Laps and Lhasa

Composer: 

Year Authored (or revised): 

2012

Scoring: 

Solo bass & alto trombone; 6 tenor trombones; 2 bass trombones

Duration (min): 

12

Recording: 

Summit Records; Charlie Vernon, solo; CSU Trombone Ensemble

First Performance: 

November 8, 2012

PROGRAM NOTE

 

­­­­ Laps and Lhasa is a one-movement work featuring solo bass and alto trombones, accompanied by trombone octet (six tenor and two bass trombones).   The work is dedicated to the great trombone virtuoso Charlie Vernon. Mr. Vernon is a master of all three modern incarnations of the trombone—the alto, the tenor, and the bass—and this work takes advantage of his versatility with passages for the bass and alto instruments.

In addition to his prowess on the trombone, Mr. Vernon is a dedicated and accomplished swimmer—a fact I came to realize during his visit to the Schwob School a few years ago when I arranged to help him with guest privileges at our local Y, where he swam laps nearly every day of his residency.   Indeed, his dedication to swimming became one of the inspirations for Laps and Lhasa—translating laps in the pool to a formal structure of developing variations, equivalent to a progression of varying strokes up and down the length of the pool.

I was also inspired in this piece by my experiences in northern India, where I had the opportunity to visit several Tibetan Buddhist monasteries and experience the joyful music making of the monks.  One particularly memorable moment involved standing on a monastery’s rooftop before sunrise and sharing a sunrise instrumental ritual featuring several Tibetan longhorns (brass instruments similar to slideless trombones) bouncing low “D”s off the mountains five or so miles away, accompanied sporadically by Tibetan gyalings (oboe-like instruments).  These sounds became the basis of the opening section of the piece, where the soloist sounds a low “D”, and the accompanying trombones begin by performing with their mouthpieces attached directly to the bells of the trombone (without the attendant bodies of the trombones).

Laps and Lhasa is commissioned by Dr. Bradley Palmer and CSU/Schwob School of Music Trombone Ensemble, and dedicated to Mr. Charlie Vernon.

 

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