From the Maslanka Archive features media and stories of David's life and work. This week, we are excited to feature Julian Velasco's interview of Gary Green from the Wharton Center in East Lansing, MI from October 24, 2017.
In the second movement of David Maslanka’s Concerto for Trombone and Wind Ensemble, there is an extended and demanding technical section from m. 108 to m. 256, about four minutes of nearly continuous playing. It rests in the upper tessitura of the trombone range, mostly between D3 and C4, and alternates between very loud staccato sixteenth passages and soft, high lyrical playing.
The version that is currently published and recorded is one that was cut down due to technical considerations. I thought it was time that soloists had the opportunity to perform the work as it was originally conceived. This new, restored version increases the difficulty in execution: it requires extremely clean technique at a high, constant power level in a very tiring range for a long time, culminating in a protracted shout.
During the initial preparation of the piece, technical realities forced David to reduce the difficulty of this section: extended sixteenth-note passages were broken up with eighth notes, some passages were taken down an octave, and cuts were made to reduce endurance challenges.
This had the effect of somewhat reducing the impact of the section. Its initial statement (mm. 109-111) is developed throughout in various ways.
This is the primary building block of the section starting at m. 108.
The removed sixteenths in the immediately-following development weaken the connection with the initial statement. When they are restored, the power of the second phrase becomes […]
Remarks given at the premiere performance of the Concerto for Trombone and Wind Ensemble, October 2007; Miami, Florida
In the words of the Buddhist teacher Thich Nhat Hanh, “We are life, we are inextinguishable.” The reasons for living or dying, especially dying, and especially when someone close to us passes, are all too often inscrutable. We look for words, for some idea to hang on to, which allow us to reconcile, or at least live with, loss and grief. But words and concepts fail.
Here in South Florida, everything, even new stuff, is continually being eroded by water and heat. Everything is being eaten, transformed, and taken back into the earth. Things are a bit slower in northern climates, but the process remains the same. It is a sharp reminder that there is no permanence: we come into these bodies undergo continuous transformation, and then for our own not-speakable reasons we release this body, we go on.
Music is deeply and powerfully a part of this process. Music is life: music is inextinguishable. Music loosens our separateness, and allows us to open deeply to one another. Music opens us to the energy of love, which makes out lives possible. Music is the breaker of chains, the smasher of the ordinary, and the breaker of hearts. Music breaks our hearts, and through the broken heart we know compassion.
Today is a celebration of the life of Christine Capote and that of her family, and all who are her […]