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Brandon Ridenour’s Music for Trumpet and Djembe was the winner of the Reveille Trumpet Collective’s International Trumpet Composition Competition in 2012. Prized for its energy, thick complexity, and technical virtuosity, it bested hundreds of compositions worldwide to take the grand prize through multiple rounds of judging.
Below you will find both Brandon’s concept for the piece, specifically on the vocabulary used throughout, as well as a recording of the first part by Aaron Hodgson. When you follow along with the samples to the left I am certain you will feel like you are hearing something completely new and extremely exciting.
Music for Trumpet and Djembe by Brandon Ridenour is a merging of tribal and contemporary styles. These instruments have long histories in their own right but come from completely different heritages. Despite their different backgrounds, the collaboration between the two instruments results in a unique musical sound.
The Djembe, a traditional African drum, provides driving, primal rhythms along with atmospheric effects. The Trumpet, also with a very rhythmic role, keeps one’s ears on edge with constant shifts between secure and non-secure tonality. For the most part, the two instruments are in simultaneous agreement on the mood and nature of the music being played. They are constantly pushing and playing off one another. Fortunately, they are also both equally bi-polar; with sudden, drastic shifts in mood.
Although not heard in tribal settings, the Trumpet assumes a role as if it were a ritualistic leader. As a result, a new type of writing for the trumpet is born, pushing the limits of the instrument. The Djembe creates ambiance and atmosphere. Even though it is only one drum, there are many different sounds and colors the instrument can produce.
The Trumpet is the voice, while the Djembe is the nature that surrounds it.
Listen to Part I recorded by Aaron Hodgson