Bluebells of Scotland
“Bluebells of Scotland” is a piece written and composed in the late romantic era around 1899 by Arthur Pryor. The piece was composed from a traditional Scottish folk song for the trombone and orchestral accompaniment. In the late 1800s the trombone was not viewed as an instrument that could perform particularly difficult pieces. Compelled by society’s negative opinion of the trombone, Pryor composed “Bluebells of Scotland” in order to display the capabilities of the trombone and to emphasize that it could play very difficult pieces. This piece is a little more upbeat and physical than other pieces of the same time period, but what makes this piece particularly unique is that it is the only piece with a high level of difficulty for trombone that was composed in the time of its conception. The piece is intended to be accompanied by an orchestra but can be played with piano accompaniment as well.
The characteristics of this piece are very dynamic and free. The expressivity of the piece is left up to the interpretation of the performer which allows for a large amount of freedom and creativity. There are quite a few cadences that allow the performer to take control of tempo and dynamics. “Bluebells of Scotland” includes both very slow and lyrical passages as well as many very quick and difficult runs, double-tonguing, octave jumps, lips slurs, and a vast amount of high register notes. The introduction of the piece begins with a triumphant cadence peaking at a high register C, which slowly decays into a very lyrical melodic sequence that takes the shape of the original lyrics, which read: “Oh where, tell me where, is your highland laddie gone? Oh where, tell me where, is your highland laddie gone? He's gone with streaming banners where noble deeds are done. And it's oh! in my heart I wish him safe at home.” The piece then moves into a much more difficult technical variation of the original melody and progressively builds in speed until the...
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