Rodrigo Lima
Solo trombone and chamber orchestra

No place, , Brazil
Publisher: Rodrigo Lima Music
Date of Publication: 2022

Score and parts.

Primary Genre: Solo Tenor Trombone - with orchestra

Brazilian composer Rodrigo Lima (b.1976) holds degrees in composition from the University of Brasília and the Art Institute of the University of Campinas State in São Paulo. He is currently Professor of Music at Escola de Musica do Estado de São Paulo. As one of the leading composers in South America, his works have won numerous prizes and have been performed by prominent ensembles and soloists in Brazil, Chile, France, England, Portugal, Belgium, Holland, Mexico, the USA and Spain.

Ársis CONCERTO was commissioned by the Symphony Orchestra of the University of São Paulo for the 2021 season and dedicated to Brazilian trombonist Carlos Freitas. This is the fourth work that their collaboration has produced including: MATIZ I for trombone and trumpet, Elegia em Azul  for trombone octet and MATIZ IV for solo trombone. Additional works for trombone included in Lima’s catalog are: Paisagem Sonora No.1 for solo trombone, Sonancia for trombone quartet and Sonatina for trombone and piano. The composer indicated the importance about his collaboration with virtuoso trombonist Carlos Freitas:

This direct dialogue with the interpreter has always made it possible to achieve more satisfactory compositional and interpretive results. It's the composer and the instrumentalist sculpting the sound in an organic and visceral way, a direct relationship with the sound phenomenon, this is the best of all worlds for me. Nothing can be more enriching than this experience of uniting compositional creation with interpretive creation. 

The concerto was premiered in São Paulo on Nov. 26, 2021. The chamber orchestra scoring includes one each of the traditional woodwinds, brass and string quintet, in addition to piano. Featured prominently are three percussionists playing a large array of instruments. The composer explains the title Ársis:

I would say that it is an impulse to movement, a spiraling flow that moves (re)modeling colors, pulses and lines on the pentagram. It is a work that explores a very wide sound range of the trombone, including the use of plunger and harmon mutes, vocal sounds, slide glissando, multiphonics, slap tongue, …The dialogue between soloist and orchestra was not limited to the traditional concertante style, on the contrary, what was sought was to build a process of permanent resignification, that is, the materials coming from the soloist are (re)processed by the orchestra and taken up by the soloist in a cycle continuous transformation of the sound fabric.

This concerto is a well-crafted, inventive, colorful and emotional work, in a unique atonal language but with echoes/influences of Varese, Boulez, Ligeti and Messiaen. It is technically and rhythmically challenging, for both the soloist and orchestra, requiring a virtuoso trombonist. The use of mutes, especially plunger, multiphonics, and extreme dynamics create a deeply felt world of textures, colors and emotions. There is an excellent performance of the concerto on YouTube:







Reviewer: Karl Hinterbichler
Review Published June 25, 2023