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Author Topic: Why Not More Trombone Concertos?  (Read 1898 times)
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Paul T. McGraw
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« on: Dec 29, 2017, 06:33PM »

This has probably been discussed many times, but I am new to the forum, so please forgive me. Why aren't there more trombone concertos for trombone and orchestra from the romantic and late romantic era? The trombone seems like such a natural for a concerto instrument. No problem with plenty of projection, and lots more stamina possible than horn or trumpet. So why did the great romantic and late romantic composers not write trombone concertos?

Or even just give the trombone equal star treatment with the horn? What's the deal?
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« Reply #1 on: Dec 29, 2017, 07:02PM »

just my ideas...

-No one asked for a trombone concerto. Aside from Mendelssohn (who never got around to it) no one ever asked an A-list composer to write one. No major concerto of the Romantic era, for any instrument, was written without a specific soloist involved.

-Trombone lacked the virtuoso elegance of a piano or violin. "Flight of the Bumble Bee" on trombone is 25% note and 75% tongue.

-Composers weren't very familiar with what potential it had. Wagner did, but he had no skills or desire for sonata form.

-Composers felt trombone was more advantageous as an ensemble instrument and occasional color than as a leading solo voice.

-The available trombonists of the time, the ones composers encountered during their careers, were less than worthy of an A-list concerto effort.
 
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« Reply #2 on: Dec 29, 2017, 07:24PM »

The trombone was considered quite passe in the era of Bach and Haydn and only was recently reintroduced to the orchestra (in the very early 19th Century).  It was considered a "church instrument" and as such was not considered for soloistic material.  We have a couple of pieces written for Quiesser and Belcke (the David being one) but as Rob said, none of the A-list composers were interested.  Violins, cellos, and pianos were much more flashy.  Also, composers of the period had to play piano or violin (or both).  Much easier to write for what you know.
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« Reply #3 on: Dec 29, 2017, 07:54PM »

This has probably been discussed many times, but I am new to the forum, so please forgive me. Why aren't there more trombone concertos for trombone and orchestra from the romantic and late romantic era? The trombone seems like such a natural for a concerto instrument. No problem with plenty of projection, and lots more stamina possible than horn or trumpet. So why did the great romantic and late romantic composers not write trombone concertos?

Or even just give the trombone equal star treatment with the horn? What's the deal?

To be fair, pretty much every instrument aside from violin and piano could say the same thing. Not many major 19th century composers wrote concerti for other instruments than those two. Several obscure/minor ones did though, including for trombone. Cello is a bit ahead of the pack but still nothing close to violin and piano. You know many major romantic or late romantic concerti for flute or oboe (or trumpet or horn, which you mention, for that matter)?

To be frank, I don't see how the trombone is more "a natural" than other instruments. I don't think it's any less natural, but certainly not more either.


-No one asked for a trombone concerto. Aside from Mendelssohn (who never got around to it) no one ever asked an A-list composer to write one. No major concerto of the Romantic era, for any instrument, was written without a specific soloist involved.


I wish people stopped spreading that story about Mendelssohn being asked and then passing the ball to David. The only sources I can find for that are unsubstantiated, mostly CD liner notes starting with Lindberg. Sure it makes a nice story so we can claim that at least a major composer ALMOST wrote us a concerto but...there doesn't seem to be any evidence supporting it (correct me if I'm wrong), and it sounds like a typical made-up story, so in the end we just look desperate and silly.
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« Reply #4 on: Dec 29, 2017, 08:36PM »



I wish people stopped spreading that story about Mendelssohn being asked and then passing the ball to David. The only sources I can find for that are unsubstantiated, mostly CD liner notes starting with Lindberg. Sure it makes a nice story so we can claim that at least a major composer ALMOST wrote us a concerto but...there doesn't seem to be any evidence supporting it (correct me if I'm wrong), and it sounds like a typical made-up story, so in the end we just look desperate and silly.

Lindberg is alive. If the story is doubtful, he could be asked as to how he came to it.
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« Reply #5 on: Dec 29, 2017, 09:04PM »

On a side note, it's interesting that several of our romantic concerti (including the David) were conceived in the entourage of the Gewandhaus orchestra, one of the few major orchestras that did not actually employ regular/permanent trombone players at the time
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« Reply #6 on: Dec 29, 2017, 10:18PM »

All the trombone players at the time sucked because they were busy delivering pizzas.
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« Reply #7 on: Dec 29, 2017, 10:24PM »

All the trombone players at the time sucked because they were busy delivering pizzas.

