American Concerto

for Trumpet and Orchestra

Ellen Taaffe Zwilich

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Publisher: Merion Music, Inc.
Print Status: Rental

Quick Overview

According to Ellen Taaffe Zwilich, the title of "American Concerto" refers not just to the fact that it was written by an American. "It was chosen to pay tribute," she says, "to the distinctive and virile style of American brass playing exemplified by Doc Severinsen." This one-movement, 15-minute-long work was specifically written for Severinsen.

"Unlike his or her European counterparts," says Zwilich, "the American brass player typically has had a broad background encompassing orchestral, band and jazz idioms. This lends a special vitality and versatility to the playing and offers remarkable inspiration to a composer. My "American Concerto" celebrates this marriage of the visceral and exciting to the majestic and uplifting."

The process of creating the "American Concerto" is as interesting as the finished product. In the initial stage of composing, Zwilich makes a practice of writing down words in some way descriptive or evocative of the instrument for which she is beginning to write. In the case of this work for trumpet, the words that most often came to mind were "regal," "majestic," "noble," "sexy," and "earthy." She also considered the close and ancient relationship between the timpani which she wanted to explore.

The "American Concerto" was commissioned by the California Center for the Arts, Escondido, the San Diego Symphony Orchestra, the Virginia Symphony, the Buffalo Philharmonic, and Doc Severinsen and first performed at Escondido on September 24, 1994 by Doc Severinsen and the San Diego Symphony Orchestra under the direction of JoAnn Falletta.

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Additional Information

Composition Date 1994
Duration 16:00
Orchestration Solo Tpt.; 2(Picc.) 2 (E.H.) 3(B.Cl.) 2(Cbsn.) - 4 2 3(B.Tbn.) 1; Timp. 2Perc. Str.
Premiere 1994

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