Gregory Robin
S.P.: for Solo Trombone
Unaccompanied tenor trombone

Louisville, Kentucky, United States
Publisher: Potenza Music
Date of Publication: 2014



Written for Steve Parker’s Language and Sound Project, this piece by Louisiana-based composer Gregory Robin, “explores the transitions between air, noise and pitch.” The piece lies within a conservative range, from F to f¹, and makes use of various extended techniques, including breath noises, flutter tongue, and whispering into the instrument with specifically notated consonants. It also calls for the trombonist to make use of a percussion brush inside the bell, with the goal of creating a duet between percussive effects and the trombone line. Performance notes contain a specific pronunciation guide as well as specific instructions for the use of the percussion brush.

The piece proceeds at a moderate tempo. In many cases, notated pitches are playable in first position, making it possible for the player to use their right hand for the percussive effects. In several places, there are rapid transitions between playing notes outside of first position and percussive effects played in the bell, which present logistical challenges. However, the main demands of this piece are not technical in nature, as range and other technical elements are fairly conservative. Its biggest challenge involves interpreting the musical gestures to create a convincing, dramatic performance. S.P. will be an interesting addition to a recital, and a good introduction to extended techniques for an undergraduate student.

Reviewer: Julia Broome-Robinson
Review Published February 2, 2019