Kindred Sol for Trumpet and Piano
No – the title does not contain a typo… One of the first things you learned when you met with Roger Voisin for the first time was whether or not you were deficient in solfège.Trust me, if comparing to Mr.Voisin, you were. Therefore, the second part of this title – “Sol” – while obviously being a pun, refers, of course, to his amazing fluency in solfège. He could sing the most difficult passages – up to speed – using solfège.
The first part of the title is more obvious.
I only knew him for one summer, the summer of 1985, my one and only summer studying at Tanglewood. Roger was retired from the Boston Symphony by that time, but he still taught with a fierce passion and love for both trumpet and music. Not only that, but he fostered a kindred spirit amongst all of us students, and would have us all over to his summer residence in the Berkshires for some fabulous meals and wonderful stories.
The music I have written recalls vivid memories of his soft playing, which was second to none. (His loud playing wasn’t too shabby either). Specifically, letter G is a direct quote of how he would sit in lessons and just peck out the softest short notes one could imagine.They were almost imperceptible, but represented clarity and quality not replicable by anyone else, no matter how hard we tried. Also – for fun – the music quotes a brief passage here and there from Debussy’s “Fetes” – a piece he would often have us play in the first lesson, just so he could determine how softly we might be able to play, and also how our transposing skills measured up.
I am deeply indebted to my good friend Marc Reese, and to Lynn University, for asking me to create a work in Mr. Voisin’s memory to help inaugurate the first Roger Voisin Memorial Trumpet Competition. It is my honor to do my best to pay tribute to a man and musician of such renown.
Jim Stephenson June, 2017
-- from the Composer's wesbite
Stephenson, James M., "Kindred Sol for Trumpet and Piano" (2017). Commissioned Works. 10.