Review


Laurie Matthew Duncan
Sonata No.1 :
Trombone and piano

Crapaud, PE, , Canada
Publisher: Pine Grove Music
Date of Publication: 2012

Score and solo part. Grade 5.

Genre: SOLO MATERIALS

Laurie Duncan was born in Winnipeg in 1956. From 2010 through 2013, he wrote a cycle of 14 instrumental sonatas - for horn, trombone (2), ‘cello, clarinet, double bass, muted trumpet, flute (2), tenor saxophone, violin (2), bassoon and oboe. Sonata No.1 for trombone was written in 2011 and is dedicated to me. The first performance was given in Toronto in May 2012 by Dale Sorenson and Vanessa May-lok Lee. Steve Dyer gave the Winnipeg premiere with the composer at the piano in November 2015.

 

There are three movements, Vivace (3:45), Lento (4:30) and Animato (4:15). The first movement is a study on the interval of a fourth. At first the two instruments seem to be playfully at odds with each other but quickly align into partnership. A cup mute is required for several passages in the first movement and for all of the second movement, which the composer likens to a procession. The third movement opens explosively with the two instruments taking on a competitive role that includes a fugue, a tribute to the major contribution to the trombone literature by Paul Hindemith. The work ends quietly, with the trombone part scored with cup mute, returning to a re-iteration of the interval of a 4th and marked peaceful (very distant).

 

Laurie has written well for the trombone, giving it both an assertive and a lyrical role. Adequate measures of rest are included in its part. Tessitura is comfortable. Overall range is DD–b-flat1. The piano part is quite difficult. Many chords span a ninth; a pianist with large hands is needed. This is an excellent addition to the still somewhat meager list of extended solo works for the trombone, and is the only Trombone Sonata listed on-line to date by the Canadian Music Centre (CMC).

Reviewer: Keith Davies Jones
Review Published January 31, 2019