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Friday, May 3, 2013

My Back Pages*, chapter 2

In a recent e-mail I wrote to Dr. Steven Wolfinbarger, Western Michigan University's Professor of Trombone and a former teacher, I told him that it was apparent that I'd entered the "elder statesman" era of my musical career, as I felt I was being valued more for advice given than for notes played. In truth I'd known this day was coming for a while.  With everything I'd been doing in library school--one more chapter to read, one more article to review, one more paper or project to complete--and everything the kids have been doing, and trying to spend more time with my wife, not to mention take care of my physical/medical needs, it's a wonder I was able to play gigs as long as I have.

But back to the advice part.  The conductor of one of the orchestras with which I play asked for "a word" during break.  I listen as he starts talking about concertos.  Could it be? Am I finally going to get my turn? About 30 seconds in it becomes apparent that he's not talking about me, but rather the orchestra's annual young artist's competition.

Sigh.

So the upshot is that he's tired of the same old, same old (piano/violin/cello tend to dominate these things for a variety of reasons) and wants to change things up (and quite a bit). His idea is to have one division for "the usuals" and one for older students with brass and percussion alternating years with woodwinds, starting with brass in 2014. I told him I liked the idea, and when he asked for suggestions on required pieces for the competition, I jumped right in. After consulting with Dr. Wolfinbarger and others, and a double-check of the Texas UIL Prescribed Music List, I came up with the following list:

Tenor Trombone or Euphonium--
David--Concertino, Op. 4
Gregson--Concerto (beginning to rehearsal 17 or rehearsal 12 to the end)
Grondahl--Concert (two movements)
Guilmant--Morceau Symphonique
Larsson--Concertino Op. 45 #7 (two movements)

Bass Trombone or Tuba--
Gregson--Concerto (two movements)
Lebedev--Concerto #1 (a/k/a Concerto in One Movement)
Vaughan Williams--Concerto for Bass Tuba (first movement only)

Any brass players out there who know the literature as played by high schoolers and would like to comment, please do.

I don't think I'm going to mind being an "elder statesman".  Maybe it's my turn now. Cheers.

*--Bob Dylan, Another Side of Bob Dylan, 1964 (Columbia)
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