10 Hardest Trombone Solos

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I think "Blue Cellophane" is a rather hard solo-song in itself, though maybe not to more experienced trombonists.  It's just that it's like the whole song.

Quote from: "kdr152004"

technically, I think that the version of "Flight of the Bumblebee" by Christian Lindberg is one of the hardest solos.

I would have to agree. Everytime I hear Lindberg play this my jaw drops :amazed: Thumbs up to people who can play that as fast as he can and sound half as good as he does :good:

I don't think it would be hard at all. If you could double tongue really well for an extended period of time.

I think a lot a people agree with that too (or I could be wrong, but people I have talked with about the Flight agree). If you can move the slide fast enough while double tonguing for a long time you shouldn't have a problem.

But it is a double tounge in a very high register, I have got his edition of the work and it goes up to  :trebleclef:  :space4: flat.

But I think Flight of the Bumblebee is easy comparing to playing the Winter by Vivaldi on an alto trombone

William Lang:
(In making this list I have limited myself to works written for the Trombone, and pieces that I have heard.)

Ok my top-ten hardest trombone solos:

1) Iannis Xenakis: Keren
        This unaccompanied solo has the hardest and most demanding runs I have ever come across. Between the extreme dynamics, hard rhytms, multi-octave intervals, multiphonics both above and below the written notes, mute changes, and endurance issuesm this piece takes the cake. Not to mention the musicality necessary to pull this piece off live.
        Keren has been recorded by Benny Sluchin, on his Le Trombone Contemporaine cd, Christian Lindburg (hands down the best) on his Solitary and 10-year Jubilee cds, and also by Mike Svoboda, on his Power and Poerty cd.

2) Also by Xenakis: Trookh
         Something like 56 high F's in it, including starting on one in a very daunting orchestral setting. Just might be the hardest piece to physically play that has been written.
         Trookh has been recorded by Mike Svoboda on a compilation cd of Xenakis' works, and Lindberg has also recorded it, but I am no aware of it being commercially available yet.

3) Luciano Berio: Sequenza V
         First, you have to know how to read the piece, which takes some time. Then you have to have outstanding plunger technique, which is nothing to sneeze at. Then you have to be able to play the notes, which is also pretty hard in a few of the runs. Next comes the sliding multiphonics and the sounding inhalations. Finally, you have to wear a costume. All in all, a wonderful piece that is indeed played by many people, but which also makes it no less difficult to play.
          Sequenza V has been recorded by Vincent Glokobar, Benny Sluchin, Christian Lindberg, Mike Svoboda, and others(?.)

4) Christopher Rouse: Concerto
          A trombone solo that won a Pulitzer Prize? Look no further. This piece has many hard demands to it, and I thought about making it number three for awhile. The long pedal tones in the first and last movements and the first hurdles to overcome, but it is in the constantly shifting second, fast movement where this piece becomes truly difficult. When you add in the intense dynamics and emotions needed, as well as the endurance to play the 28 minute solo, this piece ranks very highly on my list.
          The Concerto has been recording by Joseph Alessi, on Gorgon, a cd of Christopher Rouse's music, and by Christian Lindberg, on his American Concertos vol. 2. However, this is one the few instances where I would recommend Alessi's recording as quite superior to Lindberg's version.

5) Jan Sandstrom: A Motorbike Odyssey
          Written specifically for Christian Lindberg, and played all around the world by him, I would say that this piece is one of the greatest Concertos ever written for an instrument. If you disagree with me, that's ok, but I'm sure most audience members have similar feelings. This piece is on my list of the hardest solos because of it's diversity. This is a catalogue of trombone effects on par with the Sequenza, and it demands everything a great trombonist can be asked for. It has very very fast passages, many multiphonic passages (including almost a whole movement based off of Austrailian Digerido noises,) many high notes, a very strong endurance factor, and last but not least, a consumate story telling approach that must be obvious to the audience.
          A Motorbike Odyssey has been recorded by (who else?) Lindberg, and in my opinion it will be quite awhile before someone new approaches it.

