Shells was written as part of the Hartt school of music’s Feldman Residency with the Yale Brass Trio. The piece itself was inspired by a trip to Hawaii I recently had taken where I found a new hobby and love for conch shells. The opening note of the work is symbolic of a conch shell being blown, and the entire piece is designed as a slow, calm, reflective work similar to my attitude while in Hawaii.
The piece itself is constructed as a series of instrumental interludes with interceding chorales and is cast in a quasi ach form. Each opening interlude (technically a postlude) begins with a solo horn. Each interlude grows in instrumentation to a full trio and then recedes back to a solo trumpet. The chorales however begin more complex (both harmonically and texturally) and over the course simplify to the last chorale which is quite diatonic and homophonic.