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HEALTH AND WELL -BEING
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DÁVUR JUUL MAGNUSSEN
JANE SALMON , SIMON MINSHALL & MATTHEW GEE
This will be my last welcome as my term as President of the British Trombone Society will come to an end at the next AGM. The reins will be handed over to our current Vice-President, Matthew Gee, who is indeed a safe pair of hands. In my experience, everything Matt touches turns into gold, so we have something to look forward to there. It has been an honour to head the BTS for this short time, but other challenges await me in the future. The society is running on an even keel with regards to finances and membership, but to be perfectly honest I have to say that I haven’t achieved anywhere near what I planned to in the beginning. My imagination tends to run far ahead of what I am physically capable of. I will be returning to the periphery and work at the grassroots, where I am much more suited. Lastly, I want to thank our faithful membership, and all the selfless members of the BTS committee for their support during my time there.
Welcome to the summer 2019 edition of The Trombonist. While we are in the midst of some changes at BTS HQ, this publication has been put together with the help of your committee, this time led by Jane Salmon, Simon Minshall and Matthew Gee. The life of Tony Parsons, a celebrated trombone player and former editor of this publication, is at the heart of this edition. We also share reports on various events including Durham BRASS Festival, Tutti’s Trombone Day and the International Tchaikovsky Competition. We have news of our own work too, with updates on our Instrument Loan Scheme, invitations to apply for our bursary and we hear from Sam Taber, 2018’s Bob Hughes Bass Trombone competition winner, about his prize of a week with the Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra. Our regular slots return: read on to find out what G & T (Matthew Gee and Mark Templeton) are looking forward to, see what our team of reviewers has been enjoying, and play through Rob Egerton’s transcriptions, this time of Trombone Shorty’s Tripped Out Slim. As ever, we welcome feedback, so if you feel strongly about the magazine, or the direction you would like to see it move, there has been no better time for you to speak up.
Best wishes. Dávur Juul Magnussen firstname.lastname@example.org
Please write to us at; email@example.com. Thank you. Jane, Simon & Matthew
GET IN TOUC H:
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THE TROMBONIST MAGAZINE TEAM
Jane Salmon Matthew Gee Simon Minshall firstname.lastname@example.org SUB-EDITORS
Peter Chester Alison Keep NEWS EDITOR
Barney Medland email@example.com EVENTS EDITOR
Ross Anderson firstname.lastname@example.org REVIEWS EDITOR
Jane Salmon email@example.com ADVERTISING MANAGER
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CONTRIBUTORS TO THIS ISSUE
Adam Crighton Austin Consordini Barney Medland Carol Jarvis Daniel de Souza David Thornber Dávur Juul Magnussen Jane Salmon Josh Cirtina Kevin Morgan Matthew Gee Matt Lewis Mark Templeton Moisés Fernández-Gallego Peter Chester Rob Egerton Ross Anderson Simon Minshall Steven Ford
BRITISH TROMBONE SOCIET Y :
3 6 10 12 14 15 16 20 22 26
REPORT: INTERNATIONAL TC HAIKOVSKY COMPETITION
REPORT: DURHAM BRASS FESTIVAL
PRESIDENT’S TOOLKIT: FASTER, FASTER, FASTER…
REPORT: TUTTI’S TROMBONE DAY
REMEMBERING TONY PARSONS
ROSIE TURTON: ‘ROSIE’S 5IVE’
EDUCATION COLUMN: LEGATO
REPORT: BOB HUGHES BASS TROMBONE COMPETITION PRIZE
BONSAI CLUB (28)
BEN VAN DIJK (34)
GIRTON COLLEGE (35)
THE CONCERT TROMBONE QUARTETTE (32)
SACRED BONES (36)
ST CLEMENT’S BRASS (37)
38 40 42
TROMBONE SHORT Y’S TRIPPED OUT SLIM: ROB EGERTON TRANSCRIPTIONS
Officers & Staff // Honorary Patrons // Committee // Officers
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News BY BARNEY MEDL AND
Death of Tony Parsons, 1938–2019 Tony Parsons, stalwart with the BBC Symphony Orchestra and former editor of this magazine, passed away on the 28th May at the age of 80. To learn more about Tony Parsons, please read on to page 16, where we have published a full tribute.
