If you don’t have an embouchure of steel, then don’t go here. The brass trio is almost always a difficult group to play in because of stamina issues. But you may be surprised at the depth of repertoire this genre has amassed. The normal instrumentation for this group is trumpet, horn and trombone. I played in a brass trio for two years, while I was teaching at the University of Evansville. After adjusting to this group, I don’t think I have ever had as strong of chops as I had when I played in this group. The trombonist was Bill Bootz and on horn was my friend Chris Smith, who teaches horn now at Texas Tech University.
Everyone probably knows, or has heard about, the Francis Poulenc Sonata for Horn, Trumpet and Trombone. Written in 1922 for a performance at the Théâtre des Champs-Élysées, this three-movement witty piece deserves its preeminence among the literature for brass trio. Here is a fantastic video recording of the Poulenc provided by the WDR Funkhausmusik.
Here are just some other brass trios you may want to check out:
- Allan Dean’s arrangements of the Gloggauer Liederbuch and some pieces by Heinrich Isaac
- Eric Ewazen has a wonderful Philharmonic Fanfare
- There is a brass trio and an evocative Scenes from the Bayou by Gina Gillie
- Adolphus Hailstork, wrote a moving Ghosts in Grey and Blue
- Jan Koetsier took some material from Mozart and wrote his Figaro-Metamorphonsen
- Fisher Tull wrote his Trio in 1967
- Alan Hovhaness wrote Three Fantasies for Brass Trio
If you enjoyed hearing this recordings, also check out one of my favorite brass trio groups, Cleveland-based, Factory Seconds with the wonderful Jack Sutte on trumpet, Jesse McCormick on horn and Rick Stout on trombone. Here they are recording J.S. Bach’s Symphonia No. 1 in the studio of Interlochen Public Radio.