Jean-François Michel
Emeraude : for four trombones

Vuarmens, , Switzerland
Publisher: Editions Bim
Date of Publication: 2013

Grade 4

Primary Genre: Trombone Ensembles - 4 trombones

Swiss composer Jean-François Michel was commissioned by trombonist Branimir Slokar to write a fitting endcap for his trombone quartet to perform in concert. Taking its title from the French word for emerald, Emeraude is a welcome new addition to the repertoire. Clocking in at just over five minutes, it is not a lofty or overly sophisticated composition but one that effectively demonstrates the trombone’s ability to sound noble and expressive without relying on melodic phrasing to achieve the effect. Michal opens the work with a set of simple motifs that are introduced by each performer, entering from offstage in succession. Some parts request that  the trombonists play with their back to the audience in typical call and response fashion. The final Allegro vivo is an exciting and dissonant sprint to the finish line. The piece calls for straight and cup mutes and employs effects such as portato and glissandi. Range extends from d2 in the first trombone part down to FF in the bass trombone part. Some sections are written in tenor clef and there is an occasional appearance of odd meter. Dynamics are clearly marked and it is obvious that Michel has taken great care in utilizing them to achieve the desired effect. This is a gem that you surely will not want to miss.

Reviewer: Thomas Pylinski
Review Published June 13, 2023