Rick Taylor, 1957–2019 In June we heard the sad news that Rick Taylor had passed away suddenly at his home on the Isle of Skye. Taylor discovered jazz whilst studying at Leeds College of Music, where he was accepted into the National Youth Jazz Band. After graduating he played in jazz bands aboard Cunard Cruises, including with the Trevor Knowles Band, the band Taylor would later describe as ‘the last great jazz band.’ After a year on the cruises, Taylor went to London. This was during the early 1980s, when many of the biggest pop stars of the time were starting to use horn sections on their records. Taylor built a glittering career playing with the likes of Elton John, George Michael, and Wet Wet Wet. He recalled performing at Live Aid in 1985 where he saw ‘Mick Jagger, David Bowie, Freddy Mercury and Elton John, all in their finery, sitting down in a little group drinking tea like a bunch of old blokes.’ Despite touring with pop royalty, Taylor saw money as irrelevant and loved the music above all else; he once turned down a £7,000 Wham! gig so he could perform with his jazz band, a concert which earned him £8.24. In the 1990s Taylor worked with the likes of the Spice Girls and Robbie Williams. He was, however, starting to find that the busy touring lifestyle was no longer fulfilling. In 2001 he moved to Skye with his partner Pam, where he became immersed in traditional Scottish music. Since 2001 he has played with bands such the Peatbog Fairies and the Blazin’ Fiddles. He thought ‘the standard of music amongst the traditional musicians is incredible.’ 6
Taylor loved Skye and the community he became a part of. On hearing the news of Rick Taylor’s death, Duncan MacInnes, director of Skye Events For All, said: ‘We were extraordinarily blessed that Rick and Pam chose to move to Skye. From the summer of 2005 onwards, Rick introduced jazz in all forms to Seall’s audiences, giving us the privilege of sitting in on informal evenings with some of the great names from the Scottish jazz scene. These concerts developed into the Skye Jazz Festival and the Swing Jazz Festival. Rick persuaded all sorts of musicians and bands to head for Skye, while Pam undertook the organisation. ‘Rick’s most recent appearance, as part of Christine Hanson’s “Cremation of Sam McGee”, was truly one of our long-term highlights. ‘He possessed an incredible and unassuming ability to bring together musicians of all sorts, amateur and professional, local and international. Whenever he entered the room a sense of joy and well-being simply enveloped all those round him. Thank you, Rick, for the music.’ Trombonist wins in Tchaikovsky Competition for first time For the first time in its 61-year history, the International Tchaikovsky Competition introduced a category for brass instruments. The competition started in 1958, and has been held in Russia every four years since then. There were originally just two categories, piano and violin. Since then a cello category and vocal categories have been added. This year’s competition was the first time that musicians have been able to compete on brass and woodwind instruments. The brass panel was chaired by Ian Bousfield, and also contained Jorgan van Rijen and Christain Lindberg. 31 year old Russian trombonist Aleksey Lobikov shared the $30,000 first prize with 19 year old Chinese horn player Zeng Yun. Read Carol Jarvis’ full report on this event on page 10.
NEWS Kris Garfitt wins Gold Medal in Annual ROSL competition In the last issue we reported the news that Kris Garfitt had won the wind and brass section of the Royal Overseas League Annual Music Competition, earning a place in the grand final. This issue, we are delighted to report that Garfitt has won the Gold Medal and £20,000 first prize. The final took place on the 30th May at the Queen Elizabeth Hall, London. Garfitt played a programme including Weber’s Romance and Basta by Folke Rabe, and the panel of adjudicators – led by Gavin Henderson CBE – judged him victorious over bassist William Thomas, pianist Joseph Havlat, and violinist Roberto Ruisi. Following James Buckle’s winning the ROSL competition Gold Medal in 2017, two trombonists have been victorious in the past three years.
