By Shawn W. Davern
Brittany Lasch & Thomas Weaver, 2021
Year: 2016/Rev. 2021
Commissioned by and dedicated to Dr. Brittany Lasch.
Pre-revised version was premiered by Dr. Brittany Lasch
and Thomas Weaver (Piano) on April 11th, 2016 at the
Boston University College of Fine Arts Concert Hall.
The revised version of the Sonata was recorded remotely
in the Winter of 2021 by Dr. Brittany Lasch and Thomas
Weaver with the generous assistance of Astral Artists
as part of their Astral Nova digital recital series.
The city of Boston, Massachusetts will forever remain closest to my heart and of all the amazing musicians that I met during my time in the city, the person that inspired me the most was Brittany Lasch. We met during our respective time studying at Boston University and in the summer of 2015, I was honored when she asked me to compose a multi movement work for trombone and piano for her final doctoral recital. Marking my first official commissioned composition, the piece was entitled Sonata for Trombone & Piano and premiered by Dr. Lasch and pianist Thomas Weaver.
Fast forwarding five years later, the world found itself in complete disarray, experiencing political discourse and a worldwide pandemic unlike anything that had been seen in generations. During a summer that was fraught with such chaos, I found solace in two deeply personal aspects of my life; my music and my nostalgia. Remembering the numerous nostalgic moments in my life prior to the pandemic is what helped me to carry on through the summer of 2020 and inspired me to breathe new life into a revised version of my Sonata for Trombone & Piano, subtitled as Nostalgia Bostonia.
In its essence, the revised Sonata for Trombone & Piano: Nostalgia Bostonia is a musical love letter to the city of Boston and all of the wonders that the metropolis holds within. The subtitle derives its namesake from the numerous nostalgic aspects of the city as well as the Boston University alumni publication of the same name. Each movement of the piece is inspired by a different significant aspect of the city and is coupled with a contrasting style of music.
Entitled Green Line Gavotta & Gigue, the first movement is dedicated to the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority and all the hard working people who keep it operating. Known colloquially as “The T”, this Boston public transit system transports millions of people all around the city every day and riding it on a regular basis is considered to be a right of passage to become a true Bostonian. The first movement is titled after my favorite section of the MBTA and the portion that Boston University’s campus resides on, the Green Line. The piece opens with all the excitement and wanderlust that comes with riding “the T” for the very first time.
The second movement was inspired by the countless iconic sights and settings of Boston that make the city such a wonderful place to live in. With all the hustle and bustle that comes with the urban lifestyle, it is easy to miss out on some of the greatest scenes that the city has to offer. The first few notes of this Urban Idyll attempt to instill feelings of peaceful sentimentality that evolve into lush euphoria, all surrounding around the same main theme. The style of the movement is deeply inspired by the historic jazz culture that resides in the city.
The last movement is dedicated to the proud Latin American music community of Boston and the many styles of their music that are hugely prominent in the city. Reposado Sunset Rhumba derives its namesake from an old Mexican restaurant that I use to work at, as well as the type of tequila that was most frequently ordered. This movement is also greatly inspired by the music of composer, pianist and Massachusetts native, Chick Corea. The rhumba is separated into two contrasting sections, with the overall latin groove and intensity being maintained throughout. The last movement ends as fiery as it began, bringing the entire Sonata for Trombone & Piano to an exciting conclusion.
Nostalgia is a remarkable aspect of the human experience and I am so happy to have had the opportunity to revisit and revise this piece. Dr. Lasch and I hope you enjoy Sonata for Trombone & Piano: Nostalgia Bostonia