In 1986, the state of Texas celebrated its 150th birthday. The Houston Symphony commissioned over twenty composers to write a fanfare to mark the occasion. John Adams’s contribution was Tromba lontana.

Tromba lontana, or ‘distant trumpet’

In Tromba lontana (Italian for ‘distant trumpet’), Adams places two trumpets at a distance, left and right at the back of the stage, to produce a stereo effect. It is a fanfare which is anything but showy. Above the rhythmic foundation, something mysterious unfolds, a slowly moving cloud which seems to dissolve into thin air. Could this be a meditation on a Texas prairie?