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for Violin, Trumpet and Piano
The trio sonata was written for Richard Stoelzel, a good friend and great supporter of new music. He has also been responsible for other works of mine, including the trumpet sonata, and sets of brass quintet arrangements of music by Gershwin and Tchaikovsky’s Nutcracker.
His directive in the composition of this piece was to compose something straightforward and accessible. Hence the melodies, especially in the first and second movements, are generally tonal and pleasant. I broke from this pattern slightly in the third movement, allowing the music to be a little more wild and frenetic, and also almost suggesting a Latin influence. The title, “Devil’s Mischief,” is reflected in both my own desire to spice up the music, and is descriptive of the hellish piano part!
The challenge in composing, and performing, music written for an ensemble containing violin, trumpet and piano is always maintaining a balance where all instruments can be heard and/or step forward when necessary. Each instrument, therefore, has solo passages, and the trumpet uses a variety of mutes to both change the color and cover the sound to allow for better balance within the trio of players.
Jim Stephenson, 2001
The cornet part was added at the request of Jeffrey Work for a performance in Portland, Oregon in 2008. I was at the performance, and would highly recommend this instrument choice as an option, as it works well for both color and balance.