Piano Accompaniment

Composer : Frank Martin
Title : Ballade
Period : Post-romanticsm

Martin's Ballade for trombone was commissioned for the 1940 Geneva Competition with the understanding that it should be no more than seven minutes long. This was the first time that the famous international competition had included the trombone among the competition instruments, and it seemed natural to commission a test piece from a local composer, even if largely unknown outside his native Switzerland. Martin, then in the process of composing Le Vin herbé, sought the advice of the trombonist of the Orchestre de la Suisse Romande to exploit the new techniques of trombone playing developed earlier in the century. The resultant version for trombone and piano was quickly recognized as a masterpiece at its première in 1940, and efforts were made to produce a version with orchestral accompaniment. Although Martin had written well for the orchestra before, he felt slightly unequal to this task and sought the help of his friend, the outstanding Franco-Swiss conductor Ernest Ansermet, to work out some of the details. The new version was completed in 1940 and immediately established itself in the concert repertoire, acting as a focal point and stimulus for later works for trombone and orchestra and generally being regarded as the work that "led the trombone into our own time" (Christian Lindberg).