Josh Cirtina appointed at RPO Congratulations to Josh Cirtina, who has been appointed principal bass trombone of the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra. Cirtina’s musical beginnings were in the brass bands. He began playing in the Cheltenham Silver Band at age 10 and soon went on to join the National Youth Brass Band. From 2013–2016, while studying at the Royal Northern College of Music, Cirtina was a full time member of the Fairey Band and played in many of the UK’s top brass bands, including Black Dyke, Cory, and Grimethorpe. In 2014 Cirtina won the BTS’s Bob Hughes Bass Trombone Competition and the International Trombone Association’s George Roberts Bass Trombone competition. He studied for a postgraduate degree at the Royal Academy under Bob Hughes and Keith McNicoll. Over the past few years Cirtina has performed with most of the UK’s major orchestras. At the age of 24 he has been appointed principal bass trombone with the RPO, and will take up the post on the 7th September.
Enterprise Award for the pBone Warwick Music Group, the Midlands-based company that produces the pBone, has been awarded a prestigious Queen’s Award for Enterprise. In 2010, Warwick Music Group started producing what it claims to be the world’s first plastic trombone. Since then, over 250,000 pBones have been sold, making it the bestselling trombone in the world. The company’s chief executive Steven Greenall said: ‘Our aim was simple – to create a quality instrument to make the joy of music accessible and fun, to help more
people to enjoy making music together – and to be able to start at whatever age they might choose. But as a team of British musicians, we knew that traditional brass instruments are heavy, costly and easily damaged. We knew too that sales of traditional brass instruments were declining and that bands and orchestras worldwide were reporting a shortage of brass players. We believe in the transformational power of music and that everyone should have the opportunity to make music. By thinking differently, we have made a real difference in the world; we are delighted that the passion, creativity and hard work of our small team has been recognised.’ The Queen’s Award for Enterprise comes soon after Warwick Music Group was designated an Export Champion by the Department for International Trade.
Christian Jones uploads creates free video resource Opera North’s bass trombonist Christian Jones has finished uploading the last of his series of orchestral excerpts for bass trombone to his YouTube channel. The videos include all 63 excerpts on the undergraduate and postgraduate syllabi of the Royal Northern College of Music. As Jones says on his YouTube channel, the videos were created as a study aid for his students at the RNCM, but he is happy for them to be viewed and shared by all who find them useful. You can view the videos HERE .
Slide Action win ITF Award Under their former name, Regent Trombones, Slide Action have been awarded first place in the ITA Trombone Quartet Competition, 2019. The quartet is made up of Josh Cirtina, Huw Evans, Jamie Tweed and Benny Vernon, who travelled over to Muncie, IN, United States where the finals were held as part of the ITF 2019. Josh Cirtina said; ‘Absolutely chuffed to announce that we are the winners of the 2019 ITA Trombone Quartet Competition. Huge thanks to everyone who helped us get here - Denis Wick, our coaches, and especially all the people who donated money, we wouldn't be here without you!’
News from BTS Annual BTS Bursary Still Open The British Trombone Society are inviting bursary applications, open to members who are looking for financial support in any trombone-related endeavours. This might include funds towards an instrument, equipment, music and events. Applications are open for funds up of to ÂŁ250 and open on May 1st each year and close on 31st August. Successful applicants will be notified as soon as possible after the closing date. The British Trombone Society administers the fund, which has been established to help any Member of the Society in need of financial assistance. All applications will be considered and grants are to be awarded for anything trombone related. This includes instrument purchases, sheet music, commissions, events and music courses. The BTS has the right to administer multiple bursaries in any given year. All information supplied will be confidential to the committee of the British Trombone Society. Enquiries and completed application forms should be sent to: firstname.lastname@example.org. Alternatively, please follow this link to apply, today!
Bob Hughes Bass Trombone Competition Prize The 2018 winner of the Bob Hughes Bass Trombone Competition, Sam Taber, has enjoyed his prize of a week with the Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra. Please read on to page 26 for a full report of his experience.