Gee, I thought it was because they were selling vacuum cleaners :-P
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« Reply #8 on: Dec 29, 2017, 11:15PM »

No, that was in the '70's, there were trombone concertos being written by then.

The OP was asking about the Romantic era which coincided with the Age of Pizza.  And of course the trombone players were right on top of that, same as today.
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« Reply #9 on: Dec 30, 2017, 04:30AM »

Gee, I thought it was because they were selling vacuum cleaners :-P

Was that because there were more concertos for vacuum cleaners than trombones?
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« Reply #10 on: Dec 30, 2017, 05:09AM »

 I happen to be writing a concertino for bass trombone, winds and percussion.  Stay tuned and I'll let folks know when it's finished.  Pardon me for, ahem, blowing my own horn.
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« Reply #11 on: Dec 30, 2017, 05:09AM »

Was that because there were more concertos for vacuum cleaners than trombones?
Malcolm Arnold: Grand, Grand Overture:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HPsiVxUdkvo
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« Reply #12 on: Dec 30, 2017, 08:44AM »

To be frank, I don't see how the trombone is more "a natural" than other instruments. I don't think it's any less natural, but certainly not more either.

Well, perhaps my thinking is wrong, but I compose as a hobby, and the trombone seems a natural for a concerto. First dynamics and projection. The trombone can make itself heard even with a full symphony orchestra playing forte. Not true of any woodwinds, and a lot of care has to be taken with violin or cello to make sure they are not masked. Trumpet can make itself heard, but not for too long or the player will get tired. Second thing about trombone is a wide pitch range. Three or more octaves for a professional player. Not as wide a range as violin or cello, but more than wide enough to provide a variety of colors. Third is stamina. Time spent in the high range would need to be limited, but compared to the horn and trumpet, composers would have little fear of fatigue related errors. So that is why a bone would be a natural for a concerto instrument in my opinion. But perhaps I am biased as I love the trombone.

R. Strauss wrote two horn concertos and an oboe concerto. Saint-Saens wrote a flute concerto (French so it figures). and several composers wrote clarinet concertos. But as far as I know, no Romantic era trumpet concerto by a well-known composer

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« Reply #13 on: Dec 30, 2017, 09:11AM »

Here's a question... 

There's nothing physically stopping anyone from writing a Romantic trombone concerto (or a Romantic anything) today to fill that perceived need but no such effort will succeed. 

What happened?
How did it come to be that new Romantic music is no longer allowed to take root in the concert hall? (Film music doesn't count in this discussion.)

It is as if a curtain came down about the time of the death of Prokofiev in 1953 and after that point Classical-Romantic music took on "antique" status. (You can't make new antiques, only discover old ones.)

After that point it was OK to resurrect an old Romantic work that no one had heard before but a new Romantic work that no one had heard before would not be taken seriously.

It is very hard to identify anything written after 1953 that has become standard repertoire, even by composers like Shostakovitch or Copeland who managed to get off some standard rep before 1953.

Are there exceptions? Not strong ones.  For example... Leonard Bernstein... only his stage music has a toe-hold in the concert repertoire.

What happened?




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« Reply #14 on: Dec 30, 2017, 09:45AM »

In a related note, there is a wealth of trombone features in jazz orchestras.

As for late-Romantic concertos, don't forget about Arthur Pryor's stuff he did with Sousa's band.

But, yes, neither of these examples include trombone solos with orchestras.
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« Reply #15 on: Dec 30, 2017, 09:49AM »

Robcat,

Very, very good question. I was born in March 1953, so it must be my fault!  :cry:

But seriously, I have asked myself the same thing a million times. It makes no sense. I suppose there are people who really enjoy Boulez or minimalism, but I am not one of them, so I really, really wich we had more music of the romantic aesthetic.
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« Reply #16 on: Dec 30, 2017, 09:59AM »

Robcat,

Very, very good question. I was born in March 1953, so it must be my fault!  :cry:

But seriously, I have asked myself the same thing a million times. It makes no sense. I suppose there are people who really enjoy Boulez or minimalism, but I am not one of them, so I really, really wich we had more music of the romantic aesthetic.

