Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Rimsky-Korsakov's Concerto for Trombone

Rimsky-Korsakov's Concerto for Trombone will be performed by the Lincoln Youth Symphony at their February concert, with Kyle Pearcy as the senior soloist. The concerto is part of the standard trombone literature.

The trombone is not usually thought of as a solo instrument. In his book on orchestration, Rimsky-Korsakov describes the trombone as "dark and threatening in the deepest register, brilliant and triumphant in the high compass. The piano is full but somewhat heavy, the forte powerful and sonorous. Valve trombones are more mobile than slide trombones, but the latter are certainly to be preferred as regards nobility and equality of sound, the more so in the fact that these instruments are rarely required to perform quick passages, owing to the special character of their tone."

Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov (1844-1908), a Russian romantic composer and professor of composition at the St. Petersburg Conservatoire, was also a naval officer who served as Inspector of Military Bands from 1873-1884. It is believed that the Concerto for trombone and military band was written around 1878. It was later arranged for trombone and orchestra, and for trombone and piano.

In the concerto, Rimsky-Korsakov uses the full range of the trombone and requires substantial technique for the 1st (Allegro vivace) and 3rd (Allegretto) movements (and the cadenzas) and musical lyricism for the middle movement (Andante cantabile). All the terms that Rimsky-Korsakov used to describe the trombone in his book on orchestration are found in the Concerto, except that he does require the solo trombone to perform quick passages.

The concerto is very listenable. You can catch the performance Sunday, February 12th, at 3 p.m. at Lincoln High School. And admission is free.

1 comment:

trayceetee said...

I took my daughters to an arts & music concert this past spring, and there was a trombone soloist--he was amazing! He did things with the trombone I'd have never thought possible. Unfortunately, I can't remember who he was, but I swear he was from Nebraska originally. Anyway, I was pleased, a few months later, when my younger daughter decided to take up the trombone in 5th grade band! (I played clarinet, myself.)