Since there was no rehearsal this week for the AWCB, and therefore no back row shenanigans to comment on, I present a list that I keep in my head and update pretty regularly. The criteria should be fairly self apparent. The order changes probably daily, and the pieces on the list change most often when I actually get to play them, although there are a couple that have been on there forever and might require me to actually haunt somebody, which would kind of be a drag.
Five pieces of music I need to perform at least once before I die, or I’m coming back to haunt somebody:
1. Mahler, Songs of a Wayfarer. I have not invited any of my friends snobbish enough to correct me on the title. I’d love to be able to sing well enough to do this and have somebody care about it. Then again, maybe I just want to be Thomas Hampson when I grow up.
2. Shostakovich, The Tale of the Priest and his worker Balda. This covers a lot of ground: it’s Shostakovich at his sardonic best, and it’s incidental music for an experimental satiric cartoon (this whole post is worth it just for that link) by Tsekhanovsky based on a story by Pushkin- does it get better than that? I admit it, I had never heard of Tsekhanovsky before this. But it starts off with a cracking trombone solo with straight mute, and just has a lot of fun after that.
3. Bach, B minor mass. I did the St. Matthew Passion a couple of years ago, and it remains a highlight of my musical career. (Well, except for that idiot with the cell phone stepping on that glorious suspension in the oboe at the end. Jerk.) There’s some great stuff in the Mass, though, and part of the reason I want to perform it is to get into the nuts and bolts of the piece the way I only can when I’m preparing something for performance.
4. Morten Lauridsen, Lux Aeterna. This would be hard for me- the tenor part is too high, the bass part is too low, there isn’t a string bass part, and the trombone part wanders around in that annoying mid/high trigger range that I’m so bad at. When I muck around with range extension, pieces like this are why. (Side note: I’m agitating to perform Lauridsen’s O Magnum Mysterium in the AWCB, so we’ll see how that goes!) At some point I’ll need to do a post about how my obsession with settings of the Requiem does not indicate an unhealthy obsession with death.
5. Brahms Ein Deutches Requiem. When paring the list down to five, it’s a tough call between this and the Mozart- what self respecting trombonist wouldn’t want a crack at the Tuba Mirum solo? But today at least, the idea of sitting in a group of 50 or so musicians singing the pianissimo opening of Denn alles Fleisch is the difference. Trombone parts are pretty awesome, too.