RPM (three trumpets OR 2tpt/tbn/tba)
$15.00 – $20.00
During my sophomore year of college, I decided to change my instrumental emphasis from classical to jazz, though in doing so, I’d forfeit substantial time hanging out with the trumpet performance majors of my graduating class. Because those friendships meant a lot to me, I wrote RPM with the three of us specifically in mind. (Perusal score available!)
Trio (original): Run time: trio approx. 6′. Trumpet 1 range: F#3-C6. Trumpet 2 range: A3-B5. Trumpet 3 range: B3-D6. All ranges are as written.
Quartet orchestration: RPM is also available for brass quartet (two B-flat trumpets, trombone, and tuba). Run time: approx. 7′. Trumpet 1 range: B3-D6. Trumpet 2 range: A3-C6. Trombone range: D3-A4. Tuba range: G1-Db4. All ranges are as written.
About the original trio:
During my sophomore year of college, I decided to change my instrumental emphasis from classical to jazz. I’d been in and out of jazz bands for years, and ultimately that was where I thought I’d feel most at home. In doing so, though, I had to leave the classical trumpet studio, where I’d already spent two years. I’d become especially close with the two performance majors my age, and I knew that as we moved into our upper-division coursework we would be seeing less and less of each other.
With that in mind, I began writing. The first movement, modeled after one friend, was energetic and technically demanding; the second, after the other, was devastatingly lyrical and meant for a group that knows how to feel. The third movement was mine. I named it Revolutions Per Minute, or RPM for short.
The first movement, Call to Arms, is in-your-face confrontational. It represents the complete command trumpets can have, both in chamber and large ensemble. It also contains a mellow section in which the musicians juxtapose fiery sixteenth-note rhythms against running eighth notes.
The second movement, (Calm) Before the Storm, is reflective. It allows warmer timbres to take over as the players explore a simple motive. Later in the movement, what was once a set of open harmonies becomes tight and dissonant, allowing the music to grow in strength as the players proceed into the upper register.
The third movement, Revolution, is tense and almost frantic, darting a sixteenth-note figure similar to the first movement back and forth between players. By layering a motive that follows the form of a twelve-bar blues over the ostinati created by the other two parts, the lines between jazz and classical begin to become blurred. As the movement progresses, other bits and pieces of the prior movements resurface, building toward a smooth, exciting conclusion.
Trumpet trio run time: approx. 6′. Trumpet 1 range: F#3-C6. Trumpet 2 range: A3-B5. Trumpet 3 range: B3-D6. All ranges are as written.
RPM trio perusal (preview before you buy!)
Listen to my performance of RPM (trio) with Alex Wilson and Robert Lau Giambruno:
About the quartet orchestration:
Fast forward three years to my inaugural semester at CalArts. I’m now a member of a wonderful brass quartet of inspiring musicians, and as we were looking around for rep, I found myself digging into the archives. I’d always wanted to set RPM for brass and large ensemble; what would happen if I instead expanded it for two trumpets, trombone, and tuba?
Once I’d settled on the quartet orchestration, I got to work. The result is a piece that closely resembles its predecessor, but I’ve added some new lines to the original. Audiences familiar with the trio version of RPM will still hear the material they love, those same moments of tension and release and desperation and victory, but with the addition of the low end, new opportunities await.
So, for now, the revolution continues….
RPM‘s brass quartet version (two B-flat trumpets, trombone, and tuba) clocks in at approx. 7′. Trumpet 1 range: B3-D6. Trumpet 2 range: A3-C6. Trombone range: D3-A4. Tuba range: G1-Db4. All ranges are as written.
In the quartet version, the trumpets might opt to swap for flugelhorns in the second movement. If so, I suggest taking everything down an octave from m.32 until the last two bars of the movement. You get a great timbral mix that way!
I performed the quartet version of RPM with several of my CalArts classmates. Watch us here:
- Spring 2023: Utah Valley University, Orem, UT (quartet)
- 4/8/2023: Cassie Parrell, UW-Whitewater, WI (trio)
- 4/24/2021: SUNY Potsdam, NY (trio)
- 5/23/2019: eGALitarian, International Women’s Brass Conference, Katzin Concert Hall, Tempe, AZ (trio)
- 10/22/2018: eGALitarian, Areté Venue and Gallery, NY (trio)
- 3/3/2018, the Wild Beast, Valencia, CA (quartet, world premiere)
- 4/20/2015: with Alex Wilson and Robert Lau Giambruno, Katzin Concert Hall, Tempe, AZ (trio)
- 4/10/2015: with Parker Nakamura and Robert Lau Giambruno, Church of the Epiphany, Tempe, AZ (trio, world premiere)
If you’ve given a performance I haven’t heard about or have forgotten to include here, please let me know! I’d love to add it to my list.
Brass quartet, Three trumpets