Instrumentation: Solo Bass Trombone and Trombone Quintet/Piano
Violent Shadows was originally written for AJ Muusse in 2017. The wind ensemble version of the piece was written in 2019 for Evan Clifton and a consortium of 9 bass trombonists. Inspired by progressive rock, Violent Shadows showcases the different characters of the bass trombone, from the loud and aggressive side commonly associated with the instrument to the more pure and lyrical side.
Throughout the piece, the solo and accompaniment parts work in opposition to one another. The piece begins with an energetic and fierce A section, featuring a call and response between the soloist and accompaniment where the echoed response is often melodically and rhythmically inverted. This conflict calms down in the slow and reflective B section, but some rhythmic tension persists as the bass trombone’s lyrical melody often moves on contrasting beats from the accompaniment. The two halves of the ensemble fully come together in a grandiose statement of the B section, but this unification is cut short by an embellished recapitulation of the opening section and a quick, harmonically dissonant coda.