With the start of a new academic year our faculty trio, Black Bayou Brass, is looking at some exciting new repertoire for upcoming concerts. As mentioned elsewhere on this site, the literature for brass trio (trumpet, trombone, horn) is often overshadowed by music for brass quintet. However, there are still some great pieces in the repertoire, and new compositions continue to be created. Here’s a look at some of the new works in our folder.
- Prelude and Fugue, Oskar Böhme, ed. Bodie Pfost: Ok, so it’s not exactly a “new” work, but it’s new to our group, and is a new edition, which is available for free online.
- La Grande Vitesse, Triple Concerto for Brass, James M. Stephenson: Commissioned by the Grand Rapids Symphony in 2009, this three-movement work bears the same name as the sculpture by Alexander Calder, which is located in Grand Rapids. Each of the solo parts includes the name of the player for which it was written (Erich Peterson, solo horn). We haven’t read through this one yet, but just looking at the parts it’s easily one of the more challenging works we have.
- French Suite, Joseph Blaha: Dr. Blaha is an Associate Professor of Music, and Director of Bands at Roanoke College in Salem, Virginia. This work was commissioned by the Contrapunctus Brass Trio, and premiered at the 44th International Horn Symposium in Denton, Texas. I was fortunate to get to hear a bit of the premiere from backstage since I was performing on the same concert, and also got to speak with the composer afterwards. After the symposium I contacted Dr. Blaha and was able to purchase a set of parts to this wonderful new brass trio. It contains the traditional dance movements one would find in a 17th or 18th century suite (Allemande, Courante, Sarabande, Gigue), but they have been modernized with chromatic harmonies and mixed meter, among other things. If you are looking for new brass trio music, this one is a great place to start.
- Suite for Trumpet, Horn and Trombone, Jean-François Michel: Michel (b. 1957) is a professor at the Haute Ecole de Musique in Fribourg, and is a prolific composer and arranger for brass. Like Blaha’s French Suite, Michel’s composition puts a new twist on a traditional form, with plenty of great writing for all three instruments.
In addition to these original works, we are also busy creating our own arrangements. We will continue to read new material in the coming weeks, and begin to choose repertoire for our annual faculty artist recital from among them. At the same time, we are putting together our program for the NACWPI National Conference in November.