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Harvest: Concerto for Trombone

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John Mackey

John Mackey

Subtitle: For Solo Trombone and Orchestra without Strings

General Info

Year: 2009
Duration: c. 18:00
Difficulty: VI (see Ratings for explanation)
Publisher: Osti Music
Cost: Score & Parts - $500.00 (Rental)   |   Score Only (Purchase) - $95.00


Flute I-II-III
Oboe I-II
English Horn
E-flat Soprano Clarinet (doubles B-flat Soprano Clarinet III)
B-flat Soprano Clarinet I-II
Bass Clarinet
Bassoon I-II

Solo Trombone

Horn in F I-II-III-IV
B-flat Trumpet I-II-III
Tenor Trombone I-II
Bass Trombone
String Bass
Piano (strings are also played by Percussion I at beginning)
Timpani (doubles Vibraphone)
Percussion I-II-III-IV, including:

  • Bass Drum
  • Brake drum with bell plate on top (can be played by separate player)
  • Cymbals (small China, large China, splash, suspended crash)
  • Djembe
  • Hi-hat
  • Roto-toms (2)
  • Snare Drum
  • Tam-tam
  • Tambourine (2, one mounted)
  • Tom-toms (4, drumset/"rock" toms are preferred)
  • Triangle
  • Vibraphone
  • Xylophone


None discovered thus far.

Program Notes

Harvest: Concerto for Trombone is based on the myths and mystery rituals of the Greek god Dionysus. As the Olympian god of the vine, Dionysus is famous for inspiring ecstasy and creativity. But this agricultural, earth-walking god was also subjected each year to a cycle of agonizing death before glorious rebirth, analogous to the harsh pruning and long winter the vines endure before blooming again in the spring. The concerto's movements attempt to represent this dual nature and the cycle of suffering and return.

The concerto is set in three connected sections, totaling approximately 18 minutes. The first section begins with a slow introduction, heavy on ritualistic percussion, representing the summoning of Dionysus's worshipers to the ceremony. The rite itself builds in intensity, with Dionysus (represented, of course, by the solo trombone) engaging in call and response with his followers, some of whom are driven to an ecstatic outcry -- almost a "speaking in tongues" -- represented by insistent woodwind trills. But when Dionysus transitions to a gentler tone, his frenzied worshipers do not follow. Their fervor overcomes them, and they tear their god to shreds in an act of ritual madness.

This brutal sacrifice by the ecstatic worshipers -- the pruning of the vine -- is followed without pause by the second section, representing Dionysus in the stillness of death, or winter. The god is distant, the music like a prayer. The shoots of spring burst forth in the final section, following again without pause. The earth is reborn as Dionysus rises again, bringing the ecstasy and liberation that have been celebrated in his name for centuries.

Harvest: Concerto for Trombone is dedicated to Joseph Alessi.

- Program Note by John Mackey


State Ratings

None discovered thus far.


To submit a performance please join The Wind Repertory Project

  • Case Western Reserve University (Cleveland, Ohio) Symphonic Winds (Ryan Scherber, conductor; Nicholas Pogharian, trombone) – 2 March 2020
  • University of Oregon (Eugene) Wind Ensemble (David M. Jacobs, conductor; Henry Henninger, trombone) – 4 December 2019
  • Pacific Lutheran University (Parkland, Wash.) Wind Ensemble (Edwin Powell, conductor; Rebecca Ford, trombone) – 12 May 2019
  • Lynn University (Boca Raton, Fla.) Wind Ensemble (Kenneth Amis, conductor; John Faieta, trombone) – 8 September 2018
  • Louisiana State University (Baton Rouge) Wind Ensemble (Damon Talley, conductor; Nitzan Haroz, trombone) – 25 April 2017
  • Senzoku Gakuen College of Music (Japan) Blue Tie Wind Ensemble (Jerry Junkin, conductor; Joseph Alessi, trombone) – 21 December 2012 (2012 Midwest Clinic)
  • University of Georgia Wind Ensemble (John Lynch, conductor; Joshua Bynum, trombone) - 13 October 2010
  • University of Washington (Seattle) Wind Ensemble (Timothy Salzman, conductor; Ko-ichiro Yamamoto, trombone) – 26 March 2011 (CBDNA 2011 National Conference, Seattle, Wash.)
  • Florida International University Wind Ensemble (Catherine Rand, conductor; Anthony McFarlane, trombone) - 11 April 2011

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