Daniel Kessner
Concerto Grosso No. 3 : for solo tenor trombone, solo bass trombone and trombone quartet
six trombones and/or choir

Van Nuys, California, United States
Publisher: Theodore Front Musical Literature
Date of Publication: 2016

score and parts

Primary Genre: Trombone Ensembles - 6 trombones
Secondary Genre: Solo Tenor Trombone - with brass

Daniel Kessner studied with Henri Lazarof at the University of California, Los Angeles, where he received his Ph.D. with Distinction in 1971. He is presently Emeritus Professor of Music at California State University Northridge, where he taught composition and theory from 1970 through 2006. His compositions have received numerous awards and grants, with the current catalog listing more than 150 works, including two others for trombone: Incantations for trombone and percussion (1984) and Four Scenes for Trombone and Piano (2015).

The concerto grosso form dates back to the baroque era and normally features two or more soloists (concertino) accompanied by a larger ensemble (ripieno). After the baroque, the form was rarely utilized again until the 20th century. It was then embraced by a number of distinguished composers including Stravinsky, Bloch, Vaughan Williams, and Heitor Villa-Lobos. In the Kessner the two solo trombones form the concertino and the trombone quartet forms the ripieno. Although scored for a quartet, the composer recommends a larger ripieno, such as a trombone choir. The parts are cued so that it may be performed either with or without a conductor. Creative stage arrangements are encouraged, especially those that bring out the antiphonal nature of the piece, with the soloists placed on opposite sides of the ensemble, and even somewhat distant.

The Concerto is cast in a single, continuous movement with several distinct sections. Markings in the score give clues to some of the moods created in the various sections: Drammatico, Sostenuto, Allegretto un poco scherzando, and Freely impassioned.

The rhythmic and technical aspects of this work are fairly traditional and within the grasp of a good university group. Much of the harmonic and melodic content is polytonal, with the simultaneous use of two keys, often a half step apart.


Reviewer: Karl Hinterbichler
Review Published June 15, 2023