Duration (in minutes): 9'39;
Difficulty: High (professional)
Category: solo brass with piano
Publisher: Subito Music Corporation
Description: I met Nicole Abissi, the trombonist who commissioned this work, when she was performing with the brass quintet Stiletto, a very talented all-female brass quintet that performs in red pumps. So it seemed appropriate that a work written for Nikki should use a feminine title. For some reason, window shades came to my mind. Since I like titles with multiple meanings, Custom-made Shades also refers to the shadings of trombone colors used in the piece, including bent tones, glissandi, alternate fingerings, singing vs. very showy passages, and extremes of range – all meant to show off Nicole’s fine playing. The work is “custom-made”, that is, it creates its material from Nicole Abissi’s name. The C then the E of Nicole’s first name are followed by the A and B and, eventually the Ebs (German for S) of her last name. These motifs are prominent in all three movements. The second movement ends with an F and the third movement begins with the same one – a reference, I realized, to my first name. The entire work ends as it began, on the note C.