There definitely does seem to be a trend for talented composers to go to film scoring during this period. There are definitely examples of late-Romantic and post-Romantic style in film - such as from composers Dmitri Tiomkin, Berhard Hermann, Elmer Bernstein, and Alex North, and looking a bit later, Maurice Jarre and John Williams.
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« Reply #17 on: Dec 30, 2017, 12:55PM »

A few years ago, we took my sons to Video Games Live, which involved an orchestra, choir, electronics, and what have you playing the music from video games. Very enjoyable concert.
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« Reply #18 on: Dec 30, 2017, 01:53PM »

A few years ago, we took my sons to Video Games Live, which involved an orchestra, choir, electronics, and what have you playing the music from video games. Very enjoyable concert.

Many of the Video Games Live concerts are just musicians and singers lip-syncing/playing along a pre-recorded concert. Sadly. Also a bad track record at paying their musicians in a timely manner (or paying them at all).

But yes video game music can be very interesting and well written. I was lucky to play for a few years in the Montreal-based Video Games Orchestra when I was in college. Lots of fun playing that repertoire.
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« Reply #19 on: Dec 30, 2017, 02:47PM »

https://youtu.be/e-x01ddG0x4

that's why
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« Reply #20 on: Dec 30, 2017, 03:23PM »


Refutation:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6c0lG9gnmvY
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« Reply #21 on: Dec 30, 2017, 03:42PM »

And some more..  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3IE6_K_dlyI


NATHANIEL SHILKRET: Trombone Concerto James Pugh
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« Reply #22 on: Dec 30, 2017, 03:43PM »

When people other than trombone players start asking for trombone concertos we might have a valid existence.
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« Reply #23 on: Dec 30, 2017, 03:45PM »

Trumpet can make itself heard, but not for too long or the player will get tired.

Maybe that's true for amateur/community orchestras, but I can't begin to count the number of live performances of trumpet concerti accompanied by professional regional to top-tier symphony orchestras I've attended to over the years, and I don't ever recall the soloist struggling with endurance issues or making him- or herself heard over the orchestra.

Gee, I thought it was because they were selling vacuum cleaners :-P

Yet more proof that when trombone players don't s*ck they blow.  Evil
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« Reply #24 on: Dec 30, 2017, 04:22PM »

What happened? How did it come to be that new Romantic music is no longer allowed to take root in the concert hall? (Film music doesn't count in this discussion.)
I think you might have answered your own question. It's movie music now. Music for the rabble.
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« Reply #25 on: Dec 31, 2017, 08:07AM »

Thanks, George Lucas, for ruining movie music for us. The theremin and Ed Wood were all we needed  :D.
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« Reply #26 on: Dec 31, 2017, 09:24AM »

Why not more theremin concertos?
We need a double concerto for trombone and theremin.
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« Reply #27 on: Dec 31, 2017, 09:53AM »

Why not more theremin concertos?
We need a double concerto for trombone and theremin.
I'm holding out for alphorn and didgeridoo.

As for late-Romantic concertos, don't forget about Arthur Pryor's stuff he did with Sousa's band.
And Frederick Neil Innes before him. When Innes was with the Gilmore band, he had a rivalry with the cornet soloist (Jules Levy); Levy would play a feature piece and then Innes would play the same piece.

Sadly, I don't think there are any recordings of Innes.
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« Reply #28 on: Dec 31, 2017, 10:13AM »

When people other than trombone players start asking for trombone concertos we might have a valid existence.

There certainly is a problem on the demand side.


I did a count of concertos (and major solo works like "Rhapsody in Blue") programmed in the most recently available League of American Orchestras repertoire report

This included 57 orchestras from A-list to youth orchestras

There were as many concertos for birds programmed as for trombone.  :D

For all instruments, excluding piano and violin, there were only 93 programs



Piano     132

   
Violin     99
Viola       6
Cello      17
Bass        4
   
Flute       6
Cl.         9
Oboe        3
Bassoon     4
Sax         8
   
Horn        9
Trumpet     3
Trombone    2
Tuba        1
   
Percussion  2
tap dancer  2
   
Guitar      3
Harp        9
Harmonica   1

Organ       2
   
   
Birds*      2




*Rautavaara, Einojuhani CONCERTO FOR BIRDS AND ORCHESTRA, "CANTUS ARCTICUS", OP. 6
 
(I'm going to guess that this involves a goose-squeezing.)
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« Reply #29 on: Dec 31, 2017, 10:35AM »

Why not more theremin concertos?
We need a double concerto for trombone and theremin.

