Sonata for Trumpet and Piano (2015)
duration: 20’
GRT • 183

recording available
Return Journey
Ensemble Three plays Sonatas by Stuart Greenbaum
Lyrebird Productions, LB061116
ABC Classics, digital, 2018

YouTube (1st movement)

score available from
Australian Music Centre

program note
I. journey to Mars: 6 to 8 months
interlude: the surface
return journey

Sonata for Trumpet and Piano is written for my colleague Joel Brennan. It is the 8th in a series of sonatas undertaken in the new millennium. Written for trumpet in C the work is cast in two programmatic movements – ‘journey to Mars: 6 – 8 months’ and ‘return journey’. These are separated by a brief interlude for solo piano – ‘the surface’. The Mars One program is notably a one-way mission, whereas NASA’s planned Orion spacecraft would bring the crew back to Earth. As with all journeys, venturing out somewhere new has a different emotional psychology to the return journey and I have sought to reflect that in this work. The premiere performance was given by Joel Brennan with Konrad Olszewski in Melba Hall on 6 November 2016.

“In searching for the real Stuart Greenbaum I think I eventually tracked him down in the beautiful, even sexy, Trumpet sonata. Here his music is inspired by outer space and a trip to Mars. Its three interconnected sections being ‘Journey to Mars’ with its repetitious harmonies in the piano under a languid, floating melodic line then a brief ’Interlude’ for solo piano and finally ‘Return Journey’ with its “different emotional psychology” and having in it the only fast and expectant music in the work. At times I was reminded of Aaron Copland’s. ‘Quiet City’ (if that’s a help). The composer was fortunate indeed to have two such sensitive musicians as Joel Bremen with his elegant tone quality and pianist Konrad Olszewski who record it here.”
Gary Higginson, Music Web International, August 2018

Sonata for Trumpet and Piano (performed by Joel Brennan) echoes the trombone work in its ‘floating’ and ‘travelling’ feel, but this work explicitly represents the Mars One mission. The first movement, Journey to Mars: 6 to 8 months, uses a mute to produce lengthy tones – a device representing the dual empty and majestic feelings of the universe itself. Scattered piano notes evoke the stars, while space becomes a thematic metaphor as well as a musical device throughout the work.”
Stephanie Eslake, Limelight, September 2018

“this is very listenable music and that laid-back approach of the composer leads to a feeling of relaxation.”
Michael Morton–Evans, Fine Music Magazine, September 2018

“The trio Ensemble Three recently collaborated with Australian composer Stuart Greenbaum to record a set of the composer’s sonatas. This project is part of a larger ongoing endeavour by Greenbaum to create recital works for all major orchestral instruments. Return Journey features Greenbaum’s Sonata for Trumpet and Piano, performed by Joel Brennan. The composition, in two movements separated by piano interlude, was inspired by the Mars One mission and NASA’s planned Orion spacecraft The composition is solid, with fluid trumpet lines over rhythmic and harmonically pleasing themes in the piano. Brennan’s trumpet playing is clear and beautiful throughout, and the production quality is first-rate. Greenbaum’s sonata will soon be a staple in our modern classical trumpet repertoire.”
Adam Hayes, International Trumpet Guild Journal, January 2019