Folke Rabe: BASTA för trombone solo /1982/

I composed ”Basta” in 1982 for Christian Lindberg who at the time was a student at the Royal College of Music in Stockholm, Sweden. The piece was commissioned by the College as a part of a project promoting the development of repertoire for solo trombone. Christian premiered Basta at a concert within the framework of the project.

In the early ’80:ies I composed a series of virtuoso pieces for soloists on various instruments. Basta was the first of these. Here you can hear examples of extremely fast scale movements and chords that are produced when the player sings and plays simultaneously. The same techniques, very much further developed, are used in my trombone concerto “All the lonely people…” written for Christian Lindberg in 1990 and recorded by him on the BIS CD label.

During the following years I have written more works for trombone in combination with other instruments, always for Christian as the trombone player: “Tintomara” for trumpet and trombone /1992/ and “Jawbone Five” /1996/ for trombone and six percussionists. I have also written music for other brass instruments: “Shazam”, for solo trumpet, a Concerto for trumpet and sinfonietta, a Concerto for French horn and string orchestra, “Escalations” for brass quintet and a Concerto Grosso for brass quintet and symphony orchestra.

A frequently asked question is whether there is a story behind “Basta”. I never had any "story" or "program" in mind when I wrote Basta but it is true that the beginning and end set some kind of situation...

I got the idea that the player could be seen as a kind of messenger who hurries in and delivers his message and then - BASTA! - rushes away. (You know that "basta" in Italian means "ENOUGH!!!".) But apart from that there is no further story like e.g. what is enough? or what is the message? or why this haste? That is up to everybody's imagination. But I think that the music in itself, virtuoso as it is, at times carries a feeling of stress and haste, especially in the end where motives and fragments of motives are juggled around and phrases are not finished before the next one breaks in....


In Basta the bass clef at the end of bar 17 should be pushed forward until immediately after the first note in bar 18 so that the notes in the triplet become Eb, Ab, C. This error has now been corrected by the publisher Edition Reimers so that future copies should be in order.

Folke Rabe, 2009-02-11