Armand Russell
Whimsical Pieces: for trombone and piano
for Trombone and Piano

Vancouver, BC, , Canada
Publisher: Cherry Classics Music
Date of Publication: 2016


Armand Russell is Professor Emeritus of the University of Hawaii. He was professor at the M?noa campus from 1961-1994, where he taught music theory, composition, and was chair of the music department for seven years. Whimsical Pieces covers a range of G-a1, is entirely in bass clef, and is written in six movements. The first, “Problematic Prelude,” is chromatic and dissonant. It begins and ends with slow 5/4 sections, with a 5/8 Vivo section in the middle. The second movement, “Developing Dance,” is straightforward with its ‘cakewalk’ rhythms, and contains challenging intervallic figures. Perhaps the most melodically satisfying movement is the third, “Introspective Interlude,” which calls for cup mute. “Diverting Departure,” fourth, is almost entirely rhythmic, asking the pianist to knock with the knuckles on the instrument and the trombonist to ‘pop’ the hand on the mouthpiece. It is in a rapid 10/16 meter. The fifth movement, “Intrepid Intermezzo,” is played with straight mute in a lilting 3/8 meter. It is a good study in reading accidentals. “Robust Rondo” ends the piece, rollicking along in 6/8 and also presenting challenging accidentals and intervals. This work is definitely a diversion from the typical high school contest solo. Since most high school festivals do not allow a student to play an entire piece due to time limits, perhaps movements III and V would work well. While this does not contain melodies which one can ‘latch’ onto, it might best serve an advanced high school or early college player as a study piece for intervallic and ear-training work, and rhythm.


Reviewer: JoDee Davis
Review Published January 31, 2019