Sonata for Trombone and Piano (1996)
for Trombone and Piano
Duration: 15 min.
Dedication: to Thomas G. Everett
Recording: Albany TROY553
Premiere: 1997; G. Erickson; A. Tarraj; Brooklyn, NY
Performance materials available from the publisher.
I always wanted to write sonatas or concertos for all the standard orchestral instruments. Over the long years, I realized I had come fairly close, and decided in the mid 90s to fill in the gaps, at that time clarinet, bassoon, trombone, and double bass.
The power and nobility of the trombone cannot and should not be denied, and my sonata, therefore, is rather “big-boned.” The pianist is a true equal partner, requiring strong playing an open instrument. (I generally like nothing less than a piano with its lid closed.)
In terms of structure, the sonata is fairly conservative despite its aggressiveness of sound. The first movement is largely in three-stand counterpoint, and may suggest the quality of ars antiqua or even organum counterpoint; many of the harmonies are fifths, and there are some noticeable on-the-beat dissonances. The second movement is in something of a three-part “song” design but is in 7/8 meter throughout. The third movement is the most difficult, and has its share of gritty complexity, but is in fact the most traditional example of classical sonata form I have ever used, replete with a clear contrast between the two main themes, and all the “correct” tonal center relationships. The sonata is dedicated to Thomas G. Everett. (Notes by Arnold Rosner)