Joy, Tears & Luck and An Bord!: A Review
Kalke, Ernst-Thilo. Joy, Tears & Luck. Musikverlag Bruno Uetz, Germany. 2013. M-50146-807-2.
Kania, Eric. An Bord!. Musikverlag Bruno Uetz, Germany. 2016. M-50146-993-2.
Finding chamber music suitable for developing trombonists can pose a difficult challenge. Fortunately, two recent publications from Musikverlag Uetz Music, a quartet by Ernst-Thilo Kalke and a trio arranged by Eric Kania, have made this search a little easier.
The first publication from Musikverlag Uetz Music, Joy, Tears, & Luck, is a composition for trombone quartet by Ernst-Thilo Kalke. The work is made up of three movements, Joy, Tears, and New Luck. The first movement, "Joy," is an upbeat movement set in B♭ major containing a bright melody evoking the titular emotion. The second, "Tears," is more melancholy than its predecessor, set in G minor, and explores feelings of anger and frustration through, among other compositional techniques, prolonged dynamic growth and decay. The third movement, "New Luck," rounds out the composition with an upbeat and technically challenging finale. This movement expands the range of the first trombone, and employs non idiomatic melodies. The last two movements employ swung eighth notes, an opportunity for stylistic development for students who haven't participated in jazz ensembles.
The three movements work well together, musically exploring feelings of joy, sorrow, and excitement. The unique melodies and expansive range make this piece best suited for advanced high school students or early college students.
The second publication from Musikverlag Uetz Music, An Bord! Das Maritim-Album für Posaunentrio (On Board! The Maritime album for trombone trio), is an arrangement of nine nautically inspired melodies by Eric Kania. The nine melodies range from northern German sea shanties to Hawaiian love songs, and include well known melodies such as "My Bonnie Lies Over the Ocean." Despite their shared nautical inflections, each melody has a distinct style ranging from the military march inspire "Gruß an Kiel" to the Cantible Adagio of "Rolling Home."
Since each movement is an independent composition, the work can be performed as a whole or in smaller segments. Program notes also give the performers background on each of the melodies. Google translate would provide a useful tool for those not fluent in German. The arrangements also give the opportunity for all three parts to perform the melody, such as in "Auf der Reeperbahn nachts um halb eins" and "My Bonnie Lies Over the Ocean." An Bord! proves less challenging than the previous publication, with a less demanding upper register, and more idiomatic melodies appropriate for advanced high school students.