Elizabeth Raum
Four Elements:
Violin and trombone

Vancouver, BC, , Canada
Publisher: Cherry Classics Music
Date of Publication: 1980 / 2015



Water, the first Element, introduces listeners to Raum’s angular melodies which frequently change direction and make use of half step intervals. In the second Element, Earth, the two melodic lines play off each other, making use of glissando and a swing-like, 12/8 feel to bring out the score’s marking of “In jazz style, humorous.” The third Element, Air, begins with an unmeasured section utilizing multiphonics for trombone and multiple stops for violin. An alternate version without multiphonics is provided as well. From there, slow measured and unmeasured sections provide both players opportunities for musical nuance. Fire, the final Element, lives up to its name with fast, aggressive, rhythmic motives. The work’s range, D-flat-f1, is not overly taxing, remaining primarily within the staff throughout, which helps with balance between the instruments. Raum’s attention to the issue of balance can also be seen in her dynamic markings, contrasting rhythms between the parts, and use of a cup mute in the first movement. This work, which has also been arranged by the composer for trumpet and trombone, provides ample musical challenges and expressive possibilities for both performers; it will make a delightful addition to a recital program.

Reviewer: Jeremy Kolwinska
Review Published January 31, 2019