I do like Ahos theremin concerto. Very cello like
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« Reply #30 on: Dec 31, 2017, 08:34PM »

The Rautavaara is cool. The birds are recordings he made in Finland. He’s Finnish.
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« Reply #31 on: Dec 31, 2017, 09:39PM »

https://youtu.be/zeoT66v4EHg
<a href="https://www.youtube.com/v/zeoT66v4EHg" target="_blank">https://www.youtube.com/v/zeoT66v4EHg</a>
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« Reply #32 on: Dec 31, 2017, 10:20PM »

The Rautavaara is cool. The birds are recordings he made in Finland. He’s Finnish.

I got a chance to play this last year. Neat piece of music.  Good!
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« Reply #33 on: Jan 01, 2018, 04:08AM »

Why not more theremin concertos?
We need a double concerto for trombone and theremin.

I'm on it!
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« Reply #34 on: Jan 01, 2018, 04:18AM »

We have to eat less pizza and play more with our heart then.... :D

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« Reply #35 on: Jan 01, 2018, 02:10PM »

It's because of a shortage of composers who feel moved to write for the trombone, demand and supply?
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« Reply #36 on: Jan 01, 2018, 02:14PM »

I'd like to see more things like the Malcolm Arnold "Grand, Grand Overture".  Hoffnung is dead.  Anna Russell is dead.  Peter (PDQ Bach) Schickele has virtually retired.  Who will take up the mantle now?

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« Reply #37 on: Jan 02, 2018, 06:56PM »

I've been thinking about this, and there are actually quite a few trombone concertos that fit the bill. Some, like the David, are not so great, but others are truly inspired compositions!

The Grondahl, R. Korsakov, Larsson, Nesterov, Bourgeois, Guilmant, Rota and Tomasi concertos come to mind. There are many more. Maybe you just didn't know about some of these works?
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« Reply #38 on: Jan 02, 2018, 08:34PM »

What do you suppose a trombone soloist would be typically be paid for a concerto performance?

Is there a union minimum for that?



I've been thinking about this, and there are actually quite a few trombone concertos that fit the bill. Some, like the David, are not so great, but others are truly inspired compositions!

The Grondahl, R. Korsakov, Larsson, Nesterov, Bourgeois, Guilmant, Rota and Tomasi concertos come to mind. There are many more. Maybe you just didn't know about some of these works?

The Rimsky-Korsakov concerto is honorable but it certainly falls short what we remember him for.


There is a trombone concerto by Guilmant?
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« Reply #39 on: Jan 02, 2018, 09:00PM »

What do you suppose a trombone soloist would be typically be paid for a concerto performance?

...

We pay all our soloists the same stipend.  Orchestra members get less (half).  Students get nothing.  But we aren't the Boston Symphony (although we have had a few Boston Symphony players do solos with us).
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« Reply #40 on: Jan 03, 2018, 02:12AM »

And some more..  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3IE6_K_dlyI


NATHANIEL SHILKRET: Trombone Concerto James Pugh

No takers on this? A great performance as well.

I think that Heitor VillaL lobos could have written a great concerto, and a more popular one with the public as well.
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« Reply #41 on: Jan 03, 2018, 02:14AM »


No takers on this? A great performance as well.

I often think that Heitor Villa Lobos could have written a great concerto.
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« Reply #42 on: Jan 03, 2018, 03:57AM »

I'm not a big fan of the Shilkret
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« Reply #43 on: Jan 03, 2018, 06:21AM »

I've been thinking about this, and there are actually quite a few trombone concertos that fit the bill. Some, like the David, are not so great, but others are truly inspired compositions!

The Grondahl, R. Korsakov, Larsson, Nesterov, Bourgeois, Guilmant, Rota and Tomasi concertos come to mind. There are many more. Maybe you just didn't know about some of these works?


