Sonata for Trombone and Piano

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  • Commissioned by/written for
    Carl Lenthe
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  • Year revised
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My Sonata for Trombone and Piano was begun on Easter Sunday, April 8, 2007 and completed on the following Wednesday, April 11th. Ever since I had met Carl Lenthe, I was desirous of writing a work for him, a desire that only intensified after I heard him give a recital in the Fall of 2006. Since the work was to be a surprise, I had to consult with Lenthe's wife, Martha, in order to ascertain his favorite hymn, Create in Me a Clean Heart, O God. This hymn has been incorporated into the third movement of the present work. The themes in the trombone entrance in both of the first two movements are drawn from the musical letters contained in the dedicatee's full name, Carl Frederick Lenthe, using the German notation of H to represent the note B natural. I desired to present contrasting moods in the work, such that the first movement portrays the trombone in its most assertive mode, while the much more lyrical second movement, a sort of subdued waltz, emphasizes the beautiful tone of this instrument. After the third movement, which serves primarily as an interlude, the sonata concludes with a display of the technical capabilities of the instrument. In his youth,Ir played the trombone for several years. My memory dimmed by more than 40 years of being away from the instrument by the time of the writing of this work, I sought Lenthe's input for the work's more technical passages to insure playability. My work often displays Christian symbolism in certain ways, and the present work is no exception. The Ivesian dissonances that interrupt the hymn in the third movement are intended to portray musically the assaults by culture upon the Law of God, to which Christians seek, by the grace and strength of the Holy Spirit, to adhere.The hymn tune may optimally be performed by a second pianist situated off-stage to suggest the sustaining power of the faith of the Christian in every situation of life that confronts him.

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