I really enjoyed performing Doug Bristol’s Conversation for trombone and timpani. The combination of trombone and timpani may seem unlikely at first, but they go really well together– both instruments can naturally produce glisses, and they can play in similar registers. These similarities can also present challenges, though. It can be difficult to match the style of glissando between trombone and timpani. The composer notes not to emphasize the glissando too much, which probably takes more effort from the trombonist. The other challenge is blend. Since both instruments are low, it can sometimes sound muddy. I think the important part is to really make careful articulation choices. Just as the timpanist will want to use different mallets, the trombonist should experiment with different articulations (staying within the realm of the composer’s intentions, of course.).
Doug Bristol is Professor of Music Theory and Technology at Alabama State University where he teaches courses in theory and ear training; low brass; technology; composition/arranging; and jazz. I have had the pleasure of playing with Doug Bristol during my time at Columbus State University (Alabama is just across the river!)– he is a fantastic trombonist and composer!