A ‘Chubasco’ is a magical weather event often associated with South and Central America. These summer storms occur as well during the rainy or ‘monsoon’ season in Tucson and Southern Arizona in the United States. The Tucson Valley is situated in the north of the Sonoran Desert. It is also surrounded by mountain ranges that are in the southern most region of the Rockies. It is here that the rainy season or ‘monsoons’ take place from late June until about the end of September.
It is this thrilling natural event that I attempt to capture in my Introduction and Chubasco. the ‘dry heat’ and the intense light of early summer seem to create a shimmering effect across the valley. In time, wisps of clouds sneak above the Catalina and Rincon Mountain ranges. I try to depict this in the ‘Introduction’ section of the work. Here the strings play light, rhythmic figures which accompany the lyrical lines in the winds. In a few days, large billowing clouds skirt the sky and distant thunder softly and ominously sounds in the distance. The skies darken; the wind picks up and the chubasco is upon us.
In the ‘Chubasco’ section of the work, turbulent ostinatos churn in the winds and brass, above which the violins lyrically soar. The orchestral textures intensify and become denser culminating with a boisterous timpani solo.
As the microburst passes and the storm clouds move on, a dazzling array of light appears in the sky. Following the timpani solo, a solitary trumpet sounds accompanied by colorful washes of harmony in the winds brass and strings which aim to depict this natural phenomenon. What remains are a few rolls on the timpani as thunder from the now dista!nt storm softly sounds and fades away.
A perusal score of the work is available on request. There is a link below of the premiere recording of the piece. It is performed here by the Mission Chamber Orchestra conducted by Emily Ray.