Mock Trial is a work for wind ensemble. It is inspired by proceedings common to debates and courtroom sessions, where multiple arguments are presented, examined and cross-examined. As a parody, the work pokes fun at the rigid process of a trial, which breaks down into a series of arguments rather than following the expected orderly proceedings. The ensemble is split into nine groups, with the percussionists taking center stage and the other eight wind groups forming a semi-circle around them. The eight surrounding groups represent the debating parties, while the group in the center serves as the judge or mediator to regulate the interactions that occur. When chaos ensues, the center group intervenes with a hammering from the piano and bass drum, much like a judge's gavel. What is “on trial” in this piece is the tension between Western and Eastern musical values. For instance, in the beginning, one of the wind groups engages in a slow pseudo-jazz passage, which eventually gets drowned out by the brass players making Bronx cheer noises through their mouthpieces, signifying their utter distaste towards the idea. The gavel-like blow from the central group comes in and silences them. More Western ideas from other wind groups make their entry, but are repeatedly mocked by mouthpiece noises and other sorts of rude interventions from the groups around them. After a number of these instances, an unheralded mock Chinese idea from another wind group is heard. The other groups react by formulating their own versions. This chaotic buildup eventually accumulates until the percussion group hammers at them, calling for a brief recess. It becomes clear that the majority of the wind groups share a mutual dislike towards Western musical ideas and would rather lean towards Eastern tunes, an agreement confirmed at the climax, where all the groups engage in long-winded Eastern textures overlapping each other. This time, the percussionists play along with them until the end.
Table of Contents
Abstract -- Instrumentation -- Stage setup -- Music