two new Concert Etudes for solo trombone

Commissioned for the ARD International Music Competition, Mike Svoboda has written two new Concert Etudes, No. 6 Six introverted verses and No. 7 Five extroverted choruses for solo trombone. Intended to be premiered at the in September 2020, the competition has however now postponed to September 2022 and therefore also the premieres. Once premiered, these two works will be published with together with three other etudes as Concert Etudes Book II and complete the etude series.

While my first five Concert Etudes were composed mainly with a pedagogical goal and aimed at the developing trombonist, these two etudes are unapologetically vehicles for the advanced instrumentalist’s virtuosity. Composed for the ARD International Music Competition, the contrast between the first and second of these etudes reflects two sets of priorities generally associated with the two musical poles between which most trombonists position themselves: Firstly, the classical genre, with it’s emphasis on timbre and intonation, and secondly jazz, focusing on pitch and rhythm. In addition, Etudes No. 6 & 7 have left a good deal of dynamic and tempo nuances left open to the performer, providing an opportunity for both spontaneity and individuality. In the sixth etude titled 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 seventh etude, 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. I dedicate these two etudes to the many trombonists, who balance the athletic “higher, faster, louder” reality of brass playing with subtlety, depth, and reflection. I wish to provide them material with which they may apply their virtuosity and connect with you, the listener, in a very individual way. – Mike Svoboda, in May 2020

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