Though written for brass, Uskok Rhapsody sounds unlike any brass music with which most ears are familiar. To begin with, its instrumentation is unconventional: three brass quintets rather than the standard ensemble. Ristic describes the work as “a catalogue of psycho-geographic memories” that he collected while visiting the Uskok region of Montenegro, where his family name originated. Defining these memories as “recollections of traditional music, sound effects depicting the echoes in mountain terrain and the acoustic ‘emptiness’ of very large spaces,” Ristic uses colour, rhythm, and texture to evoke them in musical form. The work contains sections representing thunderstorms, wind, streams, and even a transcription of an “insect orchestra.” Though not a literal pastiche of sounds from nature, Uskok Rhapsody does suggest a natural space, inviting the listener to imagine a taking leisurely stroll amid the wonders of the world around us.
This work was premiered at the 'MassBrass' concert presented by Soundstreams on October 30, 2011 at Koerner Hall in Toronto, Canada and performed by the Stockholm Chamber Brass (Sweden), Simon Bolivar Brass Quintet (Venezuela) and True North Brass (Canada).
Instrumentation: for 6 trumpets, 3 french horns, 3 trombones, 3 tubas