01 Oct 2020

Ghost Light PodcastEpisode 5.2 – Composer Quinn Mason and Principal Trombone Mark Davidson discuss Changes/Transitions


Changes/Transitions’ is a commission written by Quinn Mason for Black Lives Matter. The composer sits down with Principal Trombone, Mark Davidson and the Ghost Light Podcast to discuss the origins of the piece and its place in the current social climate.

The emotional voice of the work, had an interesting evolution. As first envisioned, the piece was to be melodic and soulful. As the process developed, however, Mr. Mason drew upon a previous work for unaccompanied solo Viola to achieve a more introspective feel. After a pointalistic beginning and celebratory middle section, the energy subsides, leaving a final tonality that is rather unresolved. The effect results in the listener asking the question: what can we do now to get to where we have to be? In the midst of the final chord a cymbal scrape is heard, symbolizing a spark of an idea of what’s coming next. With that sound the composer seems to say that “we still have unfinished work to do…we have to work harder.”

Ideally, the piece would have been recorded live with images at the state capitol building mixed with images of the protests from around the country. Unfortunately, COVID-19 restrictions made that artistic desire impossible.

Although Changes/Transitions was written specifically to commemorate the Black Lives Matter movement, Mr. Mason felt the piece can also serve to be a reflective piece for any type of change or transition in our lives. “I wanted a piece that not only commemorated this subject, but could be used for other occasions as well.”