Instrumentation: Bass trombone and piano
Difficulty: Graduate/Professional, University
The Dragon’s Tail (2010) would at a glance appear to represent the fire-breathing mythical beast that shares the same name. However, this piece is a musical interpretation of something else entirely—driving on Highway US-129, running through the Appalachian Mountains across the Tennessee-North Carolina border. An 11-mile stretch of this highway has been dubbed by motorcycle enthusiasts “The Dragon’s Tail,” due to its more than 300 switchback and horseshoe curves through the mountains. The drive itself is both breathtaking for its beauty and nerve-wrecking for its danger, claiming the lives of dozens over the past decades.
The Dragon’s Tail is six minutes of nonstop speed with almost as many meter changes as there are curves on the highway that shares its name. This opening piece is meant to be a wild ride!