Concerto for Trombone and Orchestra

Melinda Wagner

Duration: 00:24:00
Publisher: Theodore Presser Company
Print Status: Rental

Quick Overview

I began work on my Concerto for Trombone and Orchestra while serving as composer-in-residence at the Bravo! Vail Valley Music Festival. During my free moments there, I found myself gazing ? in disbelief really ? at the jagged, youthful beauty of the Rockies. By comparison, ?my? mountains ? the old Endless, Allegheny, and Pocono ranges of Pennsylvania ? seemed to be no more than a set of soft wrinkles in the skin of the earth!

Looking back, I see how fortuitous it was that I should begin composing for trombone in such a setting. Nobility and power, hallmarks of the trombone sound, are indeed words that come to mind in the presence of mountains, old and new. And a truly great musician, as I learned while hearing Joseph Alessi play, can coax so much more out of the trombone: aching tenderness, sadness, lyricism, mirth.

With so many choices, the task of deciding how to begin any piece can be a daunting one. Should the opening be fast, slow, swashbuckling, or intimate ? or something else altogether? It is a decision that affects all the myriad decisions to follow, and I find this stage of the creative process to be the scariest, erasers notwithstanding!

I decided to begin my concerto with a quiet, dark introduction. The opening trombone melody is somewhat sad, and, much like an increasingly impassioned prayer, full of speech-like peaks and valleys, sighs, and quiet outbursts. I tried throughout to imbue the orchestral writing with a sense of three dimensions ? of space and the presence of a vanishing point. There are many subtle echoes in the ensemble, and sometimes the trombone melody leaves behind a kind of ?trail? that is taken up by other instruments. The quietude is brief, though, for much of the rest of the first movement is fast and stinging. As in the finale, the trombone line is full of feints and punches and jaunty syncopation; the orchestra keeps up with its many sharp jabs, upward whooshes of sound, and spilling cascades. Marked ?lush and dangerous? in the score, the mood of the second movement is one of lost love and yearning.

It has been a joy to create music for Joe and the New York Philharmonic. This winning combination has offered me a wide, expansive landscape in which to explore the ?life story? of a musical idea.

Additional Information

Composition Date 2006
Orchestration Solo Tbn.; 3(3dbl. Picc.) 3(3dbl.E.H.) 3(B.Cl.) 3(Cbsn.) - 4 3 3 1; Timp. 4Perc. Pno.(dbl.Cel.) Hp. Str.
Premiere 22nd, 23rd, 24th February, 2007. Joseph Alessi, Trombone New York Philharmonic Orchestra, conducted by Lorin Maazel Avery Fisher Hall, New York, NY.


I Satyr
II Elemental Things
Litany (Interlude)
III Catch

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