Kallman Creates Publications
Bass trombone, piano. Duration: 10’00”. A sonata to honor a great trombonist, a wonderful teacher, and a cherished friend.
The third movement, Exuberance, has also been scored for bass trombone solo with full wind ensemble.
From a review in the International Trombone Association (ITA) Journal (Mike Hall, Old Dominion University, April 2008):
“Three Admirations is an excellent college level work whose worthy musical content is not obscured by gratuitous technical demands. It occupies a place in the bass trombone repertoire near works like the Patrick McCarty Sonata, both for the technique it demands and musical rewards it bestows. Range extends from GG-flat to F but tessitura resides mostly in the bass clef staff. The second movement incorporates mixed meters; transitions from section to section require a flexible, somewhat mature sense of phrasing. The last movement is most challenging and incorporates quick tempo, glissandi, brief bursts of double tonguing, a well edited cadenza and low notes.”
This work is dedicated to the memory of William Behrens, my classmate and fellow trombonist at Luther College in the 1970’s. Bill died in an automobile accident in March 2004, shortly after he and his wife Laura had contacted me about writing for their son, Christian, a fine high school bass trombonist. Following Bill’s tragic death, the work took on a whole new meaning and purpose. I’ve included the program notes below. The work is in three movements: I. Reverence, II. Nurturance, III. Exuberance.
Program Notes from the Composer
I was originally contacted by Bill and Laura Behrens in late 2003 with the offer of a commission that they wished to present as a gift to Christian for his senior recital. Having already heard of Christian’s talents as a young bass trombonist, I gladly accepted their invitation. I had begun to formulate some ideas for a sonata for bass trombone and piano when the tragic accident occurred the following spring which ended Bill’s life. After that, the work took on a whole new form and focus as a memorial to Bill and his legacy.
The individual movement titles are an extension of the name I have chosen for the work as a whole. They indicate three qualities that are always respected when we recognize them in a fellow human being, characteristics which I admired in Bill when I knew him at Luther College as a friend and fellow trombonist, or, since his death, which I have come to learn about his life and service from talking to his family and attending his funeral.
The opening movement is a serene meditation which explores the emotions of loss, grief, resignation and grateful acceptance. The tone of the music is intentionally “sacred”, at times almost choral or chant-like. The content of the middle movement was inspired by what I have come to know and respect about Bill as father, scout leader and teacher. It incorporates three distinct sections indicated in the score by the subtitles “Lullaby”, “At Play” and “Gratitude”. The latter is again hymn-like in nature, this time less meditative and more a lifting up of thanks and praise. Each of these sections employs canonic counterpoint where the trombone imitates what the piano has just played a measure later or vice versa, indicating that the student not only learns from the teacher, but the reverse is often true. The lullaby serves as a short link between the sections and returns to close the movement. The final movement has the feel and tone of a circus march, a deliberately boisterous outburst of joy with humorous overtones. This is the freewheeling and fun Bill Behrens whom I was blessed to know as an undergraduate student.
I am grateful to Laura, Isaac, Christian and the extended Behrens family for this opportunity to participate in celebrating the life well-lived of a wonderful father, husband, teacher, trombonist and human being who is fondly remembered and missed by so many.