Tromba Lontana (lit. "distant trumpet") is a piece written by American minimalist composer John Adams in 1986. The piece was composed for the Houston Symphony in commemoration of the 150th anniversary of Texas's declaration of independence from Mexico. It contains the voices of two trumpets that are separated from the orchestra, usually performing in the balcony of the concert hall.
John Adams wrote of the piece:
- Tromba lontana (‘distant trumpet’), was written at the request of the Houston Symphony, part of a fanfare commissioning project initiated by the composer Tobias Picker, who wrote his own well-known Old and Lost Rivers for the same series. Taking a subversive point of view on the idea of the generic loud, extrovert archetype of the fanfare, I composed a four-minute work that barely rises about mezzo piano and that features two stereophonically placed solo trumpets (to the back of the stage or on separate balconies), who intone gently insistent calls, each marked by a sustained note followed by a soft staccato tattoo. The orchestra provides a pulsing continuum of serene ticking in the pianos, harps and percussion. In the furthest background is a long, almost disembodied melody for strings that passes by almost unnoticed like nocturnal clouds.
Tromba Lontana appears in the Modern Era soundtrack of Civilization IV, along with several other pieces by Adams.
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