James N. Meador
Reciprocity: for tenor trombone and contrabass tuba
optional parts for other combinations available

Conventry, , United Kingdom
Publisher: Warwick Music Limited
Date of Publication: 2008


Composed in 2005, this work is dedicated and written for two professional musicians in Iceland, Tim and Jessica Buzbee. The composer states that his concept and purpose was to provide a piece with a different sound that “really pushed the limits of each instrument and challenged the performers.” Toward this end, this unaccompanied duet explores the juxtaposition of melodies in each part, often separated by multi-octave gaps. The trombone stays mostly in the upper register, reaching as high as d2. In contrast, the tuba stays in the lower register, and frequently dips to extreme lower notes, reaching down to BBB-flat. The two parts are separated by as much as four octaves at times. Based on the ranges alone, this piece is most suitable for professionals or advanced collegiate performers. Frequent large leaps, aggressive rhythms, including a section designated as “hard funk rock,” and few rests only add to the performance challenges.

The work is composed in various sections, designated by different tempo markings,  without breaks or transitions between them. There is quite a bit of repetition as sections return in the form; for example, the sections at quarter note=120 are the fanfare style sections whenever they return, and other sections of the same tempo marking are similar to each other in musical content. A diagram of the form, ABCDBABA, almost reflects a chiasmic organization. Parts are included to allow for performance in various combinations of tenor trombone, bass trombone, and tuba. This is a highly inventive duet that could be a great addition to graduate level or professional recitals.


Reviewer: James Adams
Review Published January 31, 2019