Sean William Calhoun | Composer and pianist

Concerto for Trumpet and Wind Ensemble (2017) – 13'

I. Bonds
II. Unmooring
III. Expanse
IV. Gauntlet
Concerto for Trumpet and Wind Ensemble was composed for trumpeter Erika Izaguirre. As I was preparing to compose the piece, Erika showed me that the trumpet has small slides that can bend the pitch by a semitone. This struck me as an underused ability, particularly for adding melodic nuance, so it became one of the basic musical ideas of the piece.
The concerto is set in four continuous movements. In the first, Bonds, a slow invocation from the trumpet grows from the semitone slide into longer figures before bringing in much of the ensemble. The trumpet reasserts itself with a quintuplet rhythm before introducing a lyrical melody that is stopped, left feeling incomplete. The ensemble attempts to play the melody, but it becomes progressively more broken until the trumpet is left alone in a searching cadenza which leads into the second movement, Unmooring.
The stasis and heaviness of Bonds are left behind for rapid dialogues of lines being thrown from the soloist into the ensemble and motives from before being developed. At the end of the movement, the full ensemble finally joins the soloist in dramatic statement of the melody, but it wrenches apart again, more violently than before. In the aftermath, all that remains is the empty sonority of the third movement, Expanse, in which the solo trumpet discovers a new extension of its opening motive, reaching farther, before being enveloped by enigmatic chords shifting within the ensemble.
Violent, rapid interruptions from the trumpet lead into the final movement, Gauntlet. Ferocious lines in the trumpet and ensemble chase each other, driving the trumpet to a return of its opening solo, but with a broader span, and with the ensemble swirling and pulsing around it. Lyrical and turbulent music converge more rapidly, culminating in the soloist soaring over the ensemble with the melody, finally completed by the figure from Expanse so it can fly to the end.