The trombone

rarely performs alone.

Albeit loud,

it is almost always part of a large crowd.


But that does not mean

it is lacking at all in spirit, for by a keen

and subtle transposition in the head

of the trombonist, all scores may be re-read


as concerti for trombone – in which

the other parts recede into a rich

but deferential background to the clear

voice of the instrument that fills his ear.


And then, at home,

in the cork lined practice room with the metronome,

where he goes over and over again the great

glissandi and counts the beats of the long wait


until he comes in again,

he is a soloist, most fortunate of men,

who finds in the composer’s odd

arrangement of notes a hint of the music God


must like in heaven where angels in their choir

do not so much sing as imagine together a higher

harmony in which all ears and hearts

in simultaneous solos play their parts.







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Per Contra: The International Journal of the Arts, Literature and Ideas

Fantasia for Solo Trombone by David R. Slavitt