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Scampata#2 (1983)


I.     Quodlibet

II.    Nocturne (Elsa's Procession to the Cathedral)

available from the composer

duration ca. 17:00



for trumpet (in C), trombone, piano four-hands

Program note

This humorous and peculiar piece was written both to honor my brother's wedding and to be a finale for a joint recital by a pair of good friends who were a trumpeter and a trombonist. A scampata is a noisy, comic serenade played outside of the homes of newlyweds or obnoxious townspeople to either amuse or annoy them. The first movement, Quodlibet, alternates a slow, quasi-recitative idea with an allegro scherzando fugal passage and a fanfare, the whole being an odd and unrecognizable variation on the Wedding March from Mendelssohn's Midsummer Night's Dream. A bit of a Beethoven String Quartet and Brahms' Third Symphony are thrown in for good measure. The second movement, Nocturne (Elsa's Procession to the Cathedral) takes the well known piece from Wagner's Lohengrin through several variations and distortions. At the climax of the movement other bits of Wagner--the Tristan and Isolde Love-Death music and a bit of Die Walkyrie--are superimposed or juxtaposed with Elsa's Procession. The piece moves from common practice period tonality to Hindemithian extended tonality to Ivesian polytonality to a few unabashedly atonal moments, in the spirit of the original scampata..

Scampata #2 was premiered at the University of Chicago'd Goodspeed Recital Hall on November 3, 1983, by Norman Birge, trumpet; Christopher Coleman, trombone​, and Jay Rosenblatt and Tom Barrett, piano​​.

Technical notes:

Difficulty: advanced college. The biggest problem I have encountered in previous performances is the climax of the second movement, which requires the trumpeter to play the Tristan theme in 6 (notated as quarter note triplets) against the trombonist's Elsa theme in 4, with the pianists moving back and forth between the two.

Score - composer's manuscript. Pianists have the full score. Brass have a brass score with both parts. Page turns okay.

Range: Trumpet: G below middle C to B above the treble clef staff. Tessitura largely within the staff.

Trombone: Pedal A (one only-- next low note is E above it) to high B a seventh above middle C. Tessitura within the bass and tenor clef staves. Notated in both bass and tenor clef.

Extended Techniques: playing in proportional notation out of tempo against other parts in tempo for all players, trumpet half-valve glisses and jazz shake, doit, and fall-off, trombone flutter-tongue, singing and playing simultaneously for both brass players.

This piece requires harmon, cup, and straight mutes for the brass players.

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