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"Victory on the Hill" is the first track on Alone II.
"Victory on the Hill" is an all-trumpet instrumental written and performed by Rivers Cuomo in late 1993. Its all-trumpet sequel, "Defeat on the Hill", was written and recorded between touring for the Blue Album in mid-1994.
When Weezer signed to Geffen Records in June of 1993, I used my cash advance to buy myself a trumpet and a violin and the related instruction manuals. My goal was to gain proficiency on the main orchestral instruments so that I could be a "real" composer, rather than a pop songwriter. I began practicing. Two months later, however, Weezer left L.A. for Electric Lady Studios in New York, to record The Blue Album, and I had to leave my new instruments behind. Because I was still excited about becoming a composer, I made sure to keep educating myself while I was in New York. I went to see two musicals, Cats and Les Miserables, during the days while the engineer got the mixes together for me to comment on.
When I returned to L.A. in October, I resumed my ventures downtown to see Essa-Pekka Salonen and the Philharmonic Orchestra. I saw a performance of Tchaikovsky's music and another of Beethoven's Third Symphony. And I started practicing my trumpet again. By November, I felt competent enough on the instrument to write a little classical piece. I wrote it out on a sheet of manuscript paper, using Brian Wilson's technique of keeping the background melodies as static as possible while the main melody jumped around. I recorded a demo of the piece in the garage and was amazed at how "real" the result sounded–especially the last tree staccato hits. I called the piece "Victory on the Hill" (Track 1) for no reason other than its triumphant sound. I felt I was off to a good start at becoming a classical composer. I wrote out my goals on November 27, the day of Weezer's first concert since before we left to make the album. (I kept my journal in Spanish, to protect against what I imagined were the curious eyes of my roommates and friends):
I want money so that I can buy cool things, like instruments: violins, clarinets, books about famous composers, music instruction books, CDs of classical music: Wagner, Beethoven, Tchaikovsky, Chopin. I want to study piano and music composition. I want to be a composer.
I have a yearning inside, a great yearning for something more profound than popular music. I need something more profound.
By the way, Weezer has a concert today2.
2Quiero dinero para que puede comprar cosas buenas, como instrumentos: violinas, clarinetas...; libros de compondedores famosos, libros instruccionales; discos compactos de música clássica; Wagner, Beethoven, Tchaikovsky, Chopin. Quiero aprender el piano y componer. Quiero ser un componedor.
A propósito, tenemos un concierto hoy.
Siento un anhelo adentro, un gran anhelo, que necesita algo más de hondo que la música popular. Necesito algo más de hondo.