Rodney Oakes
Machaut Variations, No.2:
3 tenors, 1 bass trombone

Verona, NJ, United States
Publisher: Seesaw Music
Date of Publication: 2019


Primary 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.

This work was originally composed for the OGOGO trombone trio with an electronic accompaniment. This version was released on Nine Winds Records in 2012. It was expanded to a version for trombone quartet and premiered by the Elysian Trombone Consort at the ITA Festival at Columbus State University (GA) in 2013. It consists of a set of variations on a ballade for three voices, Jepuis trop bien ma dame comparer, by the medieval composer, Guillaume de Machaut. First the tune, with an added fourth part, is introduced, then each variation features a different member of the quartet in a soloistic capacity; Var.1, trombone 1, Var.2, trombone 3, Var.3, bass trombone, Var.4, trombone 2. The opening theme is reprised at the end. The melodic writing is fairly conventional with moments of directed improvisation. This is for advanced performers with extended solos in every part. Paper, layout and printing are all first class.

Reviewer: Karl Hinterbichler
Review Published August 1, 2020