September 16, 2009
A few sample pages
AEJ is out of town for a few days, so I’m putting in 14-hour days just working on the Trombone Concerto. Somehow, I think I only checked Facebook once today. I know. It’s crazy.
The current task is orchestrating the 13 minutes I’ve already written. Part of that includes making the trombone solo part, which only existed as a MIDI mess, start to look like a playable part. I’ve created a PDF of three pages of the solo part, and I’d welcome any thoughts about playability. You’ll see a lot of gliss-looking markings before notes, and those are rips. I need to figure out a good way to differentiate between actual glisses between notes, and simply rips up to a note from the furthest-possible position. As of now, there are only a few true glisses; almost everything else is a rip. There are also a few “gliss hits,” which was something that Joe Alessi showed me a few months ago. These are just lightning-fast glisses down from a note. I’ll have more of those in the last movement.
You’ll see that the part is very high and very loud. There’s a stretch of rests after the part you’ll see, and then it’s quiet for a minute before going all ape-shit at the end of the first movement. (That’s the part where Dionysus — the trombone — is brutally destroyed, torn to shreds by his own worshippers.) I’m a little concerned about fatigue with the part I’m posting. It doesn’t really stop, and most of it is at middle-C or higher. The part before this is relatively subdued, though. Still, it’s three minutes of, well, balls-to-the-walls solo trombone.
I might end up finding a place or two to drop out the soloist for a few bars. Does that seem necessary? I should also point out that this whole stretch is solidly in F. There are some “dirty” notes, but it’s F. It’s kind of a barn-burner, with a bunch of call-and-response with the band. (There’s a hint — just a hint — of gospel to it. In a few minutes, though, this “service” is going to go very wrong.) I only mention the tonality because on their own, and without the benefit of hearing the accompaniment, these 3 pages feel like a whole lot of F, but it makes it more striking when it goes out of control in a few more minutes.
Oh, and those 17 measures of rest in the middle of page 2: a great big percussion break for tom-toms, timpani tuned flat and muted, cymbals, bass drum, roto-toms, and djembe.
Alright – back to it.