steve parker

artist // musician // curator

header photo

Parafrasis / Charlie Brown

The trombone is prettay prettay good at mimicking human conversation.  


The first example that comes to my mind is the abstraction of adult voices in those old Peanuts cartoons: 

One of the more noteworthy implementations of this idea of in Robert Erickson's General Speech. Commissioned by the great Stuart Dempster, the work is essentially a transcription of the "Duty, Honor, Country" speech given by General MacCarther at West Point Military Academy in the 60's.  The piece requires the trombonist to speak through the instrument and employs a number of theatrical elements.  

Here is an excellent and thorough realization of the piece by Obie Berk Schneider, complete with supertitles!  

Recently, I had the distinct honor to premiere a new solo work by Hilda Paredes, entitled Parafrasis.  I've been a fan of her work for some time, so it was very exciting for me to play this new piece.

According to Hilda, Parafrasis is "a paraphrase of the speech of a character in 

my opera el Palacio Imaginado. The first scene is an inauguration of a summer palace by the dictator of a country in Latin America and he gives a speech.

The trombone part in the opera functions as an alter ego of the voice part.  In Parafrasis, I have combined fragments of the voice part and trombone with syllables of the text. It is not so important to understand the actual meaning of the original source, as the piece is more about the ego and neurosis of the character, bordering into the ridiculous."

On top of being a very effective piece, Parafrasis employs a number of skillfully implemented idiomatic brass techniques.  Here are some quick excerpts:




Go Back

Good stuff here, Steve. General Speech has always intrigued me and this Parafrasis piece seems cool too! Keep the posts coming.