Phil Brink
Unaccompanied bass trombone

Vancouver, BC, , Canada
Publisher: Cherry Classics Music
Date of Publication: 1973 / 2017

Score. Grade 7.


Originally composed in 1973 by Philip Brink during his graduate studies at the University of Illinois, Exegesis comes to the trombone community as a reminder of the experimentation that was occurring on the American recital stage in the 60’s and 70’s. A tour de force for the bass trombone, Exegesis exhausts the possibilities of the trombone within the framework of a unique musical language. Though the work is relatively short, the range is a challenge spanning from EE-flat to d-flat2. Rhythm is free, with the notation meant to provide an approximation making the pacing of this piece a thing to be tackled by only the most experienced performer.

Exegesis requires the performer to employ multi-phonics with a degree of dexterity. Not only is the performer to sing, but also to change their oral cavity to pronounce different vowels throughout held notes. Running the gamut of extended techniques, this work calls for quarter tones, flutter tongue, and glissando all within two short pages.


Musically, Exegesis appears to be interval driven and motivic in its focus and develops, primarily, out of sequence. Often, the musical material demands wide leaps at a quick tempo and sometimes physically awkward runs. If a performer is willing to accept the challenge, they will find Exegesis to be deeply artistically satisfying to perform and a wonderful addition to any program.

Reviewer: Joe Murrell
Review Published January 31, 2019