Concerto in One Movement: Distant Spark - 12 mins - Grade 5
‘Concerto in One Movement: Distant Spark’ was commissioned by the University of Kansas Wind Ensemble for trumpet soloist Jens Lindemann as a response to the isolation experienced by many through 2020 and 2021. The premiere, which took place at the annual University of Kansas Prairie Winds Festival, was streamed on-line to in excess of 2,000 high school students. This was alongside a program of masterclasses, lessons, and a student band video recording, all of which was delivered over the internet. The goal of the project was to promote hope and ambition, leading students through an experience that showed making art and communicating was still possible. The ensemble and soloist made music in a live recorded situation, while playing at a six-foot distance, with reduced numbers, and with face masks and bell covers for each instrumentalist.
The piece itself is a continuous eleven minutes in duration, where the soloist performs on flugel horn, B flat trumpet, and E flat trumpet. The instruments are scored in this order as a symbol of optimism, with the trumpet timbre and range becoming brighter as the work progresses. Similarly, the entire work is in an ever expanding wedge form; where tonality develops through ambiguity to a major certainty, rhythm morphs from blurred to decisive, timbre shifts from blended and coloristic to compact and clear, and the solo writing, though consistently melodic, grows from mournful song to ecstatic dance.
I worked carefully with Jens Lindemann to make the trumpet music as accessible and lyrical as possible, but still making it manageable for the collegiate level principal study trumpeter. The band parts are based on grade four stipulations, encouraging soloists to collaborate with high school ensembles as well as collegiate. It was our vision that this work should be a conduit for communication, exciting and lyrical but not excluding owing to virtuosity, duration, or complexity of band instrumentation and scoring.
Tom Davoren (January 2021, Lawrence, Kansas)
Recording - Jens Lindemann Trumpet Soloist, University of Kansas Wind Ensemble, Paul W. Popiel Conductor, Lied Center of Kansas, February 2021.
Grade Level - Solo 5, Band 4.
Date of Completion - January 2021.