Ballade, Op. 62 part 2
In this masterclass for trombone, Professor Jacques Mauger, and student Maël Dolivet take on the competition piece Ballade, Op.62 by French composer Eugène Bozza.
This is a very expressive and demanding piece that requires its interpreters to demonstrate a wide range of skills such as solid musical phrasing, good legato technique, and a diverse range of nuances. Mauger tells his student to work on the piece’s jazzy personality and to “give it his all.” Dolivet must also pay attention to playing all the notes and feel the unwritten dynamics of the piece. Dolivet is advised to work on the ballade by singing it, as it resembles blowing techniques common for trombonists.
The pair also discuss following the piano, breathing along, and maintaining one's energy.
Working on the piece’s expressive and jazzy nuances.
Preparing oneself mentally and physically prior to performing.
Demonstrating color, contrast, and character.
Playing all the notes.
Initially, singing the piece to assist with the tempo and breathing.
The Ballade for solo trombone is a famous piece written by French composer Eugène Bozza. There are many challenging aspects in this piece because of the melody, the upbeat tempo, and the jazz and blues influence. It is often featured in competitions and was originally written for students studying at the conservatory.
Aim for excellence! You can improve your skills with expert advice. Download the annotated sheet music of this trombone masterclass. Please note that this piece has been annotated in accordance to Jacques Mauger’s feedback and comments.
A prize-winner at international competitions at Markneukirchen and at Toulon.
Jacques Mauger was born in Normandy, France, and studied the trombone at the Conservatoire National Supérieur de Musique de Paris. A prize-winner at international competitions in Markneukirchen and Toulon, he started his professional career as First Trombone with the Nice Philarmonic Orchestra, followed by a position as a solo trombonist for the Paris Opera Orchestra.
Since 1990, he has been a concert artist, appearing as a soloist with ensembles, symphony orchestras, and brass and concert bands. He has recorded over 30 CDs featuring his solo works.
Jacques Mauger teaches at the Conservatoire à Rayonnement Régional in Paris and at the HEMU in Switzerland. Moreover, he is a guest professor at the Senzoku Gaquen University of Tokyo, Japan. He frequently gives masterclass in numerous countries: France, UK, Japan, Korea, China, Spain, Germany, Switzerland, Holland, the United States, and South America. In 2007, his collection of studies for trombone (in collaboration with Jean Michel Defaye) were published.
A true Ambassador of the French school and its repertoire, he regularly presents masterclasses all over the world to cultivate the careers of future soloists. Jacques Mauger is the new president of the “Association des Trombonistes Français” and president of the International Trombone Association since 2020.
Eugene Bozza (1905-1991) was a French composer and conductor. His father was a professional violinist who gave him lessons from a young age. In 1922, he attended the Paris Conservatory for violin, where he won the Premier Prix on the instrument and won a job playing concertmaster of the Pasdeloup Orchestra. After touring with the orchestra for several years, however, Bozza decided he needed a change. He returned to the Paris Conservatory to study conducting, again winning the Premier Prix. After only one year working as a conductor at the Ballet Russes of Monte Carlo, Bozza was back at the conservatory once more, this time to study composition with Henri Büsser.
After winning the Prix de Rome for composition, Bozza moved to Italy to further his studies. While there, he composed a number of important pieces, including his opera Leonidas. In 1938 he was invited back to Paris to become the director of the Opéra Comique, a role he held until 1948. In 1950, he was appointed the director of the École Nationale de Musique in Valenciennes. While there, he composed a number of works, including études for a variety of instruments and examination pieces for the students at the school. In 1956, he was granted a Chevalier of the Légion d’Honneur.
Bozza composed over 250 works over the course of his life. Many of these were for wind instruments, despite his beginnings as a violinist. Bozza’s music best falls under the category of neoclassicism, and has the qualities of witty eclecticism that were becoming popular in France at the time. There is also clear influence from jazz music. His music is complimented for its ability to showcase the technical and expressive capabilities of each specific instrument. Some of his most popular pieces include Image for solo flute, Nuages for saxophone quartet, and Scherzo for woodwind quartet, though he also wrote several larger scale works, including a symphony, concertos, and a requiem. Bozza died in 1991 after a prolific career. His works are still frequently enjoyed today in both academic and performance settings.
Photo credit: Jacques-Charles Derrey