Review


Rémi Bouchard
Prairie Desert:
Trombone and piano

Crapaud, PE, , Canada
Publisher: Pine Grove Music
Date of Publication: 2003
URL: http://www.pinegrovemusic.com

Score and solo part

Genre: SOLO MATERIALS

Rémi Bouchard was born in Laurier, Manitoba in 1936, and for many years he has lived in Neepawa, Manitoba, where he teaches piano. He is well-known across Canada both as a composer and as an adjudicator. Of his more than 500 compositions to date, most are for piano. Prairie Desert, written in 1980, is dedicated to Robert Fraser, bass trombonist of the Victoria Symphony in British Columbia. The title references the semi-arid Spirit Sands in Spruce Woods Provincial Park, Carberry, Manitoba, near the composer’s home. Movement of the sand may produce song-like tones; and for the Anishinabe People, the area, which is of great natural beauty, is also of great spiritual significance.

 

The piece is written throughout in 4/4 meter and in B-flat major. Tonally, it is ambiguous, employing many sequential 7th chords in the piano part and ending on a B-flat7 chord. Subtle cross rhythms are developed in the piano part with subdivision of the beat into three, five and six and back again to three, evoking the ever-shifting sands.

 

The melodic style is appealing, and the trombone part presents no significant difficulties. Range is F-a-flat1; the shortest note values are eighths. This is an unusual and interesting piece at a level of approximately Grade 4, and I think recital audiences will find it to be an especially enjoyable selection.

Reviewer: Keith Davies Jones
Review Published January 31, 2019