TORSTEIN AAGAARD- NILSEN
First Performance (23. 9 2021) – Stavanger Symfoniorkester:
Double concerto for solo trumpet, solo trombone, percussion and strings
David Friedrich – trombone
Frank Braafhart – trumpet
Commissioned by David Friedrich in collaboration with Stavanger Symphony Orchestra
Despite sharing a common ancestry, these two solo instruments have played different musical roles throughout their existence. The slide has given the trombone (which is basically a large trumpet) the ability to play stepwise and melodically, whereas the trumpet’s history as a signal instrument is very much alive and well. In this work the contrast between the sacred-sounding instrument and its signaling counterpart gives life to the musical narrative; in an earlier sketch for this project I called the work “Fanfares and melodies”.
The shape and construction of the instruments was an important element. They are older than string instruments and have a natural intonation based on the harmonic series. In certain places I have tried juxtaposing pure intonation with equal temperament, resulting in intervals which might best be described as “distorted”.
Some of the motifs I use are derived directly from the harmonic series. These are familiar combinations of pitches, easily recognizable, and have been heard for as long as humans have blown into something to produce sound.
By discarding most of what can be accomplished using contemporary playing techniques, I wanted to turn focus away from these instruments as a source of acoustic experimentation towards their natural, innate sound.
In many of my works I have referred to my composition technique as being object-based. An object can be a type of chord, a motif, a tonality – anything, really. These objects are my building blocks. When composing the double concerto I first wrote several small passages. Assembling the various smaller sketches creates the overall form of the work; the material coming together either as seamless joins or as contrasting juxtapositions.
Birkeland/Manger, February 2021