6) Joseph Guy Ropartz: Piece in Eb minor
          Moving away from contemporary literature, I have foudn that the Piece is the hardest Romantic-era solo that I have encountered. While the David may be longer, it is in my humble opinion that the Ropartz places a much much higher demand on endurance. By the time the last half of the third page roles around, most people are at the very least a little tired, and it is at this point where the hardest runs come into play. I hesitate to place this 6th, but I think that the demands of physically playing this piece merit it's ranking.
          The Ropartz has been recorded by Joseph Alessi, Jorgen Van Rijen, Alain Trudel, Christian Lindberg, Ronald Barron and others (?.)

7) Paul Creston: Fantasy
         Creston's fantasy is a very nice piece which is very long, quite high, and demands many styalistic changes. From the very opening there are many small runs which demand considerable attention in the practice rooms. In the second "movement" there are long, high passages that don't seem to end fast enough, as well a very very long singular note. Also, the fugal passage demands a very accurate performace as well as a blending capability when played with orchestra. In the end, there are many demanding intervals at a fast tempo that wil test even the professional player.
          While Joseph Alessi used this piece to playhis first concerto with the New York Phil, he has regretably not recording this selection. So that leaves Jon Kitzman, Bill Booth, and Christian Lindberg as having recorded this qonderful selection. There might be one or two others who have recorded this as well.

8) Kazimeirz Serocki: Concerto
          I have found that Serocki's music takes a certain mind set to get into, and musically his works are rather difficult to pull off, in my opinion. His Concerto, which completes his Trombone Trilogy (along with the Sonatine and the Quartet) is his hardest work. While the last two movements are in a simple dance form, most likely owing to the subjugation of Poland to the Soviet State at the time, It is his first two movements where, much like Shostakovich, we can get a glimpse of frustration. In the second movement , in particular, we get a series of agonizing loud, high calls, which fade away in a bitter echo at the end of the movement. It is these musical considerations that make this piece to me very difficult to play. Physically speaking, this is also a very long, and high playing concerto with an almost unrelenting trombone part. This piece probably should be higher on my list now that I think of it.
           I had a tape once of a Japanese show where Joseph Alessi played this whole piece. If anyone has any info on said tape (which also featured Christian Lindberg playing Sandstrom's Don Quixote, Micheal Bequet, Scott Hartman, and Branmin Slokar!!!!) please let me know!
          On Cd this piece has been recorded by Lindberg.

9) Henri Tomasi: Concerto
          Another complex piece in which the player must be able to move fluidly through many musical styles, the Tomasi Concerto is a demanding work which places a high value on accurate intonation with different mutes, a very smooth legato style across all registers, and a good deal of endurance and pacing as well.
           The Tomasi has been recorded by (you guesses it!) Lindberg, Ronald Barron, Steven Witser, and most accomplished of all, in my opinion, by Jorgen Van Rijen.

10) Arthor Pryor: Blue Bells of Scotland
            The consumate turn of the centuary showpiece, as well as the epitome of a theme and variation style for the Trombone, the Blue Bells of Scotalnd features fast, fast playing and good technique, as well as some fast playing... and well.... fast playing. It had been around for quite some time now, but no list of the hardest trombone solos should be complete without it.
          This piece has been recorede by Mark Lawerence, Christian Lindberg, Joseph Alessi, Ian Bousfield, Bob Gillespie, Arthor Pryor himself, Larry Zinkald, and probably a few others.

Honerable Mentions:
Ferdinand David: Concerto
Richard Peaslee: Arrows of Time
Jan Sandstrom: Don Quixote
Johahn Altersberger: Concerto for Alto Trombone
Kalevhi Aho: Symphony No. 9 for Trombone and Orchestra
Stephen Rush: Rebellion
George Walker: Concerto
Jacques Casterade: Sonatine

Hope you enjoyed my list!


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