Depends. If we're just asking about trombone concerti, sure there are many. But if the question is Romantic concertos (preferably by major composers) like the OP asked... How many of the composers you named are actually Romantic (let alone major)?

Aside from Rimsky-Korsakov, none, REALLY. Bourgeois died (very sadly) less than 4 months ago.

There is a trombone concerto by Guilmant?

No, at least not that we know of. His Morceau Symphonique is not a concerto, unless you want to also count the pieces by Barat, Ropartz, Bozza, Stojowski et al. as concerti (which I see no reason to do).


The Rimsky-Korsakov concerto is honorable but it certainly falls short what we remember him for.

I thought so too until I heard one recording where the mixing had the band not too soft - just under the soloist, not like background music like most recordings do, and where the band wasnt just plowing through the piece like a high school marching band but actually bringing out the subtleties of the piece. And the soloist was taking the 2nd movement at a reasonable tempo instead of making it into a death crawl (andante in 2 like it should be not Adagio or even Lento in 6...). Then I heard all these nice things and these very typical Rimnsky-Korsakov gestures and moments in the accompaniment that are indeed in the score (and mostly absent from the piano reductions).

Sure it's still a bombastic and pompous piece (of course, it IS a military band piece, not a serious concert symphonic concerto), but it deserves more appreciation than trombonists usually give it, and more care to actually get it to sound good.
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« Reply #44 on: Jan 03, 2018, 06:41AM »

If we're honest, even the David barely fits the bill really as a "Romantic concerto". David's violin concerti are significantly longer than his trombone concertino and in 3 movements, with the first in modified/concerto sonata form and the third in either rondo form or another modified sonata form. They fit the very codified structure that was still typical for concerti in his time.

The trombone piece however is really one big non-modified sonata form, and it's one single movement, not three. It's not called concertino merely because it's shorter (which it is), but more importantly because it is not, per mid-19th century standards of form, a full-scale concerto. It's missing 2 movements, and the form is simpler.
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« Reply #45 on: Jan 03, 2018, 09:17AM »

No takers on this? A great performance as well.

I think that Heitor VillaL lobos could have written a great concerto, and a more popular one with the public as well.

Forum Member MacBone played one of the Bachianas Brazilieras as a solo.  Sounded really nice.
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« Reply #46 on: Jan 03, 2018, 09:45AM »

No takers on this? A great performance as well.


I think the Shilkret could be a successful crowd-pleaser.  It seems to lack the bravura elements of a great concerto, however.

But, it's not published? That will slow it down.
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« Reply #47 on: Jan 03, 2018, 10:29AM »

There certainly is a problem on the demand side.


I did a count of concertos (and major solo works like "Rhapsody in Blue") programmed in the most recently available League of American Orchestras repertoire report

This included 57 orchestras from A-list to youth orchestras

There were as many concertos for birds programmed as for trombone.  :D

For all instruments, excluding piano and violin, there were only 93 programs



Piano     132

   
Violin     99
Viola       6
Cello      17
Bass        4
   
Flute       6
Cl.         9
Oboe        3
Bassoon     4
Sax         8
   
Horn        9
Trumpet     3
Trombone    2
Tuba        1
   
Percussion  2
tap dancer  2
   
Guitar      3
Harp        9
Harmonica   1

Organ       2
   
   
Birds*      2




*Rautavaara, Einojuhani CONCERTO FOR BIRDS AND ORCHESTRA, "CANTUS ARCTICUS", OP. 6
 
(I'm going to guess that this involves a goose-squeezing.)


Only two trombone concertos? Let me guess--Grondahl and David... Don't know
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« Reply #48 on: Jan 03, 2018, 10:35AM »

Only two trombone concertos? Let me guess--Grondahl and David... Don't know

David and... Michael Haydn, Concertino for Horn and Trombone.

I counted that for both horn and trombone.  :D
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« Reply #49 on: Jan 03, 2018, 10:41AM »

Composers I wish HAD written a trombone concerto:
Hindemith
Holst
Vaughan Williams

Composers I wish WOULD write a trombone concerto:
Scott Boerma (he's a trombonist)
John Williams (but I wonder if it would be a rehash of the Tuba Concerto)
Jennifer Higdon (Wrote one, withdrew it)


Composers I wish would make their piece(s) more accessible:
Nathaniel Shilkret
James P. Johnson (he didn't write a trombone concerto, but I have a story too long to repeat here. PM me if you want details)

Maybe the problem isn't that we don't HAVE concertos to play. We do.
Maybe the real problem is our reluctance to promote them through performance in our recitals.  

