Conversations with Gary Green and Tim Conner (the conductor and trombonist who commissioned the music) led to the idea that this concerto should be a “cross-over” piece, one that could be played by either a wind ensemble, or a symphony orchestra minus most of the strings. Before I began composing, word came of the untimely death of Christine Nield Capote, wonderful flutist and teacher and long-time friend to Gary, Tim and me. It was only a year ago, in July of 2006 that Gary, Christine, and I worked together at the Interlochen Center for the Arts on a deeply moving performance of my Song Book for Flute and Wind Ensemble. It was one of Christine’s favorite pieces. She had only nine months to live.
It became clear that the Trombone Concerto would be a memorial for Christine. To that end I chose and ensemble or orchestral winds, plus piano, double bass, percussion, and one solo cello, the cello representing her cellist husband, Manny.
It feels presumptuous for me to say anything at all about this music, presumptuous even to have written the piece, trying to embody Christine’s still-living presence, her voice, her feelings, for us who are left behind. Following her death I saw Christine in a meditative vision. She gave me the most brilliant smile of recognition and reassurance. She then turned and walked away. Requiem — beloved — be content, be calm.
Program note by David Maslanka