Johan De Meij: T-Bone Concerto, Mvt. I "Rare"

The T-Bone Concerto was written by the Dutch composer Johan De Meij (b. 1953) after a commission by the Kentucky Music Educator's Association in 1996.  De Meij himself studied trombone at the Royal Conservatory of Music in the Hague, but this was the first work for solo instrument that he had written.  The piece consists of three movements, labeled: Rare, Medium, Well Done.

I couldn't find anything related to the obvious pun in the title of the work and I've often wondered what possessed him (if anything beyond just being a Dutch trombonist) to title his work as such.  He does have other works with unique names such as "Extreme Makeover" (featuring music from a Tchaikovsky string quartet) and the "UFO Concerto" for Euphonium, so I guess this is par for the course.


De Meij is also an evident Tolkien fan, as his first symphony written for winds was entitled "The Lord of the Rings" and featured 5 movements around primary characters and locations in the series.  We'll save that one for another LF.  Something I've found personally interesting is De Meij's seeming preference for wind bands.  All three of his symphonies were originally written for wind band, only later being transcribed for orchestra.  It's kind of nice to have someone as prolific as De Meij writing for that type of ensemble.  

The first movement of the T-Bone Concerto has a similar sense of "epic-ness" befitting the Lord of the Rings with a long introduction featuring thematic material from the third movement beginning slowly and increasing in mass leading up to the arrival of the soloist.  The whole movement follows an A-B-A form (which could be considered a lengthy version of the Ternary form), meaning that the initial theme transitions into a secondary theme (which is softer and more lyrical) and then back to the primary theme with some different orchestrations leading up to a climactic ending.

The whole work is an exercise in physical endurance, technique, and range for the super trombonists of today.  It is also available with piano accompaniment if you can't find a large group of instrumentalists to hang out with you on the weekend, but the piano reduction leaves much to be desired from the original work.  The best recording I've heard of this piece comes from Joe Alessi's album, Illuminations.  The recording presented is the best I could find on YouTube.

Homework:  Write a brief biography of a hero (super or otherwise) that is inspired by this piece.  You can share your answers in the comments.

See you next Friday.