program notes by composition > B > Bayou Breakdown

Bayou Breakdown

Brant Karrick

Bayou Breakdown was composed in 2003 and dedicated to the director of bands at Louisiana State University. The initial idea was to compose a fugue for concert band blending elements of American bluegrass with a sort of Bach meets Grainger sound. Breakdown refers to a lively, sometimes noisy, and highly energetic American country dance.

This fun and whimsical new work starts with a four-part fugue scored for woodwinds. A brief transition gives way to a second statement of the fugue with brass colors. Another transition introduces a folk song-like lyrical theme. A brief transition takes the piece to the most dissonant music evoking a poorly played waltz. The first tune tries to reappear but gets swept away in descending chromatic chords. After a complete stop the initial fugue returns with various solos. The piece ends with large flurry of polyphony from the full band.

Brant Karrick (b.1960) is Director of Bands at Northern Kentucky University. He received music degrees from the University of Louisville and Western Kentucky University, and earned his doctorate in music at Louisiana State University. He is also a freelance composer and musician.

Last updated on March 25, 2016 by Palatine Concert Band