This is the fifth piece I’ve written for my good friend Jim Albrecht, after The Tower for trombone choir, Three Equale for four trombones, Voices from Medieval Times for trombone and saxophone, and Linea Instrumentalis for solo trombone. It’s the first containing a piano, and so I got to play it with him at the University of Reno and at Cleveland State University.
Jim requested a two movement slow-fast structure, and the resulting music fused the two movements into one, with an organic drama that I owe to my acquaintance with Chopin’s ballades. The slow part is built from two contrasting ideas: a long tragic trombone melody, and a tense dotted rhythm that plays between the two instruments. In the middle, variations on the melody grow to a climax on the tense rhythm. The fast part takes the once tragic melody and transforms it into a triumphant dance, as the earlier brooding atmosphere resolves with powerful, incessant energy.