Concert Etudes 6&7 for solo trombone

(2020) 8' / for solo trombone

written for the ARD International Music Competition 2022 Munch and premiered there on September 6th, 2022 by the semi-finalists: Gonçalo Nova (Portugal), Polina Tarasenko (Ukraine), Jonathon Ramsay (Australien), Kris Garfitt (Großbritannien), Tim Ouwejan (Niederlande), Thomas Mercat (Frankreich), Roberto de la Guía Martínez (Spanien)

a performance by Kris Garfitt

Composer's note

While my first five Concert Etudes were written mainly with a pedagogical goal and aimed at the developing trombonist, Etudes No. 6 & 7 are unapologetically vehicles for the advanced instrumentalist’s virtuosity. Composed for the ARD International Music Competition, the contrast between the etudes reflects two sets of priorities generally associated with the two musical poles between which most trombonists position themselves: Firstly, the classical genre, with its emphasis on timbre and intonation, and secondly jazz, focusing on pitch and rhythm. In both etudes, I have left a good deal of dynamic and tempo nuances open to the performer, providing an opportunity for spontaneity and individuality. In No. 6, Six introverted verses, with the tempo marking “langsam – as Alban Berg once said”, the descending melodic material is interspersed with an ascending glissando spanning the extremes of the trombone range. The No. 7, Five extroverted choruses, marked “as fast as possible – quasi bebop with grit and groove” pushes the player not only to the extremes of agility, precision, and articulation, but also lung capacity. These etudes are dedicated to the many trombonists, who balance the athletic “higher, faster, louder” physicality of brass playing with musicianship full of subtlety, depth, and reflection. I wish to provide them with material to which they may apply their virtuosity and connect with their audience in a very individual way. – Mike Svoboda, in May 2020

Note to the performer

These two etudes could be played in the published order, separately, or in combination with other Concert Etudes to make a set. In Six introverted verses, the ascending grace notes are played freely and within the duration of the preceding rest. The descending grace notes are played freely, but in addition to the preceding and following notes, i.e. adding time to the bar. In Five extroverted choruses, the dynamics in the sensa misura passages depend mainly on the speed at which the passage is played, as well as the lung capacity of the performer. The time signatures such as 4/6 and 3/10 indicate bars with partial sets of tuplets. And in the final passage, circular breathing is optimal, but an ossia version is offered on page 11.

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