There is a Threeness About You was composed for Timothy Howe, a colleague at the University of Missouri, who sought new works featuring trombone that could be performed by Tim and some or all of a group of faculty ensemble including flutes, oboe/English horn, saxophones, bassoon, piano and percussion for a new CD, Across the Wide Missouri. Among Tim’s gifts as a wonderful performer is a great fluency in beautiful cantibile playing; he really sings. So I wanted to give him (and the trombone) an operatic voice. Since almost any combination of some, or all, of the available instruments yielded some kind of non-standard ensemble, this was a great chance to celebrate the individual colors of each of these instruments, mixtures of colors, and the lyrical playing of these great musicians juxtaposed in an unusual way.
The title of the piece comes from a 14th century poem/prayer by Mechtild of Magdeburg in which she addresses God in the wonderful conversational tone she used, “There is a Threeness about You...” She is referring to concept of the Trinity – the perfection of three in one – which had also led musicians of her time to regard triple meter – indicated by a circular meter signature – as “perfect.” Duple meter was given a broken circle to show it was “imperfect.”
-- Paul Seitz
The following discussion of this piece is from the review by Jeremiah Ward in The International Trombone Association Journal :
"The operatic approach of Howe on the melody throughout the composition is just another testament to his exceptional lyrical playing. The composer stated that he wanted to "celebrate the iridescent mixture of beautiful colors" of the combination of bassoon, flute, English horn, and alto saxophone, and he accomplished this. Throughout the composition the mixture of these colors compliments the cantabile melodies of the trombone perfectly."