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Suite Nostalgique (2012)
for trumpet and piano
Commissioned by Marsha Caron for her husband, Dennis, in honor of their 42nd wedding anniversary.
from the composer:
The Suite Nostalgique was commissioned by Marsha Caron in honor of her 42nd wedding anniversary as a gift to her husband, Dennis. Marsha and Dennis have long been associated with Charlie Schlueter Foundation, which has supported my music for quite some time. Charlie was my college trumpet professor; therefore, it is my pleasure to be a part of this special gift for two very special people!
When celebrating an anniversary of any sort, it is normal to reflect upon where we have come from, and where we are now. With “Suite Nostalgique” – and with Marsha’s permission – I decided to add piano accompaniments to three existing etudes (from “Daytudes Vol. I”) which already hearkened upon times gone by, and bore fertile ground for musical nostalgia.
The three movements are:
A Minor Reminder
What a Ride!
The original notes for each movement, taken from the Daytudes volume, are as follows:
Well, the New Orleans Saints won the Super Bowl on Feb. 7, 2010. I’m not a fan (I root for the Bears), but it’s hard not to pick them as the sentimental favorite after all that city has been through since Hurricane Katrina. I think the team, and its fans, have the right to brag – for a little while!! Therefore, most of you will notice that the opening 8 bars of this “Brag-Time” are based on “When the Saints Go Marching In”.
After that, I digress a little bit, even adding a hint of Stravinsky, before returning back to the opening motif. The tempo on this one can almost be anything and still work – from a slow drag up to an up-tempo technical display – either way should be fun. ENJOY THE PARTY!
A Minor Reminder:
This etude is the first of the quest I imposed on myself during either what will later be revealed as a great idea, or a momentary lapse in judgment!
A little hesitant to begin the task, I decided to take inspiration from a friend of mine, Jeff Work who is a huge fan of old cornet solos – and write one in a more conservative, old-fashioned romantic style. Jeff is principal trumpet of the Oregon Symphony, and is also responsible for my first trumpet concerto, which was written for and premiered by him in 2003.
It is my goal to explore all of the keys in this set of 28 etudes – leaving 4 extra days for whatever I want! – therefore I figured that beginning with A minor would also prove to be a good starting point.Though I have made many dynamic markings, I would encourage the player to add as much personality as possible, even beyond what I’ve notated.This is truly a romantic etude (chronologically speaking), and no expressive stone should be left unturned!
What a Ride!:
So how does a composer wrap up a month-long quest of new études composed every day? For me, as with all of my composing, the answer is to NOT try to dwell on this one being THE BEST ONE; but rather to sit back, take a deep breath, and simply do what I’ve been doing all month.That’s been the best part about this process for me: doing it day after day has given me confidence and the feeling that yes, I could come up with one of these at any time. Are they great?That’s for others to decide.Are some better than others? Of course. As with most things in life, it’s the journey that is more important than the destination. I do think this one is fun, however, and I would encourage everyone to work it up (with diligent practice) to the fastest speed possible.There are a couple of corners to negotiate, but all in all, it lays pretty well under the fingers.You’ll notice it ends not with a bang, but with a whisper. I had to leave room for the sequel!!
James M. Stephenson June, 2012