new trombone Concerto by Steven Bryant

Date: February 19th, 2016

Steven Bryant writes:

The first inkling of an idea to write a concerto for Joe Alessi came when we shared a program at the University of Miami in November, 2011. He was performing John Mackey’s concerto, Harvest, with Gary Green and the Frost Wind Ensemble, and my own Concerto for Wind Ensemble followed on the same program. Joe very generously came out to sit in the audience after his performance to hear my work, and the following year at the Midwest Clinic in Chicago, we finally had a chance to sit down for coffee, and with the support of Jerry Junkin, put this project into motion.

In creating music specifically for Joseph Alessi, I was drawn to his expressive, unbelievably beautiful tone on the instrument, as well as his ability to flatten everything in his path without sacrificing that beauty. In movement I, I sought to “hide” his tone by having him play much of the time muted, and making the music pungent, nasal, and somewhat irritating at times, in order to heighten the open, melodic unveiling in the second movement. The final movement harnesses his power to create a state of euphoria.

Unlike most of my other music, I initially created a long melody instead of a short motive as the basis of all three movements of the work, and drew motivic material from that as needed. Despite my original intention, the full, uninterrupted melody never makes an appearance in the piece. Also of note, a particular four-note chord from movement IV of Webern’s Six Pieces for Orchestra informs the work. I quoted this same work of Webern in my Concerto for Wind Ensemble, the work Joe first heard in Miami which sparked his interest in my music, so it serves as a subtle connecting thread between these two events. The music is absolute – there is no program or storyline apart from the inherent drama of the soloist dancing around (and often above!) the ensemble in the Concerto’s traditional fast-slow-fast movement structure.

Commissioners:

Arizona State University, Gary Hill
Auburn University, Rick Good
Central Missouri University, Scott Lubaroff
Crane School of Music, Brian K. Doyle
Illinois State University, Martin H. Seggelke
Michigan Technological University, Mike Christianson
Ridgewood Concert Band, Chris Wilhjelm
Southeastern Oklahoma State University, Erin Cooper
Tennessee Tech University, Joe Hermann
The University of Florida, David Waybright
The University of Kentucky, Cody Birdwell
University of Redlands, Eddie R. Smith
The University of South Carolina, Scott Weiss
The University of Texas at Austin, Jerry Junkin
The University of Wisconsin, Scott Teeple
Western Michigan University, Scott Boerma
Western Washington University, Christopher Bianco
Yale University, Thomas Duffy

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