Caravaggio for solo trombone was composed in 2015 for Mark Hetzler, Professor of Trombone at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. It is a four-movement work of about 9 minutes in length. the work was inspired by the incredible artistry of the Italian painter Michelangelo Merisi da Caravaggio (1571-1610). His work, ahead of its time in many ways, changed the visual art world forever and has served as inspiration for generations of artists the world over. I see many similarities between his "outside the box" artistry and that of trombonist Mark Hetzler, whose performances and recordings are stunning, eclectic and instrumental in breaking new ground for the trombone.
The movements are titled after four elements of Caravaggio's painting that stand out to me- Realism, Shadow, Vulgarity and Light. I also see these as elements of Mark Hetzler's performances. Although I have made many indications to steer the performer in certain dirctions musically, I also hope and expect that each performer will apporoach this piece with a passion and abandon that will result in a musical performance that is about much more than notes, rhythms and dynamcis. This work is a vehicle for the trombone soloist to be as expressive as possible. A look at the works of Caravaggio, particularly in context with the other well known painters of the time, should provide substantial inspiration.
- John Stevens
Solo parts included: Trombone