Duo Fantastique (2007)
for two solo trumpets and wind ensemble
Commissioned by Eric Berlin with financial support from the the Charles Schlueter Foundation
Premiered by Eric Berlin and Charlie Schlueter, trumpet soloists, and the University of Massachusetts / Amherst Wind Ensemble, at the 2007 ITG Conference in Amherst, Massachusetts
It is a composer’s treat when he is asked to write music for people he respects very highly. Therefore, when Eric Berlin asked me to compose a new work for himself and Charlie Schlueter with concert band for premiere at the 2007 ITG Conference, I readily accepted. The two soloists, Eric, who was a fellow student at the New England Conservatory, and Charlie, my teacher at NEC, are fabulous trumpeters, and great people. Hence the title, Duo Fantastique, was an obvious choice.
After a brief rhapsodic introduction, the music shifts gears immediately to an almost overly- simplistic tune, where the main theme is put forth by the two soloists. This is done intentionally. I have been to many ITG Conferences, and have heard things done on trumpet I never thought possible (and I’m a trumpeter!); this perhaps being the expectation of many in the audience, I thought I’d put a new spin on it, and start it off nice and easy!
The piece weaves through a few variations on the theme before settling into a slower lyrical section, meant to highlight the unique musical abilities I remember from Mr. Schlueter and Mr. Berlin’s trumpet playing. I also allow the two soloists to add their “signature” in this section, drawing on their respective initials, C.S. (or Bb- Eb) and E.B., for musical inspiration.
The piece ends with the anticipated up-tempo music, and is punctuated in the last couple measures with an inside joke that Schlueter students may remember from their lessons with Charlie!
It has certainly been a delight to write this work for Charlie and Eric, and I would like to thank the Charles Schlueter Foundation for its support in the creation of this new work.
Jim Stephenson May, 2007