Borletti-Buitoni Trust
15 April 2012

Kalevi Aho Trombone Concerto

by Jörgen van Rijen

With the help of Borletti-Buitoni Trust I have commissioned a trombone concerto from Kalevi Aho and I have been fortunate to be able to perform it already in The Hague and with the Oulu Sinfonia in Finland, with a further performance to come with BBC Symphony Orchestra in London on 10th May.

I am very happy that Kalevi Aho was willing to write this for me. Still a lot of people don’t know the beauty of this instrument and this piece gives a great opportunity to show the trombone in all ways. There is not much left that is possible on a trombone that is not somehow appearing in this piece!

It is absolutely a great and beautiful piece, and a fantastic contribution to the repertoire for trombone. Very demanding for the soloist and for the orchestra, but the technical demands are not just to show off or to try to be interesting, it is really in favour of the music. The piece is in four movements, a very classical form: slow, fast, slow, fast.

The slow movements are actually very romantic and show the lyrical and singing abilities of the trombone. They are both built around the same chord that is first played by me alone, using double tones: I sing and play at the same time through the trombone. After that the chord is taken by the orchestra and develops in different ways in the first and third movement.

The fast movements are quite groovy and virtuosic. Using a lot of special techniques like flutter tongue, double and triple tongueing, fast vibrato, glissando etc… on the edge of the impossible, they show the spectacular side of the trombone with a lot of help of the three percussion players who really set the groove.

You can find a few excerpts from the world premiere on my pages on the BBT website.