A new book – The One Hundred: Essential Works for the Symphonic Bass Trombonist

A new book – The One Hundred: Essential Works for the Symphonic Bass Trombonist

Over the last year and a half, I have been at work every day on a new book that has actually taken me 40 years to write. I’m very pleased that The One Hundred: Essential Works for the Symphonic Bass Trombonist is now at the printer and available for pre-order; copies will be shipped in March.

I took my first professional symphony orchestra audition in 1977, the year after I graduated from Wheaton College. That audition was for the Minnesota Orchestra. I didn’t win; the audition was won by Max Bonecutter, although I was one of four players in the final round and got cut at the same time as Charles Vernon, bass trombonist of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra who at the time was bass trombonist of the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra. That was the beginning of a process that eventually brought me to the Boston Symphony in 1985. Over these many decades, I have been engaged in  studying the orchestral literature and learning all I could from colleagues, conductors, authors and many others. I brought the full orchestra score to most works to rehearsals, I took notes about how conductors were handling certain passages, and I noted when there were misprints and mistakes in my part. I have hundreds of scores, books and facsimile editions in my personal library and I have gotten great pleasure from studying them over and over again.

After having played the standard orchestral repertoire many times over, served on dozens of audition committees and taught hundreds of lessons in this music, I was glad that eighteen months ago, Wesley Jacobs, owner of Encore Music Publishers, asked me if I would like to write an annotated orchestral excerpt book for bass trombone.

I was delighted to be asked to undertake this huge project, and to have a book stand alongside the two other important annotated orchestral excerpt books in The One Hundred series:  The One Hundred: Essential Works for the Symphonic Tenor Trombonist (by Megumi Kanda, principal trombonist of the Milwaukee Symphony) and The One Hundred: Essential Works for the Symphonic Tubist (by Wesley Jacobs, retired tubist of the Detroit Symphony).

In an effort to write the most comprehensive book on the subject of bass trombone orchestral repertoire preparation, I collected as many sources as I could to inform my scholarship. Take, for instance, the well-known passage from the fourth movement of Beethoven’s Symphony No. 9. Below you can see the first page of this important excerpt as printed in my new book (FYI, the watermark, 2021, is the Encore Music Publishers catalog number; this image is from the final PDF proof of the book):


I’m sure the music looks mostly familiar to those who have played this part. But I did not simply duplicate what I have seen in various editions of the symphony. Below you can see all of the sources that I consulted to inform both my commentary and my presentation of Beethoven’s music:


I used two different editions of the full orchestra score, two editions of the bass trombone part, two books about Beethoven, a book about the Ninth Symphony, a critical commentary about the Ninth Symphony and a facsimile of Beethoven’s manuscript to the piece. All of these sources, in addition to my own performance notes that I had taken during my dozens of performances of this great work, all were utilized as I put together this single page in my book. I have corrected some mistakes that have appeared in earlier printings of this music, and provided some insight into both how I approach playing this music and how conductors have led it during rehearsals and performances as well. I endeavored to leave no stone unturned and provide readers with the best, most accurate information to help them in their preparation.

While our aim was to have a book that contained 100 works, there are actually 109 works in my book. Among those works that we wanted to include were 30 that are currently under copyright, for which we needed to obtain a license and pay royalties to copyright holders in order to reproduce them in the book. We anticipated that some of the copyright holders might not give us permission to reproduce so I came up with a list of 110 works to include in case we came up short with copyrighted works. We were very pleased that 29 of the 30 copyright holders graciously agreed to license us. This left us with more works than we had originally intended but we decided to include the additional nine works over the intended 100; I have a feeling nobody will complain! The result? A book with 360 excerpts from 109 works by 49 composers.

If you are interested in more information about this new book or would like to order a copy, there are three ways you can do this:

The website of Encore Music Publishers will lead you to a page about the book; it is featured on the website’s first page. While there, have a look at Encore Music Publisher’s many other fine publications, including the edition of the Arban Complete Method for trombone and euphonium by Joseph Alessi and Brian Bowman, and the Complete Vocalises by Marco Bordogni edited by Michael Mulcahy.

Encore Music Publishers has created a website for the three books in The One Hundred series. This is a convenient gateway to information about all three books in the series, for tenor trombone, bass trombone and tuba.

I have put a page on my own website devoted to The One Hundred. There you can get a fuller account of how this book came to be, and you can also download a free PDF with 10 sample pages from the book so you can see the front and back covers, table of contents, preface, and four sample pages.

I want to thank Wesley Jacobs, owner of Encore Music Publishers, for working with me so I could – at last – write this book. It has been a labor of love, something I have wanted to do for a very long time. It is very, very satisfying to know that soon, it will be in the hands of students and players around the world.