As promised, here are some videos of our faculty brass trio’s performance this past summer at the 2017 International Women’s Brass Conference at Rowan University. Thanks to Dr. Amy Bliss for making this recording available! The videos below are of the most substantial work we performed, Scenes from the Bayou, which we commissioned from Dr. Gina Gillie. It is an energetic and accessible new work for brass trio, and I am pleased to announce that we will be recording it – along with several other recent compositions for brass trio – in early 2018. Enjoy! NB: There is a small typo in the title screen for movement 4 – it should read “Cypress Trees.”
This week I didn’t write my own review, but will instead be sharing excerpts from a review of some brass trio arrangements I published through Cimarron Music Press. This very kind review by Jeffrey Snedeker appears in the February 2012 issue of The Horn Call (cover image at left), and looks at the following arrangements of works by Arcangelo Corelli and W.A. Mozart.
Trio Sonata Op. 2, No. 1
Trio Sonata Op. 3, No. 2
Divertimento I from Five Divertimenti for Three Bassett Horns, K. 439b
Divertimento III from Five Divertimenti for Three Bassett Horns, K.439b
Allegro from Divertimento for Violin, Viola and Cello, K. 563
Snedeker opens his review by summarizing the current state of affairs in brass trio music.
The repertoire for brass trio (usually trumpet, horn, and trombone) has a few good original works (Poulenc, Sanders, and Marek come to mind immediately), but this combination also has a growing collection of arrangements…James Boldin, horn teacher at the University of Louisiana at Monroe, has found some nice works from the Baroque and Classical periods that, taken together, provide a balanced diet for both younger and more experienced players. (The Horn Call, Vol. XLII, No. 2, Feb. 2012, p. 80)
He goes on to offer a very historically informed review of the arrangements, and also makes an excellent suggestion for improving one of the pieces.
I did miss the original movement titles for the op. 2, which I think would give a little more insight into the desired styles, even with the metronome markings included; for example to know the latter two are a Corrente and a Gavotte is more helpful than two Allegros. Also, the Largo second movement is actually Allegro in the original-an easy fix by Cimarron in future printings. (Ibid., p. 80)
Snedeker is right on the money with his suggestion, and I don’t really know why the movement titles were left off in publication. I must have missed it when I went over the proof, but I plan to pass this information along to Cimarron. The remainder of the review is in general very positive – for the full article you’ll have to pick up a copy of the most recent Horn Call. I know that Professor Snedeker must receive many more submissions than he could possibly review for each issue, and I appreciate his taking the time to consider my materials so thoroughly. Here are his closing thoughts on these arrangements.
In the end, all five pieces chosen for arrangement are excellent for different reasons, whether for technical demands or musical challenges, and are highly recommended for both school and professional brass chamber libraries. (Ibid., p. 80)
If you are a member of a small brass ensemble and are looking for some new repertoire, I encourage you to check out these arrangements. I think they work quite well, and can provide some breadth and variety to your next performance. For a sample of one of these arrangements, here’s the closing section from the last movement of Mozart’s Divertimento I, K. 439b. This recording actually predates the publication of these arrangements, and the performers are Marilynn Gibson, trumpet, James Boldin, horn, and Micah Everett, trombone. The recording is from a live performance on February 4, 2010. This section is notable for the mid and low range workout for the horn player.