William Pagán-Pérez
Three Afro-Hispanic Movements: Suite for Trombone Solo and Concert Band
Solo trombone and concert band

Buffalo, New York, United States
Date of Publication: 2021
Language: Spanish/English

Score and parts.

Primary Genre: Solo Tenor Trombone - with band

Composer and trombonist William Pagán-Pérez adds to his growing body of work for our instrument with this inspired suite for solo trombone and concert band titled Three Afro-Hispanic Movements. This highly personal multi-movement suite was inspired by events in early 2020, including Black History Month and the Super Bowl Halftime Show, and draws on and incorporates the poetry of Luis Pales-Matos, the Afro-Puerto Rican bomba dance genre, and the associated rhythmic tradition of the drums following the dancers. The work was premiered by soloist Dr. Luis Fred with the University of Central Florida Symphonic Band, conducted by Dr. Tremon Kizer in April 2021.

The first movement, Allegro Molto (Culipandeando La Reina Avanza / The Queen's Parade), is heavily dance-inspired and, though composed mostly in common time, features a notated 3+3+2 beat subdivision to emphasize the clave rhythm. In the solo part, the playing is rhythmic, articulate, and excitingly accented with a nice contrast in moments of soaring legato lines in the upper register. This work also displays a skillful knowledge of the long heritage of concerto tradition by incorporating elements of Baroque Era Concerto Grosso practices into the structure of the movement.

In the second movement, Andantino (Majestad Negra - Black Majesty), the soloist performs melodic and rhythmic phrases that are interspersed with the recitation of the poem Majestad Negra by Luis Pales-Matos. The text may be recited in Spanish or in the alternate English translation, which is included by the composer. In this movement, performers who are familiar with bomba dance traditions may also perform some of the traditional dance motions while reciting the poetry.

In the final movement, Moderato (The Queen's Dance Party), Pagán-Pérez draws on all of the above elements from the previous movements to achieve a rousing, celebratory finale. The soloist here uses extensive flutter tonguing and glissandi while also functioning frequently as a percussive instrument. The soloist is also called upon to recite poetry in rap rhythms while building up to the final climax of the work. This exciting addition to the solo repertoire blends together diverse musical traditions and yields a highly recommended, unique, and exhilarating concert work.

The solo trombone part ranges from A up to c-sharp2; however, tessitura stays generally in the middle register with occasional forays into the upper register that generally go no higher than c2. The most challenging elements for many players may be the rhythmic execution of the flutter-tonguing passages, the emphatic recitation of the poetry text, and the execution of optional dance moves in the bomba tradition. The concert band is scored with traditional wind band instrumentation for winds, brass, and percussion; however, percussionists may optionally utilize African maracas made of coconut shells, if possible, “in order to add extra flavor to the poem's words.”


Reviewer: Jemmie Robertson
Review Published June 24, 2023