(Recorded June 27-28, 2016)
BENT is dedicated to my entire family and all my teachers (you know who you are) – it takes a village, love, and strong roots to grow.
The word “bent” conjures images and meanings – of metal, tubing, images of sound waves, refracted light, and in highlighting a humanistic quality, a capacity of endurance, talent, inclination, determination, etc. Solo works for trumpet are bent for the performer and listener; each requiring a willingness to fully participate in the unusual musical format. One of my passions is to expand the solo trumpet repertoire, and, in the spirit of Fanfare Alone, BENT presents a collection of new and storied unaccompanied works for the trumpet family of instruments.
I’m bent – all around.
TRACK LIST & LINER NOTES
Click a track title to read its liner notes, or
The Creative Juggler
The Creative Juggler, Happy Song, and Song were written for Louie and Maya, my son and daughter, and Audra, my wife. The Creative Juggler is a musical characterization of Louie learning to play soccer – a confident, energetic and boy full of humor, who is juggling a soccer ball in the backyard – albeit with creative haphazardness. The Creative Juggler and Happy Song both employ what was identified to me by them as my signature warmup riff. Song, the concluding work on BENT, is a meditative expansion on a motif from my first composition, “Freely” from Modern Lore, and explores dynamic lyricism.
(Published by Windhorse Music, www.jacksutte.com)
The Creative Juggler (2014) [1:31]
Jack Sutte (b. 1973)
READ FULL BIO
Jack Sutte is rather tall and bent on life. Originally from Wisconsin, he favors a gourmet burger or bratwurst off the grill, onions, cheese, the outdoors (walking, yard work, gardening, and splitting wood), and frequents team sporting events with…
Romanza e due Scherzi (1974) [7:23]
“Romanza e due scherzi comprises a very free introductory movement followed by two vigorous and more audibly structured movements, and is one of a series of such pieces which I wrote in the early ‘70s (others include a bassoon solo, a duo for clarinet and percussion, and a duo for two viols) to utilize elements of both the traditional suite and sonata. About the Romanza – it derives from one of the first pieces I had written for a Chinese zither-type instrument. It was playable from a technical standpoint, but not idiomatic, and too Western for people who had little or no exposure to Western music. Somehow it seemed to work for trumpet, which has an ideal quality for the forte 32nd note run near the end. All of this blended well with my desire to emphasize the lyrical nature rather than the technical resources of the trumpet, which has also guided my subsequent trumpet writing.”
– David Loeb
I have been intrigued and inspired by David Loeb’s music since my studies at Curtis. His pieces regularly encompass the range of the trumpet (F♯ to D³) and are harmonically interesting to the ear – often resolving phrases by whole or half step. I have had the pleasure of being a performing voice in many premieres of Loeb’s music.
The Creative Juggler, Happy Song, and Song were written for Louie and Maya, my son and daughter, and Audra, my wife. Happy Song depicts Maya gleefully helping me in the garden planting seeds, flowers and other plants – all with an energized anticipation and naïveté of the flowers’ beauty and the vegetables’ flavors.
(Published by Windhorse Music, www.jacksutte.com)
Happy Song (2014) [1:46]
Jack Sutte (b. 1973)
Miniature for Solo Trumpet
Nathan Pell writes on his Miniature for Solo Trumpet, “The format of solo writing is, in my experience, one of the most challenging, not only for the performer, but for the composer as well, because the sounds stand in such a profound state of exposure. Often the composer must try to make the texture sound fuller than it really is. But this exposure also provides the genre with its greatest assets: concerns of harmonic writing are in a sense stripped away, and a certain distillation of expression is facilitated. I have enjoyed writing these solo miniatures and find them liberating to work on. To date, I have written one for nearly every orchestral instrument, and I have tried as much as possible in them to allow each instrument’s individual melodic character to come to the fore.”
