If you've been to a student recital before, you probably expect to hear something like a traditional concert by a touring artist.
Recitals by doctoral students are a somewhat different affair. In the course of completing the Doctor of Musical Arts degree at New England Conservatory, performance majors present not just one, but three full-length recitals, for which they also write program notes. Composers present a recital of their chamber music, then complete a large-scale original work. In both cases, it's an opportunity to observe multiple facets of an emerging artist.
Trombonist Scott Bean, student of Norman Bolter, with Deborah Emery, piano, presents a program that ranges from very early music to work composed in the past twenty years.
Anonymous: Sonata Trombono & Basso
Giovanni Martino Cesare: La Hieronyma from Musicali Melodie
Girolamo Frescobaldi: Canzona No. 2 from Il Primo Libro della Canzoni
Joseph I, Emperor of Austria: Alme Ingrate
Georg Christoph Wagenseil: Concerto per Trombone
Johannes Maria Staud: Esquisse retouchée (Incipit II)
Mark Phillips: T. Rex for Trombone and Electronic Music
Anonymous (17th Century) Sonata Trombono & Basso (c. 1669)
The Sonata Trombono Solo & Basso is one of only two seventeenth-century solo sonatas for the trombone. It is preserved in a manuscript volume, Scala Musices, devoted largely to music for stringed instruments, which was probably compiled around 1700. Nothing is known of the sonata’s composer or of the circumstances that led to its inclusion in this volume. It is thought to be written by a monk in the Saint Thomas Augustinian Monastery in Brno, Czech Republic in 1669 and is the earliest known composition originally written and specified for the trombone.
Cesare La Hieronyma from Musicali Melodie (1621)
Very little is known about this Cesare. He was born in Udine in Italy around 1590 and died on February 6, 1667 in Munich. Like many of his contemporaries, Cesare found employment at foreign courts. He was employed at the court of Austria in 1600, together with his brother Giovanni Francesco. On returning to Udine in 1603, the brothers held posts as trombonists at the cathedral. In 1605 Giovanni Martino again went abroad. At the time he published his first work in 1611, he was playing the cornett in the court orchestra of the Margrave of Burgau in Gunzburg, in the vicinity of Augsburg. In 1610 he received payment from Maximilian, Duke of Bavaria, for teaching the cornett, while he played in the duke's chapel two years later (it was not unusual for Augsburg instrumentalists to be called into the duke's service in Munich from time to time). He finally entered the permanent service of Maximilian as a cornettist in 1615. The fact that his last known published opus, the Musicali Melodie per Voci et Instrumenti (1621), is dedicated to the Fugger family suggests that his connections with Augsburg were never truly broken. This is also confirmed by the titles of the first pieces: La Foccarina (i.e. Fugger), and the names of the four Fugger sons - La Georgina, Lo loannina, Lo Hieronyma, and La Massimiliana. This collection uses various combinations of instruments, so that the sound produced is diversified. Taken as a whole, Cesare's work provides invaluable information about the instrumental music of the period and indicates particularly that southern Germany played a significant role, not only in the sacred concerto tradition, but also in early instrumental music generally, tending to mediate between Italian and northern European music.
Frescobaldi Canzona No. 2 from Il Primo Libro della Canzoni
Frescobaldi was one of the most gifted organists in Rome, as well as one of the most influential composers of his day. Rome was also the home for many of the finest brass musicians where the trombone and cornetto were considered to be among the most virtuosic of instruments. Although written for unspecified instruments, these pieces could have certainly been performed on the bass sackbut. The music reflects the characteristics of the Baroque opera style with the constant fluctuation of tempos and stylistic feels.
Joseph I, Emperor of Austria Alme ingrate
From the accession to the throne of Maximillian I in 1493 to the death of Emperor Joseph II in 1790, there was a succession of Habsburg rulers important not only as patrons of music but also as accomplished performers and composers.
During the reign of Joseph I (1705-1711) the Royal Chapel in Vienna employed 107 performers. The Emperor played the harpsichord and flute and studied composition with the court composer, Alessandro Scarlatti. Alma Ingrate, a da capo aria written in 1705, is taken from a Sepolcro, a staged sacred dramatic work related to the Oratorio, which was performed during Holy Week.
In 18th century Austrian music, the trombone filled an important role. When it was not supporting the alto and tenor voices of the choir, it was playing lengthy obbligato solos in a wide variety of music found within the Roman Catholic liturgy.
Wagenseil Concerto for Trombone
Georg Christoph Wagenseil was the Kapellmeister to the Imperial court in Vienna, composer, keyboard virtuoso and teacher. His Trombone Concerto, the first piece with such a title, is in two movements only. The cantabile nature of the soloist’s musical material in both movements demonstrates convincingly the lyricism of the trombone. This lyricism is what eventually attracted Leopold Mozart, Johann Georg Albrechtsberger and Michael Haydn to write concertos for the trombone.
Staud Esquisse retouchée (Incipit II) (2001/2002)
This work is based, at least in part, on Incipit for alto trombone and five instruments composed late in 2000 for Uwe Dierksen and the Ensemble Modern. “Here I revisit, and enlarge upon, the idea of a composition preserving the potentialities of its beginning for its entire duration; the work, in other words, represents a single, continual incipit. Esquisse retouchée (Incipit II) opens the same way as Incipit, with a solo trombone playing the same hesitant introduction. This opening contains the seeds of countless potential musical developments.” –Joannes Maria Staud
Through its versatility of sound, its wide range, its ability to play glissandos and its enormous dynamic bandwidth, the trombone is confronted with the bass drum as well as vocal interjections in the final third of the piece. The concept of a solo piece is thus negated from within, even though there is a single performer onstage. There are some added elements that would not be expected to occur in a pure solo piece, used to highlight various processes taking place in the trombone part itself. The composer was inspired in part by his fascination with street musicians who are able to play several instruments at the same time in a truly virtuosic manner.
Phillips: T. Rex for Trombone and Electronic Music (1996)
T. Rex is in four connected movements contrasting in dynamics, rhythms, and tempo. The source material of this trombone and tape piece is derived from DAT cassettes of five trombonists giving an astonishing variety of trombone sounds. All sounds heard on the tape come from these recordings or from noises made with the composer’s bass trombone. Dozens of individual sounds were selected and transferred to a Kurzweil sampling synthesizer, to facilitate filtering and pitch shifting, which can be extreme in some places (movement 3) or rather slight (movements 2 and 4). Another technique used extensively in movement 4 involved digitally compressing and stretching the duration of a sound bite without altering the pitch, which allows loops of bizarre rhythmic trombone noises to be synchronized to a Latin-influenced dance beat.
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