Friday, February 22, 2019
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High School Advanced Solos

3rd through 6th year students; increased range and technical difficulty.


composer: Richard Lane
title: Song
publisher: BIM
level: High School - Advanced
range: concert Ab’’

Richard Lane's Song was composed in 1972 for Derek Smith, father of famed trumpeter, Phil Smith.

The single-movement composition is lyrical throughout, and calls upon expressive playing from the performer. Beautiful, extended melodic lines are displayed in logical phrases.

Challenges for the performer include a wide pitch range, subtle and soft expressions, and fluid sustained playing with minimal rests.

With a performance length of just over 5 minutes, Song can make a nice lyrical addition to a solo recital or church offertory or prelude.

A recording can be found on Phil Smith's album "New York Legends".




Tenebrae (for Trumpet and Organ)

composer: David Sampson
title: Tenebrae
publisher: BIM
level: High School - Advanced
range: concert Bb’’

Composer David Sampson (b. 1951) wrote Tenebrae in 2005. The title, Tenebrae, refers to the most-solemn christian service traditionally corresponding with Maundy Thursday of Holy Week. This single movement work represent the solemn and serious nature of the Tenebrae service.

Composed for trumpet and organ, the work contains contemporary harmonies and expanded tonality throughout. A beautifully expressive melodic line in the trumpet soars over full and increasingly agitated chordal structures in the organ.

Challenges for the trumpeter include angular leaps performed in a lyrical style (often slurred), and long asymmetrical phrases. A wide pallet of dynamics are called for, often in long sustained passages. With a performance length of a little over 5 minutes, there are few rests for trumpet, which makes the piece surprisingly challenging.

Communication with the organist is important. Each part is very independent, which creates challenges surrounding ensemble congruence.

Tenebrae is an excellent modern composition and recent addition to the trumpet repertoire. The composition works nicely as an introspective piece on a trumpet/organ recital or in a religious service.

A recording of Tenebrae can be heard on the editor's album Lux et Lapis (Curvepoint Media, 2014)


Remember Forward

composer: James Stephenson
title: Remember Forward
publisher: Stephenson Music
level: High School - Advanced
range: concert B’’

Composer James Stephenson composed Remember Forward in 2009 for trumpeter Bob Sullivan in remembrance of his wife, Robin.

For solo trumpet and piano, the piece is thoughtfully constructed in many ways. The composer treats much of the composition as a musical question. In his words: "There are at times harmonies unanswered; melodies unfinished; rhythmic ambiguity, and times of hope mixed with despair."

The composition is a beautiful homage, with inspiration drawn from Copland and Bernstein.

As with many lyrical works, there are subtle challenges for the performer including accuracy, and delicate passages. There are extreme dynamic indications. This composition also contains a wide dynamic and pitch range, with some angularity (large leaps) in a few spots. A fundamental command of the C trumpet will serve best, especially for a few high concert B's.

The musical context, range, melodic understanding, and the recommended performance on C Trumpet, create an excellent work for the developing high school or undergraduate performer.


Fantasy for Trumpet

composer: Walters, David L.
title: Fantasy for Trumpet
publisher: Belwin Mills
level: High School - Advanced
range: concert Ab’’

Fantasy for Trumpet is a short, tuneful work for trumpet and piano. Approximately 4 minutes in length, this utility work can serve as a contest or solo festival selection for the advanced high school trumpeter.

Fantasy for Trumpet is a solid composition in it's construction. The piece centers around two main themes, one slow, one fast. The shifts in tempo are deliberate and straight-forward. There are logical and ample rests for the trumpeter. If the performer counts carefully, synchronizing the trumpet and piano is not a problem.

There are opportunities for the performer to demonstrate musical expression, range, and technique. The technical passages are tuneful, logical, and scale-based. Performance challenges include shaping long, lyrical phrases, attention to various articulations and slur patterns, and maintaining the indicated style at both slow and fast tempos.

Reviewer's note: Fantasy for Trumpet is an excellent choice for the more advanced high schooler. This composition also works for the developing college student who needs a shorter recital selection option. The bulk of the trumpet writing is in the staff, with only a few climbs in the upper register.


A Song from the Heart

composer: Eric Ewazen
title: A Song from the Heart
publisher: Theodore Presser Co.
level: High School - Advanced
range: concert Ab’’

Well-known for his prolific writing for brass instruments, Eric Ewazen has contributed several wonderful compositions to the contemporary trumpet repertoire. A Song from the Heart is among those compositions.

A Song from the Heart (2007) was composed as a single movement work for trumpet and piano. The mood throughout, is a beautiful lyrical melody with contemporary, colorful harmonies. Contemplative in character, the length is around seventh minutes. There are Bb and C parts available to the trumpeter.

There are many opportunities in this composition for the developing performer. Notably,there are several opportunities to make musical decisions on shapes, phrasing, and contour of the beautiful melodic line, while developing a consistent sound concept through all registers. Wide slurred leaps require accuracy, control, and flexibility.

Rhythmically, the composition is very straight-forward with only a few subtle meter changes. The trumpet and piano parts function as a straight-forward tune with accompaniment, so ensemble challenges are minimal.

Although the pitch range is wide, endurance should not be a factor. Most of the writing is in the staff, and there are ample rests for the trumpet.