Nitzan Haroz is giving a recital on the Philadelphia Chamber Music Society series (https://www.pcmsconcerts.org/concerts/nitzan-haroz-trombone-gloria-kim-piano/)
in May, and he's programmed Arrows of Time. I realize that this is more the exception than the rule in many communities, but we have to step up and promote the best of ourselves and our instrument.

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« Reply #50 on: Jan 03, 2018, 11:05AM »

Are we purposely ignoring Ellen Taafe Zwilich?  I know that's not Romantic, but she wrote both a tenor and a bass concerto.
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« Reply #51 on: Jan 03, 2018, 11:07AM »

Maybe the better question is, how many trombone concertos exist that an average audience would want to sit through?
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« Reply #52 on: Jan 03, 2018, 11:18AM »

Are we purposely ignoring Ellen Taafe Zwilich?  I know that's not Romantic, but she wrote both a tenor and a bass concerto.


Yes!

Also Elizabeth Raum who wrote both a (cheesy but very fun) concerto for bass trombone, strings and percussions, as well as pre-classical style concerto based on manuscript fragments of solo trombone pieces (possibly concerti or solo movements from larger works) found in the Olomouc archives.
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« Reply #53 on: Jan 03, 2018, 11:23AM »


Maybe the problem isn't that we don't HAVE concertos to play. We do.
Maybe the real problem is our reluctance to promote them through performance in our recitals.  


I suspect trombone concertos are getting appropriately flogged at recitals

What it will really take is conductors and symphony CEOs who think such works are worth programming at concerts.
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« Reply #54 on: Jan 03, 2018, 11:54AM »

I suspect trombone concertos are getting appropriately flogged at recitals

What it will really take is conductors and symphony CEOs who think such works are worth programming at concerts.

Recital with piano .... the worst venue to perform a brass concerto.
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« Reply #55 on: Jan 03, 2018, 12:18PM »

Recital with piano .... the worst venue to perform a brass concerto.
I can think of a few that would definitely fit that category--Martin Ballade, Larsson Concertino, Walker Concerto for starters. Maybe you're right.
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« Reply #56 on: Jan 03, 2018, 12:21PM »

I suspect trombone concertos are getting appropriately flogged at recitals

What it will really take is conductors and symphony CEOs who think such works are worth programming at concerts.

Programming has to put bums in seats and also woo donors.

Violin and piano concerti do that much better than horn, flute, or trombone.  We've done some of the latter to allow our players to shine once in a while, but they don't sell tickets.
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« Reply #57 on: Jan 03, 2018, 12:58PM »

And what about bass trombone concertos?  Don't know Is there any from that time? Not many later in time either?

Leif
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« Reply #58 on: Jan 03, 2018, 01:09PM »

Are we purposely ignoring Ellen Taafe Zwilich? 

I thought the same about the Nathaniel Shilkret concerto, even though some bloke called Tommy Dorsey had a stab at it..
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« Reply #59 on: Jan 03, 2018, 01:13PM »

I thought the same about the Nathaniel Shilkret concerto, even though some bloke called Tommy Dorsey had a stab at it..

Not only Tommy Dorsey, but Murray MacEachern and Will Bradley.
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« Reply #60 on: Jan 03, 2018, 01:34PM »

Not only Tommy Dorsey, but Murray MacEachern and Will Bradley.

And Jim Pugh recorded it...
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« Reply #61 on: Jan 03, 2018, 02:10PM »

And Jim Pugh recorded it...

Yes, as I mentioned on page 3, and a great performance as well IMO.
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« Reply #62 on: Jan 03, 2018, 02:18PM »

And what about bass trombone concertos?  Don't know Is there any from that time? Not many later in time either?

