Review


Rodney Oakes
Divertimento:
3 tenors, 1 bass trombone

Verona, NJ, United States
Publisher: Seesaw Music
Date of Publication: 2019
URL: http://www.subitomusic.com

Score

Genre: TROMBONE ENSEMBLES

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 traditional Divertimento (diversion or amusement) can be defined as a piece of instrumental music for smaller ensembles. They were most prevalent in the 18th century and were meant as light or entertaining works to be performed at social gatherings. Divertimento was first performed at the International Trombone Festival at the University of Iowa in 2018 by the Minor 4th Trombone Quartet. It alternates between homophonic episodes and sections of imitative counterpoint. There is a wide variety of fairly traditional melodic material with the harmonies being mostly quartal. The writing takes advantage of the trombone’s ability to showcase a multitude of dynamic contrasts. All the parts share equally in the melodic material, with the bass trombone featured in its lowest register. This can be performed by a good undergraduate level ensemble. Paper, layout and printing are all first class.

Reviewer: Karl Hinterbichler
Review Published July 31, 2020