Alongside familiar works by Grieg and Respighi, the Stockton Symphony will perform a newly commissioned piece called "Fanfare for a Remarkable Friend" during its final concert of the Classics season this Saturday.
The composer is Chris Brubeck. The friend is Peter Jaffe. And the occasion is Jaffe's 20-year anniversary as conductor and artistic director of the Stockton Symphony.
"He's not just the conductor of the local orchestra, but he is sort of the heart and soul and a big, powerplant energy source for so much of the arts in [the Stockton] community,"explained Brubeck by phone from Memphis, where he is appearing with the Memphis Symphony, preventing him from attending the Stockton concert.
Brubeck's father Dave, the jazz legend and Pacific alum, introduced him to Jaffe, leading to a string of fruitful collaborations over the past decade and a half, including Mark Twain's World, Music Is The Power and Ansel Adams: America.
In composing his tribute to Jaffe, Brubeck employed a device favored by his father where he would take the syllables of a name, Pe-ter-Jaf-fe, and turn them into a musical phrase.
"Also there's certain chords that I know that Peter really really loves and I made sure that they were in there. And I knew he loved fugues so I said I'll see if I can really get a fugue involved in that thing,"described Brubeck of his process.
As for capturing Jaffe's personality...
"Well, you know, he's so far from being a snob. I definitely have some sections in there that are kind of funk, which is an odd thing following something that is sort of a classical fugue and somehow I'm told I get away with combining all of these elements that really shouldn't work together... we'll see if it works or not!"
Although Brubeck won't be able to attend the concert in Stockton, he says he does have a notion of how the performance will go, considering how well he knows Peter Jaffe. He says energy won't be a problem.
The Stockton Symphony performs Fanfare for a Remarkable Friend by Chris Brubeck on Saturday, April 9, 2016 at 6 p.m. in a program that also features Tchaikovsky: Marche slave; Respighi: Pines of Rome; and Grieg: Piano Concerto in A minor featuring soloist Jon Nakamatsu.