Leif

You mean Romantic? Well the bass trombone as we know it didn't exist then. Those concertos (or concertinos) we do have were written with what was then considered the bass trombone (or tenorbass) at the time - Queisser was considered a bass trombone player (even though the instrument at the time as a Bb instrument with no valve). The first edition of the David is labeled "Concertino pour la trombonne basse"
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« Reply #63 on: Jan 03, 2018, 02:39PM »

I have a piece by Robert Mueller called "Praeludium, Chorale, Variations, and Fugue" for Bass Trombone, written 1839.  I believe there are a couple of low Eb's in it.
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« Reply #64 on: Jan 03, 2018, 04:00PM »

I have a piece by Robert Mueller called "Praeludium, Chorale, Variations, and Fugue" for Bass Trombone, written 1839.  I believe there are a couple of low Eb's in it.

All the editions I find are modern ones, hard to find out anything about the source, aside from the very imprecise "from manuscript dated 1839" - I don't find it under Robert Müller, but rather Johann Immanuel Müller. I wouldn't make any definitive call about the range of the piece or whether or not it's actually written for bass trombone with so little information or without seeing the manuscript. Those low Eb's could very well be editorial, as could the title and instrumentation - "for Bass or Tenor trombone and piano or organ" sounds like an editorial thing; I wouldn't be surprised if the manuscript merely has "Posaune" written, if any instrumentation at all.

But if we want to speculate...
The F attachment was introduced in 1839 - perhaps the Bb/F instrument is what the composer wrote for, but that seems doubtful : he died the same year he wrote the piece (and the same year the F valve was introduced) at age 65. I don't know when in 1839 Sattler came up with the F valve, but Müller died in April, so there was at the very most 4 months for him to hear about (let alone care about) this new invention. More likely is he wrote for the widespread Tenorbass in Bb and those low Ebs are either editorial or meant to be played in the falset register. Possible that he wrote for the "true" F or Eb bass (although that would be somewhat of an anomaly) - he was a kantor and organist at the Kaufmannskirche and other civic/community musical institutions in Erfurt, Germany, so he may have come accross old church-owned trombones, of which it is not unlikely there might have been an F or Eb bass.
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« Reply #65 on: Jan 03, 2018, 04:43PM »

I think several of the Blazhevich concertos are worthy pieces with virtuoso turns and attractive melodic themes but if they have any full-ensemble accompaniments, either for band or orchestra, they don't seem to have made it out of Russia.

It's quite mysterious.
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« Reply #66 on: Jan 03, 2018, 05:26PM »

At the last ITA convention in Redlands I heard several fantastic trombone soloists. Composers need to hear those fantastic players to be inspire. Only when fantastic players are heard will composers write for them.
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« Reply #67 on: Jan 03, 2018, 07:54PM »

I think several of the Blazhevich concertos are worthy pieces with virtuoso turns and attractive melodic themes but if they have any full-ensemble accompaniments, either for band or orchestra, they don't seem to have made it out of Russia.

It's quite mysterious.

That's true, some of them are really nice pieces (actually, I would say all of them are quite nice). I'm not aware of any original orchestra or band accompaniment. There is a video of no.2 with symphony orchestra on Youtube, but no idea if the orchestration is original.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f-01SyTdXyo&t=68s

I was under the impression that they were really intended as pedagogical pieces, not large-scale serious concert music. It would make sense that he didn't write any orchestration for them. Also, if I recall correctly most of them are dated the same year. They seem to have been put together real fast to fill a lack of solo study repertoire. Again if you had to write a bunch of pieces for your students fast, you probably might not put in the time to orchestrate them, writing more pieces instead. I don't know...

I made my own orchestration of no.1, which has yet to be performed.
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« Reply #68 on: Jan 03, 2018, 09:04PM »

There is a video of no.2 with symphony orchestra on Youtube, but no idea if the orchestration is original.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f-01SyTdXyo&t=68s

Yeah, I've heard that.  I hope that's just something someone whipped up for an occassion and not real Blazhevich.


Quote
I was under the impression that they were really intended as pedagogical pieces, not large-scale serious concert music. It would make sense that he didn't write any orchestration for them. Also, if I recall correctly most of them are dated the same year. They seem to have been put together real fast to fill a lack of solo study repertoire. Again if you had to write a bunch of pieces for your students fast, you probably might not put in the time to orchestrate them, writing more pieces instead. I don't know...

IMSLP, for example, says that concerto #2 was for Trombone and Military Band and that would make sense in view of his position as conductor of the State Concert Band of the USSR. There's a long section in #2 that screams out "harp" and indeed he had two harps in that band.

