Concerto movement for solo trombone and wind orchestra

Instrumentation: trombone solo; 3 flutes – 3 oboes (also English horn) – 4 clarinets in B flat – saxophone I (soprano alternating with alto) – saxophone II (tenor alternating with baritone) – 3 bassoons – 4 horns – 3 trumpets – 4 trombones (the 4th also plays contrabass trombone and bass trombone)
World premiere:
Duration: 7'30''


The composition of this movement is characterized by a chain of successive chords, which are constantly interlocked and altered by different repetition and modulation procedures. Chromatic and whole-tone modulations are used alongside modulations by transpositions of a fourth and a fifth, which not only exert a forward-moving force, but are also used as a means of turning back.

In this way, each point in the chord chain can again become a new starting point, which of course always changes the structure of the chord chain. The forward-moving and persistent forces are thus always searching for balance, and I find the comparison with the movements of a caterpillar to be a very vivid way to describe the basic concept of the piece. The contraction of the body and the displacement of the individual parts of this body is not completely uniform even in a caterpillar, but still obeys general physical laws. The melodic lines of the trombone arise, so to speak, out of these harmonic caterpillar movements and become sublimated.

This concept would move the piece closer to a very alienated form of variation if it weren't for the simultaneous presence of significant breaks in its form, which can be clearly seen in the sequential treatment of the opening of the movement that assumes the character of a principal motive, and the seemingly ongoing attempts to form a coda—a process that bears a distant resemblance to rondo form. I prefer, however, the comparison with the movements of a caterpillar, because it describes the form of this movement more satisfactorily than traditional formal schemas. Another essential component is the intensification of the trombone sound. This intensification becomes especially prominent shortly before the end of the movement. Here, the glissandos of the solo trombone are complemented by the other four trombones and are transformed into a contrapuntally dominated and intoxicating glissando of a trombone quintet. In other words: the piece becomes increasingly »trombonized« …

This piece is part of the large-scale Trombone Concerto op. 22k, in the middle of which five movements are composed: No time for Melancholy – Interlude 1 – ... in lichten Fernen … ein traumhaft Glänzen –  Interlude 2 – Rituals.

The concerto is conceived in such a way that three of these movements can be performed individually. As individual works, however, they differ only slightly (and especially through different conclusions) from these movements.