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Eine Kleine Posaunenmusik

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Gunther Schuller

Gunther Schuller

Subtitle: For Trombone and Chamber Ensemble

General Info

Year: 1980
Duration: c. 16:00
Difficulty: VI (see Ratings for explanation)
Publisher: Schirmer Music
Publisher: Hal Leonard Music
Cost: Score and Parts - Rental   |   Reduced Score Only - $9.95


1. Allegro - c. 4:20
2. Recitative. Broadly, freely - c. 3:40
3. Scherzo. Vivace - c. 2:00
4. Chorale. Lento - c. 5:45
5. Allegro energico - c. 2:00


Full Score
Solo Trombone
Flute I-II
Oboe I-II
English Horn
B-flat Soprano Clarinet I-II
B-flat Bass Clarinet
B-flat Contrabass Clarinet
B-flat Trumpet I-II
Horn in F I-II
Trombone I-II
String Bass
Percussion, including:

  • Bongos (4)
  • Chimes, Metal
  • Crash Cymbals
  • Glockenspiel
  • Ride Cymbal
  • Slapstick
  • Snare Drum
  • Suspended Cymbal
  • Tambourine
  • Triangle (4)


None discovered thus far.

Program Notes

This composition, whose title translates as "A Little Trombone Music," is a concerted work for the trombone with an ensemble of wind instruments, percussion, piano, and harp. The music for all of the instruments is technically very demanding without ever degenerating into empty showmanship. Jazz vibrantly informs its melodies, rhythms, and colors (the latter notably through the use of mutes and glissandi) amid a harmonic idiom that is thoroughly atonal from start to finish. Both solo utterances and accompaniments are rhythmically alive and somewhat nervous--even in the slower sections this music is never entirely at ease. Although there is no notable dialogue between the trombone and the other instruments, the ensemble usually complements the soloist in a vibrant and headstrong manner, often presenting lines that are attractively profiled in their own right. The work is cast in five movements: Allegro, Recitative (Broadly, freely), Scherzo (Vivace), Chorale (Lento), and Allegro energico.

- Program Note by AllMusic

Eine Kleine Posaunenmusik (A Little Trombone Music) was commissioned by and written for John Swallow and premiered by him in 1980 at Yale’s Norfolk Chamber Music Festival. The work is in five movements and is scored for a 22-piece chamber wind ensemble (including, however, harp, piano doubling celesta, and doublebass). It is part of an ongoing series of concertos for various solo instruments. The series began with a violin concerto in 1974 and has by now (1985) worked its way through concertos for horn trumpet, contrabassoon (sic!), alto saxophone, bassoon, cello, as well as a quadruple concerto for violin, flute, oboe, and trumpet and a Concerto Festivo for Brass Quintet and Orchestra. Concertos for viola, timpani, harp and string quartet are still to come.

While the work is not a Third Stream piece as such, i.e., fusing classical and jazz concepts, occasional references to jazz techniques do occur, for example, in the use of a wide variety of “jazz mutes” (including the plunger), a brief tribute to Lawrence Brown (near the end of the second movement), the up-tempo jazz episodes in the Rondo-Finale, and other less overt allusions.

The three middle movements carry the subtitles Recitative, Scherzo, and Chorale, respectively, offering clear clues to the character and mood of those sections. The first movement is purposefully somewhat mercurial and introductory in character and continuity, but is held together by the refrain-like return of the opening D-minor idea. Constantly “searching,” it leads on each return to different musical conclusions.

The fifth (last) movement functions as a balancing symmetrical counterweight to the opening movement, also as a lively concluding postlude to the previous Chorale movement. In addition, it provides the concerto’s single opportunity for a solo cadenza.

Program Note by composer

Commercial Discography

State Ratings

None discovered thus far.


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