Although this work is clearly the descendant of a long history of antiphonal brass pieces, it has little in common with Gabrieli. First, rather than positioning themselves into two or three antiphonal groups, the performers are isolated both spatially and musically. The work begins and ends with long solo by the principal trumpet. Rather like the sorcerer’s apprentice, the soloist whips the other players into an flurry of activity before gradually losing all control. Gestures are passed around from player to player. Every member of the ensemble must take part in conducting duties, cuing each other from across the space.
The title “Invocation” does not refer to an opening prayer, but rather to an invocation of the trumpet fanfare from Mahler’s Fifth Symphony. The soloist plays a near-quotation at the beginning and end of the work, and it is used as a generative motive throughout.