Islands in the Sky (2012) is a three-movement work for Euphonium Quartet. Written in June 2012, the title is a metaphor of mountains, suggesting that they’re so tall they’re islands in the sky. The sublime Euphony Euphonium Quartet who the work was commissioned by were successful in gaining a place in the International Tuba & Euphonium Conference Ensemble Competition, held in Linz, Austria; a country particularly noted for its fair share of the Alps which proved the basis of the work.
The first movement is a fierce journey on a glacier’s edge – the drama of the music and constant rhythmic drive throughout suggests danger and the unknown. The second movement is calm and reflective, inspired by a beautiful Alpine Sunset, slowly going down between mountains and pine trees. Finally, the third movement takes the listener on a journey up the mountain to the peak, upon which a grandioso section is heard with the soaring melody that has been building up throughout the movement played in its entirety.