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Sonatina
   

Sonatina

Gulino, Frank

$17.00


  • Ensemble: Trombone and Piano
  • Genre: Modern Classical
  • Grade: 4
  • Duration: 6.0 minutes
  • Catalog Number: CM1547

For Solo Trombone or Euphonium

In a contemporary musical landscape so dominated by the avant-garde, the number of new pieces coming out that are tonal and pleasant-sounding seems to dwindle every year. Of course progress is desirable, but it appears to me that the preoccupation with revamping the contemporary music scene by writing highly progressive music detracts from the whole purpose of our art form: to listen, enjoy, be moved and maybe get a great melody stuck in one’s head. With the Sonatina, I set out to write something melodic, tuneful, harmonious – dare I say cute?


While perhaps not a sonatina in the driest of textbook interpretations (“sonatina” implies a movement pattern of fast-slow-fast), this piece does incorporate a sort of “rounding” where ideas from the beginning of the piece reappear at the end. The first and third movements incorporate a similar harmonic progression, and the introductory piano melody from the first
movement even returns beneath the singing trombone on the recapitulation of the final movement. Also the overall key scheme of tonic-dominant-tonic is reminiscent of classical sonata form, though this 9-minute composition pales in comparison to lengthy, complex sonatas of the classical and romantic eras. Thus, Sonatina. The first movement of the Sonatina focuses on melodic contour. While not technically demanding, the music affords performers many opportunities to be musical – make the most of them! If the printed dynamics don’t work for you, make up your own; but have a definite opinion either way. A good performance of this piece has musical direction, dynamic contrast and a smooth, singing style.


“There are only two kinds of songs: Love songs, and pirate songs.”


These are the words of Roger Bobo, the legendary tubist of the Los Angeles Philharmonic and one of the most revered brass pedagogues of our generation. In gaining experience as a musician, I’ve discovered the surprising amount of validity to that statement. The second movement of the Sonatina was inspired by Mr. Bobo’s words, beginning in F-dorian with a dark “pirate song”. After a lyrical trombone cadenza supported by rolled, root-position major chords in the piano, the
movement opens up into sonorous, singing “love song” in F-major. The pirate song can be a little gruff sounding, and the love song should be absolutely beautiful. Maximum contrast between these two sections is what makes this middle movement effective. In the third movement, the home key of Bb-major returns, as do several motives from the opening movement. The slow, contemplative interlude at measure 25 should be played softly, but still with direction. It’s a much needed break from the otherwise continuous piano accompaniment, so try to make that passage stand out from the texture of the rest of the movement. The high Bb to finish the piece is preferable to the lower one, but, as long as the final downbeat is well-placed and sounds like a fitting culmination to the movement, either note works just fine.


Breathe frequently. Make phrases. Make beautiful music.
Frank Gulino
October 2008


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