Friedman: Solus

Solus combines various extended techniques which culminate in a 4-movement tour-de-force. Interpretations of this piece are virtually boundless, so I can only offer my own. I’ve included a performance above that I find inspiring.

There is no mistake that Friedman’s background in trumpet performance informs the piece. Extended techniques look seemingly daunting on paper, but upon further investigation, most elements are highly idiomatic. While still requiring a substantial amount of preparation, I believe Solus is accessible to any college level player with C-trumpet experience and good fundamentals. Additionally, theatrical elements (esp. the vocalization section in Mvt. 3) require a player comfortable with over-the-top expression which, honestly, should be a part of any trumpet player’s vocabulary.

Persichetti’s Parable may serve as an excellent introduction to this piece. Spending time with a metronome slowly solidifying the rhythm is crucial. At the end of the day, you must completely internalize the rhythm so your performance may focus on the expression shown through the countless dynamics and special instructions. Avoid writing off the rhythms; many can be highly stylized or interpreted, but often they are specific for a reason. We should honor the composer’s vision in this regard.

Many classical musicians complain about modern classical music becoming less “accessible” to audiences. In many ways, Solus does alienate the audience. After all, the supposed overuse of trumpet-specific extended techniques can be nauseating. However, I believe WE CAN connect with the listener despite this. With careful preparation and performance lead with no abandon, we can create a sound world that is something distinctly vivid.


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