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Abschiedslied (1982)

published by Nichols Music/Ensemble Publications (2001)

duration ca. 9:00


for trombone sextet (or trombone choir)

Program Note

This nine minute work was written upon my departure from the University of Pennsylvania, after completing the coursework for my Master's degree in composition.  While there, I studied with George Rochberg, the composer arguably most associated with Neo-Romanticism and the return to tonality of academically-based composers. My composition lessons with him were steeped in the language of the late Romantic period--I not only composed short pieces in the style of composers such as Brahms and Mahler, but I also made transcriptions of selections of Mahler symphonies.  Abschiedslied (Song of Farewell) came out of work I composed in my final semester and is dedicated to my fellow survivor of various graduate school travails and dear friend Ingrid Arauco, who I have never seen since.  The musical language is that of the composers I studied, with an additional nod to Beethoven and his late string quartets. Structurally the piece is a large scale ternary form, with the outer sections consisting of a lyric melody in the upper parts accompanied by rapid arpeggiations throughout the rest of the ensemble. The central section is itself a five-part song form, with a hymn-like melody developed in alternation with a "breathless" solo appearing in the second tenor and first bass trombones.


Abschiedslied was premiered by the University of Georgia Trombone Choir, directed by Philip Jameson, on March 8, 1983, at the University of Georgia.


Technical notes

Scored for four tenor trombones (first may be performed on alto) and two bass trombones (second bass may be played on tuba).

Range: Low: Pedal G (bass trombone 2) and Pedal Ab (bass trombone 1). High: D a ninth above middle C. (first trombone), C an octave above middle C (second trombone), B a seventh above middle C (third trombone). Because of the tessitura, this piece works well as an ensemble piece, where players can spell one another if necessary.

Difficulty: college (for ensemble), advanced college (for sextet)

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