Ewa Fabianska-Jelinska
Sol –solo Dio:
12 tenor and four bass trombones

No place, , Poland
Date of Publication: 2019

Score and parts

Primary Genre: Trombone Ensembles - 9+ trombones (choir)

Following graduation with honors from the Paderewski Academy of Music, Poznan, Poland, Ewa Fabianska-Jelinska completed postgraduate composition studies at the Universität für Musikund darstellende Kunst in Vienna and received her Ph.D. in composition at the Paderewski Academy of Music in 2016. Her works have been performed in Poland and at prestigious cultural events in Austria, the Czech Republic, Estonia, Germany, Ireland, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Norway, Slovenia, Sweden, Ukraine, South Korea and the United States. Her husband, Wojciech Jeliński, is a noted trombonist, for whom she has written a number of works for trombone and trombone ensembles:

Sol –solo Dio is scored for 16 trombones: 12 tenors, 4 basses. The composer drew inspiration from two disparate sources, the 19th century violin virtuoso, Niccolo Paganini (1782-1840) and the Catholic Priest, Dolindo Ruotolo (1882-1970). Paganini, in order to make his performances even more spectacular, would break off the top three strings of his violin, performing beautifully only on the G (sol) string. Thus the sol of the title. Dolindo Ruotolo wrote an extraordinary number of letters, in addition to theological, ascetic and mystical tomes. He is also revered as a prophet when in 1965 he predicted: a new John will rise out of Poland with heroic steps to break the chains beyond the boundaries imposed by the communist tyranny. This came to pass under Pope John Paul II when Lech Walesa headed Solidarity, the Soviet bloc’s first independent trade union that ultimately defeated communism in Poland. Father Ruotolo wrote: In old age, it seems as if the strings of human activity are torn apart, one after the other. And only one remains, and on this one you can play the triumphant sound of eternity: solo Dio (only God).

The first section of this piece consists of the note G (sol), in various octaves, dynamics, colors, breaths, humming, mutes, etc. and articulations. As that note continues other pitches start to compete with the G and the music turns into a cacophony of clusters. Eventually the G reemerges in a thunderstorm of fortississimo dynamics, followed immediately by the most delicate colorings of the note. The next section is a series of solo melodies interspersed by clusters that rise and then subside in intensity and volume. Emerging out of the clusters the G returns gradually and the piece ends with a sung reiteration of the text, Solo Dio (only God), fading to pianississimo.

This is a thoughtful and interesting piece of music that takes full advantage of the sonic and expressive possibilities of the trombone choir. This same composer has also created a shorter, more conventional, recent piece for eight trombones titled Fanfara:

Reviewer: Karl Hinterbichler
Review Published June 24, 2023