Chris Lamb (b. 1989) is an award-winning, American-born composer who has lived in various locales around the United States and the world (which you can read about further on his wonderful website). His compositions include several works for band, a handful of orchestral pieces, a wealth of chamber music, and a three-act opera. 2014’s Crypto-Atlas was written on a commission from Andy Pease (yes, that’s me) and the Arizona State University Concert Band for their Wet Ink concert, meant to feature new compositions for band. Asked for a grade 3 work using extended techniques, Lamb incorporated aleatory, hisses and tongue-clicks, and instrumental air sounds into the piece, making for a truly unique yet accessible sound world. He provides the following program note:
Across the United States mysterious beasts are sighted every year. From a Nessie-like creatures in the Chesapeake Bay and Lake Powell, AZ to a Giant Killer Octopus in Oklahoma and a Winged Alligator-Snake in Washington State, these beasts have enraptured our land and captured our imagination. The question of “what lies beneath that body of water” haunts us and the unexplained phenomena that can only be attributed to the presence of such mythical creatures.
These wondrous beasts enhance our country’s rich history. The answer the unanswerable and inspire awe in believers and skeptics alike. They are America’s mythology, supernatural, and tall-tales all wrapped up into a legend that will live for years to come.
Below is the world premiere performance, with ASU Concert Band under my baton on April 22, 2014. I encourage you to read along in the perusal score that Lamb provides! Note that it starts VERY softly – give it a minute or so to get going.