Somewhere, there's orchestrated versions of these things.

I recall reading some commentary that put them as being written over several years in the 1920s plus a few in the 30s.

I'm sure they were intended for "students" but these were national conservatory level students. Some of them must have had chops.


The thing about these piano accompaniments is that they have all the signs of being reductions from something much, much larger... 


https://youtu.be/DJgs21eMxDI
<a href="https://www.youtube.com/v/DJgs21eMxDI" target="_blank">https://www.youtube.com/v/DJgs21eMxDI</a>



I'm convinced the finale to #2 has cannons in it...

https://youtu.be/_rXsQ2kEpw4
<a href="https://www.youtube.com/v/_rXsQ2kEpw4" target="_blank">https://www.youtube.com/v/_rXsQ2kEpw4</a>



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« Reply #69 on: Jan 03, 2018, 09:16PM »

Yeah, I've heard that.  I hope that's just something someone whipped up for an occassion and not real Blazhevich.


IMSLP, for example, says that concerto #2 was for Trombone and Military Band and that would make sense in view of his position as conductor of the State Concert Band of the USSR. There's a long section in #2 that screams out "harp" and indeed he had two harps in that band.

Somewhere, there's orchestrated versions of these things.

I recall reading some commentary that put them as being written over several years in the 1920s plus a few in the 30s.

I'm sure they were intended for "students" but these were national conservatory level students. Some of them must have had chops.


The thing about these piano accompaniments is that they have all the signs of being reductions from something much, much larger... 


https://youtu.be/DJgs21eMxDI
<a href="https://www.youtube.com/v/DJgs21eMxDI" target="_blank">https://www.youtube.com/v/DJgs21eMxDI</a>



I'm convinced the finale to #2 has cannons in it...

https://youtu.be/_rXsQ2kEpw4
<a href="https://www.youtube.com/v/_rXsQ2kEpw4" target="_blank">https://www.youtube.com/v/_rXsQ2kEpw4</a>





Indeed, and I must say playing them it was always easy to imagine a potential orchestration, and orchestrating no. 1 was almost like automatic writing. Could just hear obvious orchestration choices for every phrase.

I certainly hope you're right and they exist somewhere, I just wonder if they'll ever surface.
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« Reply #70 on: Jan 04, 2018, 05:31AM »

Not romantic by any means, but didn't Lindberg have over 60 concertos comissioned for or by him?

The Michael Nyman has gotta be up there. Most trombonists just can't play what is out there.
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« Reply #71 on: Jan 04, 2018, 06:49AM »

Not romantic by any means, but didn't Lindberg have over 60 concertos comissioned for or by him?

The Michael Nyman has gotta be up there. Most trombonists just can't play what is out there.

I think that's a big part of the problem. Many of our concerti are quite recent, and written with the top trombone players of our time. Many are way out of reach of most trombone players' technical abilities. So we end up playing always the same few pieces...
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« Reply #72 on: Jan 04, 2018, 07:35AM »

I think that's a big part of the problem. Many of our concerti are quite recent, and written with the top trombone players of our time. Many are way out of reach of most trombone players' technical abilities. So we end up playing always the same few pieces...
It could also be a lack of motivation to put the time in needed to perform the piece. Most times, a player is including the piece in a recital. Highly taxing pieces can make it difficult to develop a program. There are several bass trombone solos that are very interesting, however, too taxing for most players to add it as part of a recital. The Brubeck comes to mind and the John Williams. When one considers how long pianists will work on something, the amount of time brass players tend spend on solo work is small.
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« Reply #73 on: Jan 04, 2018, 07:46AM »

Most trombonists just can't play what is out there.

When something is difficult you have to ask yourself... is it worth the bother? 

Even if it were played perfectly would an audience be glad they heard it?

A lot of new music doesn't meet that test.  It may impose some strange new technical requirement that takes a bunch of time to get working but to the audience it might be just a few more notes to hear.

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« Reply #74 on: Jan 04, 2018, 08:05AM »

Not romantic by any means, but didn't Lindberg have over 60 concertos comissioned for or by him?

The Michael Nyman has gotta be up there. Most trombonists just can't play what is out there.

Here's Christian Lindberg playing the Micheal Nyman concerto against The BBC Symphony Orch. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ek8vr-x3IuY

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