British Trombone Society
White River Evocations: WR12-04
Total Playing Time: 59 mins approx
The British Trombone Society was formed in 1985, and aims to promote the trombone and its repertoire through commissions, lectures, workshops and performance opportunities.
This, their first recording, features a wide range of music, from solo performer to pieces for 20 or so players, and is designed to raise funds to support their ongoing work.
The recording was made in the evening following the sessions for Brett Baker’s ‘Boneman Walking’ release, with instruments ranging from alto down to contrabass, with noted authority Ed Solomon displaying his prowess on the latter superbly.
Solo fantasia and quartets
BTS President Brett Baker features as soloist in Dan Jenkins’, ‘Fantasia for Tenor Trombone’, inspired by Malcolm Arnold’s similar work and incorporating references some of his other pieces.
Brett is also joined by his Black Dyke colleagues in a seductive rendition of, ‘Liber Tango’ and a quick dash through Charles Williams’ ‘Devil’s Gallop’. He also conducts several of the larger ensembles.
Majestic Bruckner tribute
The opening Simon Hall ‘Fanfare’ gets the disc off to an excellent start, and is followed by Enrique Crespo’s majestic ‘Bruckner Etude’; its organ-like sonorities reminding you Bruckner’s own fondness for the trombone, as well as his life-long involvement as a church organist.
A mixed bunch
In his ‘Morley Suite’ Derrick Parker has taken three tunes by the Elizabethan madrigalist Thomas Morley, creating an attractive item for trombone choir. Other arrangements presented are ‘Toccata’ (Frescobaldi, arr Kagarice) and ‘Little Fugue in G Minor’ (JS Bach, arr Ron Barron).
Gordon Jacob’s ‘Trombone Octet’ is something of a classic of the genre, and is one of the highlights of the recording.
It is actually performed here by nine players, with Ed Jones of the CBSO and Mark Horton of Trombonanza sharing the fiendishly high top part between them. It is an eminently attractive work which deserves to be much better known.
An amalgam of styles
Simon Minshall is the accomplished soloist in ‘Capriccio’ for bass trombone and trombone sextet, whilst other original works include James Kazik’s sparkling ‘Mini Overture’ and James McFadyen’s intriguingly titled ‘Flamethrowers and Galaxies’.
In this double quintet the composer acknowledges the influence of Bach, Tchaikovsky and Stravinsky, including a brief extract from ‘1812’, with the various strands combining to give the impression of swirling galaxies.
Philip Wilby’s ‘Still Small Voice’ is a wonderful gem, with the reflective setting of ‘Repton’ for three trombones and piano. Stephen Sykes, Garry Reed and Gareth Sykes are joined by noted accompanist Fenella Haworth-Head. Vaclav Nelhybel’s modern version of ‘Tower Music’ makes for an imposing finale.
There are many American recordings of trombone choirs on the market, but not many originating in the UK, despite some very fine groups attached to various colleges, as well as independent ensembles.
This is a notable addition to the discography, and is well worth exploring. There can be something special about a homogenous choir of instruments, and it is clear that the trombone choir deserves its place alongside other string and wind groups.
It is to be hoped that it will not be too long before they manage to get together to produce a second volume.
What's on this CD?
1. Fanfare, Simon Hall, 1:07
2. Bruckner Etüde, Enrique Crespo, 6:10
Morley Suite, Thomas Morley, arr. Derrick Parker
I. April is in my mistress' face, 1:10
II. It was a lover and his lass, 1:36
III. Now is the month of Maying , 1:46
6. Capriccio, Steven Verhelst, for solo bass trombone and trombone sextet, 6:25
7-9. Gordon Jacob, Trombone Octet
I. Allegro, 2:51
II. Andante sostenuto, 2:20
III. Allegro, 3:28
10. Liber Tango, Astor Piazzola, arr. D. Boyle, 2:29
11. Toccata, Girolamo Frescobaldi, arr. Vern Kagarice, 4:43
12. Still small voices, Charles Hubert Parry, arr. Philip Wilby, 5:44
13. Little Fugue in G minor, Johann Sebastian Bach, arr. Ron Barron, 3:02
14. Mini Overture, James Kazik, 2:12
15. Fantasie for Solo Tenor Trombone, Dan Jenkins, 5:35
16. Flamethrowers and Galaxies, James McFadyen, 4:41
17. Devil's Gallop, Charles Williams, arr. D. Boyle, 1:46
18. Tower Music, Vaclav Nelhybel, 2:49
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