Suite No. 2 for Trombone and Piano
by Bruce Stark
Ode to Optimism
Suite No. 2 for Trombone and Piano was composed in 2017 for a commission from trombonist Don Lucas. It begins with Ode to Optimism, in which a stately, forthright first theme is followed by contrasting, lyrical material. I think of these as the two faces of optimism: strong, resolved confidence, and a softer, hopeful aspect that embraces, but transcends, hardship. Soliloquy, the second movement played with mute, is a reflective, jazz-influenced piece in which the musicians have more room for personal expression and individuality. It is notated throughout, but aspects of timing and musical nuance will be influenced considerably by the performers. The suite concludes with Dance, a movement propelled by a bright theme over a playful rhythmic groove, in a celebration of life.
A special thanks goes to Don Lucas for his encouragement and support in offering this commission, and for his superb musicianship and enthusiasm in introducing the piece to audiences.
— Bruce Stark