Harvest: Concerto for Trombone
Brass, Concertos, Orchestra, Wind Ensemble/18'/Difficulty - Really hard/2009
for orchestra without strings
Please note: Scores are purchased, fulfilled in hard copy, and yours to keep. Parts are licensed (“rented”) per performance, and delivered in PDF form. The parts PDF does not include a score.
Full Score (11x17 paper)
First Performance (parts)
Piano Reduction (PDF)
“Harvest: Concerto for Trombone” is based on the myths and mystery rituals of the Greek god Dionysus. As the Olympian god of the vine, Dionysus is famous for inspiring ecstasy and creativity. But this agricultural, earth-walking god was also subjected each year to a cycle of agonizing death before glorious rebirth, analogous to the harsh pruning and long winter the vines endure before blooming again in the spring. The concerto’s movements attempt to represent this dual nature and the cycle of suffering and return.
The concerto is set in three connected sections, totaling approximately 18 minutes. The first section begins with a slow introduction, heavy on ritualistic percussion, representing the summoning of Dionysus’s worshippers to the ceremony. The rite itself builds in intensity, with Dionysus (represented, of course, by the solo trombone) engaging in call and response with his followers, some of whom are driven to an ecstatic outcry — almost a “speaking in tongues” –represented by insistent woodwind trills. But when Dionysus transitions to a gentler tone, his frenzied worshippers do not follow. Their fervor overcomes them, and they tear their god to shreds in an act of ritual madness.
This brutal sacrifice by the ecstatic worshippers — the pruning of the vine — is followed without pause by the second section, representing Dionysus in the stillness of death, or winter. The god is distant, the music like a prayer.
The shoots of spring burst forth in the final section, following again without pause. The earth is reborn as Dionysus rises again, bringing the ecstasy and liberation that have been celebrated in his name for centuries.
“Harvest: Concerto for Trombone” is dedicated to Joseph Alessi.
A consortium consisting of:
The Ridgewood Concert Band
The West Point Military Academy Band
University of Texas at Austin
United States Air Force Academy
Illinois State University
University of Florida
University of Georgia
Texas Tech University
Case Western Reserve University
University of South Carolina
University of Washington
Roxbury High School
University of South Florida
Florida State University
McNeese State University
Arizona State University
University of Alabama