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Michael Forbes: "The Grumpy Troll"

The Grumpy Troll

Michael Forbes

The Grumpy Troll is my first composition for unaccompanied tuba. It comes from my musings about how a Norwegian troll would act and sound—especially if particularly disturbed.

The opening figure sets the tone of the work with a rising minor-third interval—a musical grunt that reflects the overall demeanor of the troll. The second section of the work portrays a more active but still angry troll, who leaps between ideas and argues with himself. The third section recalls the earlier grunts, but with more fluidity and expression to the troll’s musings. Finally, the fourth section unleashes the troll in high pursuit of something.

You can hear the troll’s out-of-breath quality both in the tuba player’s exuberance as well as in the leaking sound of the open valve, which permeates the work. This work was meant to be a tour-de-force of technique and musical expression for the tubist as well as a vehicle to demonstrate contemporary sounds and techniques to audiences in an entertaining and accessible way.

- Michael Forbes

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