The majority of my works from the last few years have programmatic or non-musical starting points: they are part of concert programs with added dramatic value, for example the Five Canonic Studies for Trombone and Accordion (2006) from the concert portrait The Phonometrograph Erik Satie, or commissioned works for specific occasions, such as Inner Antiphony - Fanfare for Orchestra and two Percussionists (2010), for the opening of the Schumann Year. But, actually, if I could fullfil my own wishes, then I would prefer to write ‘Absolute Music’; music which is only referential to itself, and is not bound to any non-musical dramatic concepts. My Music for Trombone and Orchestra (2010) is such a work, one that I wanted to write and which for me is absolute, ‘pure’ music. Because I had to compose Music for Trombone, Piano, and Percussion (2011) directly after the similar-sounding titled Music for Trombone and Orchestra - and actually while I was practicing the work for orchestra myself - I wanted for practical reasons to write a pared-down version of it, a kind of reduction for trio. While composing, however, I heard so many new, interesting sonic and structural possibilities that I wanted to look further into that I went away from my first idea and wrote music that actually has only rarely to do with the preceding work. And as Music for Trombone, Piano, and Percussion is a commission - which I gratefully thank the trio for - it’s also an exceptional opportunity for me to run wild, artistically speaking, and write as I want to. Furthermore, as an interpreter one can grade works in a "cost to benefit" ratio: how much one must practice in relation to how much music comes out as a result. In this trio, the ratio is not really that favorable for the players. It is, I fear, seriously difficult, and often goes to the limits of volume and speed. I am very indebted to the three lively young musicians, Frederic Belli, Johannes Fischer and Nicholas Rimmer, for the extra work they’ve put in to make the premiere possible!
Mike Svoboda, June 2011