Henry Wolking
Brass Trio: B-flat trumpet, trombone, tuba

Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada
Publisher: Cherry Classics Music
Date of Publication: 2021

Score and parts.

Primary Genre: Brass Ensemble - 3 brass

Trombonist and composer Henry Wolking has a long history of writing for brass. In 1973 he received a composition award from the International Trombone Association. His trombone concerto Trombone Tales was commissioned and premiered by Larry Zalkind in 1994.  Recently retired after a successful teaching career at the University of Utah, he now devotes his time to composing and conducting. Prognosis for brass trio is his latest work for brass.

The work is cast in four short movements. Each movement title humorously notifies the audience of the compositional process they are about to hear. The first movement, Chromatic Disorder, features rapid chromatic movement and a fast exchange of motives between the instruments. Wolking describes Common Tone Cold as a gentle lullaby. It features beautiful, expansive melodic writing. Its melodies often begin on the same note on which the preceding phrase ended. Here the upper part is for flugelhorn, lending to the mellow nature of the movement. Take A PentaTonic cycles quickly through pentatonic scales connected by a common tone. It is in 6/8 meter and again features a rapid dialogue between the instruments. The final movement, Your Bill, Payable in C Notes, brings the trio to a rollicking close. The note C finds its way into every beat of the movement.

Prognosis is a fun-loving yet challenging work. Its technical and range demands fall comfortably within the abilities of college-level brass players. The brass trio genre is relatively neglected; this is a welcome addition to the repertoire.

Reviewer: Paul Overly
Review Published June 24, 2023