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Christopher Cerrone

Groundswell

version for trombone or bass trombone and piano

(2022)
Duration8'
CommissionCommissioned by Music Academy of the West
PremiereJune 13, 2023; Music Academy of the West, Santa Barbara, CA; Joshua Williams, tuba • Yu-Ting Peng, piano
PublisherPSNY

Media

Program Note

I began composing Groundswell when I met tubist Joshua Williams in a practice room at the Mannes School of Music in New York, where I teach. I was struck by his talent and virtuosity and by how a tuba can fill a room—how it can shake our bodies—with its huge sound.

During our meeting, I asked Joshua to play a single C on his tuba, swelling from pianissimo to forte. As he did, I mindlessly laid my foot on the sustain pedal of the piano, as I am wont to do. I was shocked at how the tuba swell activated the strings of the piano, causing them to ring sympathetically.

I looked over at Joshua, laughed, and said, “Well, now we have the opening of the piece.”

The music that emerged after this meeting features different swells from the tuba and a silent part for the pianist who has to carefully depress the pedal in time so that the tuba can sympathetically activate the strings.

As I continued to write the piece, I began to think about the orchestral nature of the tuba: We usually think of the tuba as the bass of a large ensemble, blending the strings, percussion, and winds. Something about tuba and “just piano” began to feel off to me. So, in order to solve this issue, I began thinking of ways to transform the piano—and the pianist—into an orchestra. I placed blu-tack putty on the piano’s highest strings to create a percussive drum sound; I asked the pianist to vocalize various sounds to imitate the brass; and finally, I asked them to pluck strings inside the piano to imitate string pizzicato. All of this creates a highly virtuosic and balletic piano part, making the work very much a concertante duo, rather than a piece for tuba and accompanist.

The title Groundswell refers to both the sense of seismic force that the tuba conveys and also the fast accumulation of activity that happens in the piece as it grows increasingly intense. It was commissioned by the Music Academy of the West and is dedicated to Joshua Williams and Yu-Ting Peng. The version for trombone and piano was premiered by Rudi Hermann and Christina Bauer, piano at the Druckereihalle im Ackermannshof, Basel, Switzerland.

– Christopher Cerrone

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Full Score/Performance Score (includes 3 copies) (Print)

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solo part and piano reduction (Digital)

solo part and piano reduction (Print)

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Pricing reflects cost of 5 digital scores.

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Score and part PDF files are delivered via email upon receipt. Any electronic files associated with the work are included with every purchase.

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The full score serves as a performance score for all players. A score PDF file is delivered via email upon receipt. Any electronic files associated with the work are included with every purchase. An email containing a link to download the electronic files is sent to the customer's email address.

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A print edition of the score and part(s) ship to the customer's address upon receipt. Any electronic files associated with the work are included with every purchase. The email containing a link to download the electronic files is sent to the customer.

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A print edition of the score is shipped to the customer's address upon receipt. Any electronic files associated with the work are included with every purchase. An email containing a link to download the electronic files is sent to the customer's email address.

Full Score/Performance Score (Print)
The full score serves as a performance score for all players. Print edition(s) of the full score/performance score are shipped to the customer's address upon receipt. Multiple copies are included if the work has more than one player. Any electronic files associated with the work are included with every purchase.

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A PDF file of the choral score is delivered via email upon receipt. The set is priced to allow multiple copies of the PDF to be printed for performance by the purchasing organization only.

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Study Score (Digital)

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Mezzo-soprano, 2 tenors, baritone score (Digital)