Miniature for Solo Trumpet (2014) [4:13]
archétype (2013) [3:25]
“archétype, written for the indomitable trumpeter Jack Sutte, contains many contrasting elements: rhythmic ambiguity is pitted against a strict repetitive motif; accented staccato competes with legato; dynamics range from pianissimo to fortissimo; muted timbres contrast with non-muted passages, and the entire range of the trumpet comes into play, from low F to high C♯. The final gesture presents the opening notes backwards, and indeed the entire fanfare is one brief but strange little arch.” – Margi Griebling-Haigh (www.musicalligraphics.com)
Sonatina for Solo Trumpet (1974) [5:07]
In Hans Werner Henze’s autobiography, Bohemian Fifths, he reflects on his creative and productive year of 1974, which included the premiers of Voices and Tristan, and major work on We Come to the River. Concerning his life apart from composition, Henze writes about “being restructured, reinterpreted, rethought and turned into music…. We are used to treating music as a language but should now try to find out more about its peculiarities, to understand the mythic element that it contains, shed light on its mystery and, at the same time, prevent the linguistic element from being further marginalized and dehumanized: instead, we need to reinforce this linguistic aspect, make it accessible and useful and see it as a necessary extension of human awareness and of man’s expressive abilities.” Here, Henze eloquently and significantly re-phrases composer and music theorist Harry Partch’s (www.corporealmeadows.com) musical ideals outlined in Genesis of a Music (1947) on the corporeal (relating to the physical body and with a vocal/verbal importance vital to performance) in relation to the abstract (a condition of form, instrument[s], and words which convey a mood). It is interesting that the second edition of Partch’s book and subsequent death occur in the same year as the composition of Henze’s Sonatina.
In researching this Sonatina for Solo Trumpet, I found analyses demonstrating pitch series as well as tonal and atonal figures relating to form and structure, and there are discrepancies concerning both published versions of the score. Additionally, Henze utilizes the entire range of the C trumpet (F♯ to E♭3) and scores for the peculiar yet dynamic use of a soft mute in the Canzone. Certainly, in an operatic (singing) view of this work, and in keeping with Henze’s own description of his 1974 mindset, how can the performer reinforce man’s expressive abilities in his music? What language would be sung? Mythical in approach (corporeal), what would Henze’s expressive language say if words were put to the musical lines and phrases of the Sonatina?
The Sonatina for Solo Trumpet goes unmentioned in Bohemian Fifths, and is not listed in his body of works – though it certainly is one of the most revered if not feared compositions in the 20th-century trumpeter literature. I am truly inspired by artists, such as Håkan Hardenberger and Reinhold Friedrich, who have collectively and beautifully elevated the trumpet as a solo instrument and inspired fascinating new works. In Hardenberger’s 1992 interview with Henze, Henze’s recollection of writing the Sonatina is ambiguous, which may simply have been a part of his autobiographical account of 1974, “[a] period of immense productivity, when I no longer knew whether I was asleep or dreaming.” The Sonatina was written for Howard Snell, composer, conductor and former principal trumpet of the London Symphony Orchestra.
“Bent is a work that explores the idea of limitation. I’ve long been fascinated by the limits that are imposed on music by both the performer and instrument used to help create it. Throughout this piece I seek to push those physical boundaries while utilizing a small amount of material. This material is explored in a quasi-binary form, with the ‘coda’ material derived from the opening section. While not strictly tonal, harmonic choices are informed by planned high points as the piece unfolds. The work is somewhat programmatic; as the music pushes its limits more and more aggressively it eventually catapults to an exhaustive dynamic and reaches the highest tessitura to create an intense ending for both the performer and listener.” – Zach Albrecht
Bent (2015) [7:12]
Zach Albrecht (b. 1992)
Tesserae VI “Scoria” for Solo Trumpet (1976) [10:06]
Tesserae VI is the sixth of nine virtuosic pieces composed by Brian Fennelly for various solo instruments between 1971 and 1981. Fennelly comments: “Written and premiered in 1976 by Rolf Smedvig, this Tesserae’s several short sections are grouped into two parts. ‘Tesserae’ refers to mosaic patterns in the music. The subtitle ‘Scoria,’ which refers specifically to the reddish rock deposits found in certain parts of the American West, relates by analogy to the intensity of concentration and ‘red-hot’ virtuosity required of the performer.”
