Notturno for Trumpet, Harp, and Strings, was composed for Jeffrey Silberschlag. The work has been recorded and released on Delos, performed by Mr. Silberschlag with the Seattle Symphony Orchestra conducted by Gerard Schwarz.

While composing the work, I had in mind impressions of hot summer nights I once spent in Madrid, Spain. Cast as a single-movement fantasy, the music increases in complexity and excitement as the city wakes from its siesta and shopkeepers resume their posts in the early evening hours. Gradually, as the families with their elegantly dressed children begin their promenades, the orchestration becomes thicker and the music more agitated. Traffic noise increases and the city comes alive as students and young business people join each other in the outdoor cafes for drinks, cigarettes, and snacks. Finally, after the long dinner hour, the music begins to calm into a sensual serenade, as the only strollers left on the street are the lovers, embracing in front of the now-closed shop windows. The music ends quietly, as it began, with the city once again asleep.

There are several unifying motives throughout the piece. One is a violent flamenco-like stamping of repeated notes; another is reminiscent of the four-note descending ostinato that is repeated throughout Maurice Ravel’s tribute to Spain, Rhapsodie espagnole. The virtuoso solo trumpet plays the role of omnipresent observer, reacting to and commenting on the life of the city as it unfolds.

Selected Performances of Notturno

Premiere: April 28, 1999, Jeffrey Silberschlag, trumpet, New York Chamber Symphony, with George Manahan, Alice Tully Hall, Lincoln Center, NYC

Notturno has been recorded by the Seattle Symphony with Jeffrey Silberschlag on the DELOS label.

© John Carbon 2015