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The «four temperaments»
The inspiration for Temperamental Suite came from bass trombonist Johannes Bigler, who asked for a piece of moderate difficulty to use in his master classes. The great challenge in writing a piece for a solo instrument is finding a way to vary the mood and colors enough to maintain the listener’s interest. Musically illustrating the «four temperaments» proved to be an ideal way to do so.
In the European Middle Ages it was thought that a person’s temperament was determined by which of the four «fluids» of the body was dominant. If ‘yellow bile’ was predominant, the person would be choleric (movement 1), i.e. angry; too much ‘phlegm’ made the person phlegmatic, stolid, sluggish, apathetic (movement 2); an excess of ‘black bile’ gave rise to the melancholic or gloomy personality (movement 3); and if the blood was the dominant humor, the person would be sanguine, that is, have a ruddy complexion and be cheerful, fun-loving, optimistic (movement 4).
- Editions Bim