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Adams: Tromba Lontana

Can you guess this piece? Here’s a hint: Some very strange music for a celebration?

The year 1986 was a big year for the state of Texas. This was because 1986 was the 150th anniversary of Texas’ independence from Mexico! In order to celebrate this festive occasion, the Houston Symphony commissioned John Adams to compose a fanfare for orchestra. Taking a different point of view on the idea of the generic loud, extrovert archetype of the fanfare, Adams composed a four-minute work, Tromba lontana, that barely rises about mezzo piano and that features two stereophonically placed solo trumpets calling back and forth to one another. Tromba lontana is often paired with the much louder and faster Short Ride in a Fast Machine, although it was never Adams’ intention to have these two fanfares paired together.

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