horn lines are soaring and loud with edge. The saxophone section feature is raw and exciting, not pretty and classical. The percussion drives us constantly, like a metronome. They must be in sync with each other at ALL TIMES. When the timpani has its solo bombastic moments they need to be exactly that, bombastic.

Piano=SOFT MP=MEDIUM MF=pushing the volume a little Forte=loud with a touch of edge FF=Loud with more EDGE So forte is loud and of course FF is louder but its really the EDGE and attitude more than the actual volume change that is the di4erence.

The Piano part is optional.

You must have EITHER a contra alto clarinet in Eb, or a Contra Bass Clarinet in Bb OR a Contrabassoon. You have to have at least one of those instruments. If you have all of them, thats even better. You need a Timpanist plus 6 more percussionists. Those 6 are kept busy so if you have 7 or 8, it will make it easier.

The first trumpet part splits to a higher octave and only 1 player is needed on those "lead trumpet" passages. If you dont have a lead trumpet player who can play loud in the upper range, buy one because you have to have it to play Vortex. The most important thing is to have fun. Every part in Vortex has some good things to play and work on.

Fast tempos, exciting bass lines keep the piece pushing ever forward. Enjoy the ride!!! Audiences can hear musicians having fun. Music is meant to be emotional. Vortex = fun, excitement and a good time had by all. It's one of the reasons we became musicians to begin with; to enjoy making music

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