This Tesserae, scored for B♭, piccolo trumpets, calls for quick-handed cup, Harmon, and plunger mute changes. The subtitle “Scoria” is well-suited for this trumpet piece and perfect for the collection of works on BENT. Scoria is defined as both the refure from the melting of metals and rough, vesicular, cindery fragments of lava. I love the first definition in keeping with BENT, and the physical makeup of the trumpet, and Fennelly opts for the performance-centric second. In keeping with both definitions of “scoria,” it is clear that Fennelly uses these individual notes (scoriae) to create a remarkable composite. Each note and its respective dodecaphonic (twelve-tone) motif create a dynamic and vivid musical tesserae – imagery for the listeners’ own musical mosaics.
Brian Fennelly | American Composers Alliance
(Publ. American Composers Alliance [BMI])
I. Fanfare, Strata I, Cavatina, Strata II [4:45]
II. Arietta, Giocoso-Freely-Giocoso, Coda [5:21]
In e-mail correspondence with Brian Fennelly about a possible brass trio, he mentioned would be happy to start a new work when the “muse appears.” Unfortunately, the trio and our in-person meeting never came to be prior to his passing. I am thankful for our rich correspondence outlining Distant Call, Tesserae VI, and Skyscapes. I have always been fascinated with mythology, and his mention of the creative muse brought deeper meaning and clarity to my compositions – how the muses spark creation, causing the composition to flow in construct, and evolve with contemplation. It is fascinating to wonder and reflect on antiquity’s assignment of the muses to the creation and embodiment of the arts. My work titled musings is an example of this: ideas weave fanfares based on perfect fourths and fifths as well as expanded, elusive, and yet salient tri-tone motifs through an introduction and waltz. It begins and ends like a long breeze of a familiar and intangible breath of wind. (Published by Windhorse Music, www.jacksutte.com)
musings (2015/16) [3:17]
Jack Sutte (b. 1973)
Sieben Rosen (2012) [11:39]
I discovered the music of Violeta Dinescu in 2014 while looking for new solo trumpet works following my Fanfare Alone project. I came across Abendandacht (“Evening Thoughts”) and reached out to her for additional pieces. Composed for flute or other instrumental voices, Sieben Rosen (“Seven Roses”) is beautifully written for trumpet. Violeta was thrilled with the idea that each movement be performed on a different instrument of trumpet family (cornet; B♭, C, D, and piccolo trumpets; flugelhorn).
Each color change of trumpet represents a “rose” as being unique, yet related – all part of the whole and like each movement similar, yet different. Each of the Rose movements is sincere and moving, austere and loving. A breadth of song, texture, and freedom rise in each of the Rose movements. Beam notation(indicating an approximate duration of note length), detailed rhythmic gesture, varied grace notes, multi-phonics, and differing vibratos offer the performer a framework of precision within the flexible and beautiful chaos of rubato and choice, whole-heartedly encouraged by Dinsecu.
The idea, composed score, and performer are symbolic of the earth, plant, and flower of the rose bush – and thus have a direct connection to Bertold Brecht’s poem “Love Song III,” which inspired the composition. I gave the first performance of the trumpet version as well as the U.S. premiere of the work at the 2015 International Trumpet Guild Conference in Columbus, Ohio.
“Love Song III” by Bertold Brecht
Seven roses are on the bush
Six belong to the wind
But one remains, so that
I may yet find one too.
Seven times I call you
Six times stay away
But the seventh time, promise me
You will come when I call.
