Friday, February 22, 2019
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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)

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