Stuart P. O'Neil
Machinery: Four Pieces:
six trombones and percussion

Vancouver, BC, , Canada
Publisher: Cherry Classics Music
Date of Publication: 2011

Primary Genre: Trombone Ensembles - 6 trombones

Stuart P. O’Neil is a teacher and composer whose compositions for choir, concert band, jazz band, and various chamber ensembles have been performed across the Midwest U.S. Machinery is written for 6-part trombone ensemble and percussion and contains four pieces entitled “Machine,” “Rush Hour,” “Suspension Bridge,” and “Assembly Line.” Each piece has its own character, depicting the different scenes suggested by their titles. The work explores the trombone’s glissandi capabilities and is filled with driving jazz-rock influenced rhythms, unique combinations of various percussion instruments, and interplay between the trombone and percussion parts. The 6-part trombone ensemble should be performed by four tenors and two bass trombones, however, the fifth part may be covered by a tenor if necessary. The first trombone part contains most of the melodic lines throughout the piece and is more active than the other tenor parts, which serve to drive the rhythm. “Assembly Line” opens with the sixth part, written for bass trombone, laying down a bass line which shifts between the pedal and trigger registers. The percussion parts vary in instrumentation between pieces, with “Machine” requiring only two players while the complex “Assembly Line” requires seven players. O’Neil provides specific instructions for each percussion instrument and states that “the percussion parts in these pieces are not particularly difficult and do not necessarily need to be played by percussionists.” This energetic piece is accessible to college level players; it is an excellent choice for collaboration between trombonists and percussionists.

Reviewer: Russell Ballenger
Review Published June 15, 2023