JAN VAN DER ROOST (b.1956): Concerto for Trombone and Concert Band, SØREN HYLDGAARD (1962-2018): Rapsodia Borealis: A Nordic Rhapsody for Trombone and Wind Band, JAMES M. STEPHENSON (b.1969): Concerto Braziliano for Trombone and Wind Ensemble, NIGEL CLARKE (b.1960): Outrageous Fortune (Symphony No. 2) for Trombone, Actor and Wind Band.
Catalogue Number: 04U056
Label: Toccata Classics
Reference: TOCN 0003
Description: We’ve offered van der Roost's big, bold orchestral works before (02P095, 07P078, 02R048), and this hugely enjoyable concerto is from the same mold. The introduction to the first movement is exceedingly dark, foreboding and monumental, but this eventually gives way to a more conventionally tonal, Hollywood-sinister or tragic slow movement. The soloist has a few quarter-tone inflected passages, and some unusual orchestration lends the movement an atmosphere of gloomy seriousness. However, the second movement, "Caprice" shows that none of that should be taken too seriously. The piece is an exuberant, extrovert and virtuosic romp with lyrical interludes, beginning with Bernsteinian (an adjective we’ve applied to van der Roost before) swagger. Hyldgaard's Rhapsody begins in similar mood with a propulsive introduction. The 'rhapsodic' section, described by the composer as "a song of the North for the trombone", is introduced by the soloist, who soon brings the ensemble into the lyrical, slightly sentimental hymn. A tender, undemonstrative cadenza leads to a second, full-blooded set of statements of the "song" with the whole ensemble fully on board, and an ebullient recapitulation of the opening material combined with the hymn to bring the piece to a rousing conclusion. The Stephenson is attractive and atmospheric, full of 'local color', beginning with a sultry introduction and then picking up the tempo in a series of irresistible dances and soulful melodies. The composer describes it thus: "This eighteen-minute concerto is in one-movement form, opening with an extended lush and dramatic section before eventually subsiding into bossa nova-style rhythms. Further fantastical and virtuosic displays follow, including three-part harmonic lines, inspired by Brazilian vocalising, other fugal motifs and lyrical interludes. The final allegro vaults the piece to a close, with syncopated snapshots of elements heard throughout the course of the work." As the title suggests, Outrageous Fortune concentrates on the darkest, most despairing aspects of Shakespeare's Hamlet. The work is a symphonic drama, not a concerto in the usual sense; two of Hamlet's angriest, most nihilistic monologues are intoned by the actor, then illustrated by music of great intensity that sets the scene for the drama, the concertante soloist striding through the gloomy sets and warlike action like Hamlet wandering the shadowy corridors of Elsinore. As the composer says: "Outrageous Fortune is a “birth to death” piece: it grows from nothing, in this case a quiet and ominous atmosphere, to end in decay, despair and deathly silence." Brett Baker (trombone), Middle Tennessee State University Wind Ensemble; Reed Thomas.