Ewa Fabiańska-Jelińska
Amnesia for Trombone Quartet:
Trombone Quartet: 3 tenor, 1 bass trombone

N.p., , Poland
Date of Publication: 2016

Score and parts.

Primary Genre: Trombone Ensembles

Following graduation with honors from the Paderewski Academy of Music, Poznań, Poland, Ewa Fabiańska-Jelińska completed postgraduate composition studies at the Universität für Musik und darstellende Kunst in Vienna and received her Ph.D. in composition from the Paderewski Academy of Music in 2016.
One of the leading composers of the younger generation, her works have been performed in Poland and at prestigious cultural events in Austria, the Czech Republic, Estonia, Germany, Ireland, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Norway, Slovenia, Sweden, Ukraine, South Korea, and the United States. Her husband, Wojciech Jeliński, is a noted trombone soloist/chamber musician, and currently principal trombone of the Poznan Philharmonic Orchestra. Her output spans a great variety of genres and includes a number of solo and ensemble works for trombone(s).

The composer shared the following information: The idée fixe of the composition Amnesia for trombone quartet (2016), dedicated to the Poznań ensemble TrombQuartet, is a process of remembering and forgetting, passing and transforming, inspired by the film Youth by Paolo Sorrentino, in which the theme of ‘oblivion’ is discussed. In the piece, the initiator of  those processes is the bass trombone, which also plays the role of the solo instrument. Various motivic ideas appearing in the part of that instrument, like snapshots of memory, return in the parts of the remaining trombones in completely different sound contexts. For example, the long-lasting ‘f’ note in the contra octave, which opens the piece, along with its course, takes on the function of harmonic basis for quintal chords, successively added in the parts of the remaining instruments; another characteristic motif derived from the bass trombone part, kept in the rhythm of a  triplet, is presented by the other instruments in an imitative and simultaneous way, taking on a fanfare character.

The musical ideas are a successful fusion of tradition and innovation. The writing is idiomatic with the bass trombone taking on a soloistic role, requiring excellent control in the extreme pedal register. There are a variety of interesting colors, all subservient to conveying the emotional and programmatic messages of the music. It is performable by a mature, graduate level ensemble that has an excellent bass trombonist. There is a terrific video performance of the premiere on YouTube by the TrombQuartet (Piotr Banyś, Wojciech Jeliński, Marek Kaczor, Tomasz Kaczor)

Reviewer: Karl Hinterbichler
Review Published November 19, 2021