A Song from the Heart is an excellent addition to our trumpet repertoire. Their are many utility uses for a piece such as this. The composition makes a nice inner piece on a recital program and also works for a wedding, funeral, or church service. A Song from the Heart has been professionally recorded and released by trumpeter Charles Schlueter. Both B-flat and C trumpet parts are provided.


Concertino for Flugelhorn and Strings

composer: Ridout, Alan
title: Concertino for Flugelhorn and Strings
publisher: Emerson Edition, Ltd.
level: High School - Advanced
range: concert a’’

British composer and educator Alan Ridout (1934–1996) was a successful composer in many genres. He is perhaps most noted for his many compositions written for the developing musician, out of a need for new and interesting pieces for his own students to perform.

Concertino for Flugelhorn and Strings (1988) was composed in three short movements. In lieu of strings, a well-written piano part was also provided by the composer. Unlike the traditional fast-slow-fast form of the three-movement variety, this work is slow-fast-slow. The complete length is around six minutes.

There are many challenges and learning opportunities in this composition for the developing performer. Notably, this piece provides a platform for the student-performer to learn the intricacies of the flugelhorn, including the intonation challenges throughout the entire practical range of the instrument and developing a lyrical and fluid sound concept.

Other challenges include odd-meter and less familiar time signatures--the performer must navigate through 5/8 and 8/8 with various beat divisions and sub-divisions--and a few passages of aggresive and angular melodic contours.

Although the pitch range is wide, endurance should not be a factor. Most of the writing is in the staff, and there are ample rests for the flugelhorn.

Musically, the concertino is well written. Thoughtful melodies in the flugelhorn combine with complimentary percussive and accented lines in the accompaniment. Although tonal, several key areas are explored.

Reviewer's note: I have a used Ridout's Concertino in my studio as a chance for students to navigate through many of the challenges listed above. I have also used the piece on my own recitals as a nice, light change of programming and a chance to use the lyrical flugelhorn in a contemporary classical setting.


Six Esquisses

composer: Porret, Julien
title: Six Esquisses
publisher: M. Baron
level: High School Advanced
range: C'''

Julien Porret’s Six Esquisses (sketches) for trumpet and piano is perhaps a lesser-known collection of six short character pieces, which are excellent additions to the repertoire. Each movement is distinctive in style, almost reminiscent of light French “salon” pieces. The lyrical qualities in each movement unify the overall collection and allow many opportunities for expression and nuance.

Porret (1896–1979) was a composer and cornet player with influences in ragtime and early jazz and has several original French ragtime compositions to his credit.

Challenges for the performer include angular slurs and the necessity for fluid transition from the low to high registers. Rhythmically, there are several challenging passages with divisions and subdivisions in both simple and compound meter. The range is modest in the first four sketches, staying in the staff. The last two sketches extend up to a high C, with several B-flats.

The piano contribution is decisively an accompaniment part. The piano parts are very accessible and easily align with the trumpet solo.

Some movements are more challenging than others. Certainly one or two movements can be extracted from the collection for a lighter, inner work on a recital.



composer: Smallman, Jeff
title: Melancholy
publisher: Eighth Note Publications
level: High School Advanced / College
range: Bb''

Melancholy is a 3-minute lyrical solo for trumpet and piano, which is appropriate for a variety of performance settings. As the title suggests, the style is reflective, with well-written melodic ideas. This solo would be an excellent choice for a church offertory, wedding prelude, or a brief lyrical addition to a solo recital.

Challenges include large leaps, some slurred, within lyrical passages. The performer must maintain control in the areas of phrasing, tempo, and intonation.

Pedagogically, this solo provides an excellent opportunity for students to work on beauty of sound, phrasing, and vibrato.

The piano part is collaborative in nature and very accessible. Combining the trumpet part with piano is made easy with clear pulses during the trumpeters rests. The form is a gentle A-B-A.

From the liner notes: "The work is based on the French poem Il Pleure Dans Mon Coeur (It Rains in My Heart).


Petite Rhapsody for Trumpet

composer: Uber, David
title: Petite Rhapsody for Trumpet
publisher: Kendor
level: High School Advanced
range: b" (optional d''')
description: Petite Rhapsody was composed in 1977 for noted trumpet artist, Gerard Schwarz. Originally scored for solo trumpet and brass choir, the piece was later scored for concert band and for piano. Since the original solo part may be too difficult for the advanced student player, an easier part is provided as well. In this alternate part, cadenzas have been simplified and the overall range of the composition lowered. It is this version that is recommended for the Advanced High School level.

According to the cover notes: “The Rhapsody should be performed in a free, easy style but with strict adherence to all dynamic markings. The opening solo theme is to be played with a smooth legato, lyrical style.” The primary difficulties include the rapid finger-work, many accidentals, cadenzas, and interpretive requirements. These are also the opportunities provided by the piece for the developing musician. The piece itself contains several contrasting sections in a rather free-flowing form.



composer: Turrin, Joseph
title: Caprice
publisher: Brass Music Ltd.
level: High School Advanced
range: c#’”
description: Caprice is a very accessible modern work that is also exciting and fun to play. It requires fast finger technique and an easy c#’’’, but it offers the opportunity to develop air flow throughout the rapid finger work. The piece consists of alternating fast and slow, melodic sections, ending with a rapid 16th note run up to the c#’’’.

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