Resurgence for Solo Trombone and Trombone Sextet

Instrumentation: Solo trombone and trombone sextet

Duration: 12’00”

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Program Notes:

Resurgence is a story about resilience in the face of adversity, inspired by Dr. Jeremy Marks’ experience battling and ultimately overcoming Bell’s palsy, a neurological paralysis to the left side of the face that caused him to be unable to make a sound on the trombone for months during his undergraduate degree as a music major. The soloist directly represents Jeremy’s actions and mentality during this trial through three connected movements, entitled ‘Revelation’, ‘Recovery’, and ‘Redemption’, that describe the timeline of events and narrative arc of this story.

‘Revelation’ begins with the trombone sextet, acting as Jeremy’s colleagues in high school and university concert band, responsibly warming up with traditional Remington exercises before the soloist bombastically starts showing off by playing through every famous trombone concerto or orchestral excerpt they know (including Gordon Jacob’s Concerto for Trombone, Maurice Ravel’s Bolero, and Alexandre Guilmant’s Morceau Symphonique). This introduction leads into a rhythmically-driven, yet unstable, section where the soloist continues to display their technical prowess before everything comes to a halt when they suddenly lose their ability to make a sound on the instrument.

‘Recovery’ depicts the long, arduous journey Jeremy went through during his confrontation with Bell’s palsy. The seven grueling months of work Jeremy endured to get his voice back during this time are reflected with timbre and instrument changes, transitioning from simple mouthpiece buzzing, to being muted when switching back to trombone, to finally playing an open F, the first note Jeremy was able to play after battling with this ailment. The harmony in this movement mirrors this transformation too by starting dark and uncertain, but getting more hopeful over time.

‘Redemption’ is an upbeat and triumphant conclusion to this story, illustrating Jeremy’s appreciation for what he almost lost and the teachers that helped him through the healing process. The movement features callbacks to earlier material from other movements to represent residual side effects and brief moments of doubt, but the soloist quickly overcomes these hurdles and comes back stronger because of theirnewfound respect and responsibility towards their craft. This culminates in an uplifting restatement of the melody from the second movement, now in a major key, followed by the soloist cooling down with a set of long tones akin to the Remington exercises from the beginning of the piece.

Resurgence is dedicated to Jeremy Marks’ former teachers, Dr. William Mathis, Garth Simmons, Dr. Steve Wolfinbarger, and Dr. Nathaniel Brickens.