Rose I [1:20]
Rose II [1:39]
Rose III [1:35]
Rose IV [2:03]
Rose V [1:49]
Rose VI [1:43]
Rose VII [1:30]
Very Sharp Trumpet Sonata (2002) [1:18]
“The Very Sharp Trumpet Sonata is indeed very sharp,” commented composer Louis Andriessen. “It was a challenge to make a complete sonata for trumpet solo for Oliver Knussen. There are 3 very short movements: the first has 2 themes and a very short development, the second part is slower and more beautiful, and the last part consists of festive signals for Ollie’s birthday. The whole thing lasts exactly one minute.”
(Published by Boosey & Hawkes Music Publishers Ltd.)
Finale: Presto [:25]
Parable XIV for Solo Trumpet, Op. 127
The exact date of the premiere of Vincent Persichetti’s fourteenth Parable is unknown; however, we know that Richard Giangiulio made the first recording (Crystal Records CD230). Persichetti wrote 25 Parables between 1965 and 1986. Except for his opera Parable XX, the source, or secret meaning behind each Parable remains undiscovered. In an attempt to decipher Parable XIV, we look to Persichetti’s own words: “‘Parables’ are a series of one-movement pieces for various mediums. Very often they are for solo instrument. A Parable is a misstated story that avoids a truth in order to tell it. Parables are always ‘again’ even when they are new, but they are never ‘was’ or old. They are non-programmatic musical essays, sometimes short, sometimes long, but always about a single germinal idea. ‘Parables’ convey a meaning indirectly by the use of comparisons or analogies. My Parables are usually concerned with ideas of other works of mine.” Each Parable contains some compositional material from earlier works. For example, in the trumpet Parable, Persichetti quotes his Parable II for brass quintet.
Extrapolating the idea of a ‘single germ’ and Persichetti’s term of autogenesis (compositional variety without direct repetition), we connect to the biblical parable of the seed, as in Matthew 13, Mark 4, and Luke 8. We first observe the initial and incomplete seed motif: C-E♭-G-B. Throughout this dramatic musical narrative, we witness the genesis and growth o the ascending seed motif. These “seedling” lines are commentary to the episodes With rhythmic pulse, where descending lines work in whispering and stentorian opposition with the seed motif, and Capriciously, where a lighter, more fluid and unpredictable dance occurs. Despite the narrative chatter in chromatic, rhythmic, abd descending arpeggiated groupings throughout this Parable, we observe that the initial and final notes comprise a major second. The seed-motif pitches sound at the beginning, climax, and conclusion, giving the impression that the “seed,” or message within the parable (word of God), has grown and successfully taken hold. Through autogenesis, the seed motif connects the initial C to the final D, completing the narrative.
Parable XIV for Solo Trumpet, Op. 127 (1973) [5:04]
Abendandacht – “Evening Thoughts”
Abendandacht (“Evening Thoughts”), by Violeta Dinescu, is composed with a traditional rhythmic notation, though repeated sections are determined by the performer. Like the “Rosen,” Abendandacht is written for trumpet or other instrumental voice. I imagine these phrases, which are crafted within a range of one octave, as evening thoughts to be offered by a voice in song, simple, reiterative, and beautiful in melancholy expression. Ms. Dinescu revealed that, “The idea of the piece is to transmit a special atmosphere of meditation; that’s why the construction of the melodic contour has a circular structure. It is possible to begin again and again and also to multiply the voices in a kind of elastic canon.
Abendandacht – “Evening Thoughts” (1986) [3:00]
The Creative Juggler, Happy Song, and Song were written for Louie and Maya, my son and daughter, and Audra, my wife. Song, the concluding work on BENT, is a meditative expansion on a motif from my first composition, “Freely” from Modern Lore, and explores dynamic lyricism.
(Published by Windhorse Music, www.jacksutte.com)
Song (2014) [3:21]
Jack Sutte (b. 1973)
Total Time: 69:15