Concert Fantasy for Trombone and Piano, Opus 9
I. Noble, with Grandeur; Martial -- II. Menacing -- III. Lamenting: Reflecting -- IV. Noble, yet Retrospective
John Fontaine, trombone; Shelby Flowers, piano
This is the world premiere recording of my "Concert Fantasy" for trombone and piano. This is the original instrumentation of the piece; I am currently in the process of orchestrating it as well. Here are my notes about the piece:
"I have always had a special fondness for the trombone—not only for its rich tonal spectrum, but also for its versatility and wide range of 'personalities.' More so than many other brass instruments, the trombone is well suited to almost any style of music, and it has been used effectively to personify nobility, as well as many others characters that a composer might intend. It was my deep interest and fascination with these concepts that sparked the inspiration for my 'Concert Fantasy.' Through this piece I hoped to showcase many different characteristics, contrasting the stately and magnificent with the brash, edgy, bombastic, sardonic, whimsical, introspective, wistful, and meditative. Though technically only in one movement, 'Concert Fantasy' is divided into four sections, each of which has a form unto itself, but all of which fall under a larger hierarchical structure. Therefore, the piece, though not truly programmatic, seems to be somewhat narrative in style.
"The first section ('Noble, with Grandeur; Martial') opens with a declamatory fanfare, suggesting royalty or aristocracy. After this exciting introduction is a march of a somewhat militaristic style, with the trombone playing an articulate melody over the piano's ostinato chords. Soon, the harmony becomes slightly obscured, as if what appears to be noble is in fact deceiving. A slightly truncated and more dissonant version of the opening fanfare leads into the second section ('Menacing'). Marked 'Allegro frenetico,' this section is quite frenzied and boisterous, perhaps suggesting the outbreak of war. Syncopations, cluster chords, and effects such as flutter-tongue and glissandos build suspense and keep the listener on the edge of his seat. This relatively jazzy, even raunchy section culminates in a tumultuous chord in the piano, which never resolves but instead leads into the third section ('Lamenting: Reflecting'). Perhaps the aftermath of the previous 'battle,' this section is slow and mournful, showing the beautiful, expressive timbres of the trombone in its quieter register. The motivic and melodic content of this section is based firmly on ideas introduced earlier in the piece. The trombone reflects on these earlier themes both with and without the mute. Several cadenza-like figures for both piano and trombone lead into a quiet reiteration of the opening fanfare, which results in a series of trombone cadenzas and a dramatic crescendo up to the emotional climax of the piece. As the intensity begins to disperse, the piano leads into the fourth and final section ('Noble, yet Retrospective'). This section is essentially a recapitulation of the march-like theme—still noble, but this time jaded with the knowledge and experience of times past. The piece concludes with a final statement of the fanfare and an exciting flourish to a triumphant end. This piece was written for and is dedicated to John Fontaine."
Recorded April 7 and 25, 2011, in Steve and Judy Turner Recital Hall, Blair School of Music, Vanderbilt University; Nashville, TN.
This piece is copyright 2009/10 by Christopher Lowry. Score and parts will be available upon request.
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