“The work is intensely visceral”, comments Brubeck, “and features shifting rhythmic accents and syncopation amidst a confluence of polyrhythms and soaring lyricism.” The three movement work is Sleeper’s second concerto for his native instrument-the bass trombone, and taken along with his first concerto for bass trombone and the transcription of “Six Arias”, establishes Sleeper as one of the most significant composers for the solo bass trombone accompanied by orchestra.
The piece is dedicated to bass trombonist David Brubeck, The FAUSO and conductor Dr. Laura Joella. “Sleeper is a major composer who also happens to play the bass trombone, so it is no surprise that the work is riveting”, comments Brubeck. The trio have collaborated before, as Sleeper provided a world premiere transcription of “Six Arias for Bass Trombone” for FAUSO, Joella and Brubeck. This latest project is even more ambitious, as the composer set out with the conductor, the ensemble and the soloist in mind at the inception.
Set in three movements, I. Allegro-Lento-Allegro II. Adagio III. Allegro-Adagio Moroso Subito-Allegro, the work is unified by completeness and contrast. Each of the outer movements stands alone, and the second movement is at once understated and yet profoundly satisfying.
“Hauntingly Mysterious”, “Richly Lyrical”, “Soaring Melodies” – all phrases used to describe the music of Thomas M. Sleeper. His output includes 13 operas, fourteen concerti, five symphonies, four orchestral song cycles, works for chorus with orchestra, band, wind ensembles, three string quartets, numerous other vocal and instrumental chamber works and music for film. Sleeper has developed a unique compositional voice whose vocabulary is clearly from, but not limited to, this century***
***adapted from sleepermusic.com