Who can forget the image and sounds of Jimi Hendrix at Woodstock and his stirring rendition of the “Star Spangled Banner”? It is at once fresh, patriotic, memorable and revolutionary. It epitomizes the essence of the amplified (and distorted!) electric guitar.
Who can forget the great quartet of the famous jazz pianist Dave Brubeck? It was Brubeck who (among his many accomplishments) taught the world that unusual meters could swing and who became the first jazz musician to be pictured on the cover of Time magazine.
Finally, and most importantly, who can forget the courageous men and women of the United States military, who have risked their lives to protect the flame of freedom around the globe? Many of us have loved ones who have offered this ultimate sacrifice of love. In my family I think of my uncles Bus and Bill, my brother Harry, and my nephews Tim and Troy. I also remember their mothers: Ethel, Barbie and Denise.
The intersection of these three beautiful thoughts provided the inspiration for Stereogram No. 33 “The Star Spangled Banner”. I have attempted to add the personality of the bass trombone to the United States’ national anthem, and owe much of the inspiration to the famous Brubeck.
The dedication is to Mr. Charles Vernon, one of the most outstanding symphonic bass-trombonists of our time, who has also enjoyed a successful career as a classical soloist. This dedication is in recognition and celebration of Mr. Vernon’s recent triumphant premiere of “Chick’ a’ Bone Checkout”, concerto for alto, tenor and bass trombones which was written by trombone virtuoso Christian Lindberg and commissioned and performed by the Chicago Symphony Orchestra.
Number 33 -“The Star Spangled Banner”, is one of the more challenging Stereograms, and contains no options for reducing the range. This is not typical of other Stereograms. Another contrast is the interpretation the tempo indication. Many times when interpreting Stereograms, I favor the lower region of the tempo indications, and try to make the groove as “tasty” as possible. What I have found to be effective for this piece is for it to be performed at the most blistering allegro which my embouchure and flexibility can manage.
As usual, please be careful to observe the long(-) and short(^) articulation markings, taking special note that values of tied eighths or even an eighth tied to a quarter are essentially the same length as a shortened eighth note or quarter note. In general, the first eighteen measures and measures 27 to the end are largely percussive in effect, while the middle section of measures 19 through 26 are mostly lyrical. As I constantly remind my students- please be careful not to tongue too hard.
I hope that you enjoy this selection. Please let me know if you happen to perform it at a sporting event. Mr. Charles Vernon has threatened to perform this in a ‘speedo’ at one of his competitive swim meets!
C. 2011 David William Brubeck All Rights Reserved. davidbrubeck.com
Stereograms are available from Hickey’s music and other fine retailers.