Wills Street Song Variations

16 Trombones

  • Wills

    Street Song Variations [duet feature w/14 trombones]

    20th Century. For 2 solo trombones (offstage - one left and one right), plus 14 trombones (16 players total). Written for the University of North Texas Trombone Choir and premiered at the 2002 International Trombone Festival in Denton, Texas.

    "The idea of writing for an unseen soloist was prompted by a drunken neighbour singing carols in our street late one evening. He sat in the road, cheerfully howling about glad tidings, to an utterly unrecognisable tune. The melody that these variations are based on is not the one he sang - no system of notation could write that one down - but it has a similarly lurching, asymmetrical quality. For the rest, I let the piece go where it wanted to go: the long and very demanding finale is a combination of variation and symphonic development. Notes on Performance The main group must be a double octet. This is partly for reasons of stamina (the piece takes 20 minutes to play) and partly to cover the divisi section in the finale. Though the ripieno is divided into two groups of four parts, this is mainly for the composer's convenience and they should not be separated by any great distance. The two soloists, however, should be a long way from the main choir and should if at all possible stand behind the audience, near to an exit so that the final recitative can be played from outside the hall. On no account should the solo players stand on the platform with the main group. I have only given a few metronome speeds, since I prefer performers to feel free of the composer breathing down their necks, but the marked tempo in the final presto should be taken as a minimum. It works best when taken at a monstrously fast rate, and it is important that when the "ritmo di tre battute" section is reached the tempo is rapid enough for the conductor to comfortably manage the 1 in a bar groups of three bars. The solo parts should be very free throughout. Always remember that beauty is only a fraction of expression. This composer intensely dislikes careful, pretty playing and when I write instructions like "really filthy slurs" I mean it! Similarly, the low tessitura of the alto trombone part is that way because of the edgy colour it gives. Enjoy the piece - and spare a thought for my neighbour's sore head the morning after!" -the composer

    • Category: 16 Trombones
    • Item: 046412
    • Grade/Level: Advanced
    • Price: $42.95

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