Rodney Oakes
3 tenors, 1 bass trombone

Verona, NJ, United States
Publisher: Seesaw Music
Date of Publication: 2018


Primary Genre: Trombone Ensembles - 4 trombones

Trombonist/composer/author/educator Rodney Oakes (b.1937) holds BA and MA degrees in music from San Diego State University, and the DMA from University of Southern California. He has taught electronic music and directed the PACE (Program for Accelerated College Education) at Los Angeles Harbor College where he currently is an Emeritus Professor and teaches humanities and music. As a composer, Oakes has worked in a wide range of mediums and composed chamber music, musicals, works for jazz ensemble as well as numerous works for trombone and electronics. As a trombonist, Oakes has pioneered the use of the trombone combined with electronic devices and has performed throughout the United States and Europe. His works are published by Seesaw and Kjos and a number have been recorded on the Cambria, Living Music, iii Records, Nine Winds and Innova labels. He has won numerous awards including a Rockefeller Grant; an NEA grant; a Fulbright Senior Lectureship to the Academy of Music in Krakow, Poland; and ASCAP Standard Awards since 1987.

The rondeau is originally a verse form from the middle ages and also one of the formes fixes applied to musical settings of the middle ages. The latter only uses two musical ideas that alternate in a preset manner. That is also the case in this quartet; there are two musical ideas that alternate and are developed. Both display the lyrical aspects of the trombone and are interwoven throughout all the parts. There are also opportunities for all the parts to improvise solos even though the composer has also supplied written out solos in all parts. The melodic lines are tonal/modal while the accompanying harmonies are often quartal. Technical demands are minimal; it can be performed by a good, undergraduate level quartet. Paper, layout and printing are all first class.

Reviewer: Karl Hinterbichler
Review Published June 24, 2023