Loan Scheme Success Our Instrument Loan Scheme has been well received and all three of our instruments are out and being played around the UK. BTS members, Jack Holmes, Sam Lewis and Evan Kinnear are all enjoying making use of the scheme. Applications for these instruments will open again in 2020, so please keep an eye on our website and social media profiles and take advantage of this opportunity.
BTS Events We have all been busy organising exciting events where Trombone players from far and wide can come together, play and learn. November 17th with be the Annual General Meeting and Trombone day at Oundle School. November 24th sees a BTS Youth Trombone Day organised by our fantastic Welsh Representative, Jo Bartley. This day will feature students from the RNCM and RWCMD alongside WNOâ€™s Roger Cutts. There are a few more events in the pipeline and we invite you to checkout the website and social media in order to keep up to date and for further information.
BTS Youth Trombone Day in association with
Bridgend County Music Service
in conjuction with pBone and Warwick Music Group Coleg Cymunedol Y Dderwen (Tondu Site) Heol-yr-Ysgol Tondu Bridgend CF32 9EL
Sunday, 24 November 2019 10:00 â€“ 17:00 A day dedicated to young trombone players up to Grade 8, featuring members of local professional orchestras, including: Roger Cutts, Principal Trombone of the Welsh National Opera, students from the Royal Northern College of Music, Manchester, and the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama, Cardiff, and Richard Harvey, Blast Off Brass. The day concludes with a concert at 16:00 which all parents/guardians are invited to attend. Bring your own lunch. Drinks and snacks will be available on the day.
Advance registration: https://www.ticketsource.co.uk/british-trombone-society/t-xxavnj
International Tchaikovsky Competition BY CAROL JARVIS
I was extremely honoured to be asked to host the first-ever brass category of the prestigious International Tchaikovsky Competition in June this year. The International Tchaikovsky Competition has been running since 1958 and is not only a valuable aspect of Russian culture but also one of the major events in the international music community.The competition is held every four years and the very first competition had just two categories, piano and violin. For the second competition, in 1962, a cello speciality was added, and the vocal category was introduced in the third competition in 1966. Throughout its illustrious history, the competition has given international fame to outstanding young musicians and helped to launch brilliant international careers, notably pianists such as Daniil Trifonov and Vladimir Ashkenazy, violinists such as Gidon Kremer, Victoria Mullova, cellists such as Mario Brunello, Natalia Gutman, and singers such as Vladimir Atlantov and Deborah Voigt. The 16th edition of the competition (#TCH16) was held in June this year in both Moscow and St. Petersburg and due to the initiative of worldrenowned Russian conductor Valery Gergiev, two new categories were added this year: woodwind and brass. Leading concert halls, orchestras and festivals from around the world are eager to offer their stages to its talented participants and as all of the categories of the competition run simultaneously, eleven stunning venues across Russia were taken over, notably the Great Hall of the Moscow State Tchaikovsky Conservatory and the Zaryadya Concert Hall in Moscow, the Concert Hall of the Mariinsky Theatre and Repino Concert Hall in St. Petersburg. The brass competition took up residence in the State Academic Chapel in St. Petersburg, the 10
oldest concert hall in the city. It was founded as the residence of the Emperor Court Choir Capella, the oldest professional choir in St. Petersburg, which was established in Moscow in 1479 and transferred to St. Petersburg in 1703 by order of Peter the Great, making it as old as Peterâ€™s city itself. In 1837, upon the initiative of the Czar, Mikhail Glinka was appointed chief conductor of the Capella. Rimsky-Korsakov was also one of the former directors, so the Cappella has certainly been in very capable hands during its history. Today, with its excellent acoustics, the Academic Glinka Cappella, as their hall is now called, is considered to be one of the best concert halls in the world, and it definitely suited brass instruments during the International Tchaikovsky Competition. 229 competitors took part across all the categories this year, with 46 of them in the brass category. Out of the 93 brass applicants for the competition, just nine of them were female, which was definitely a disappointment for many. Just one female brass player made it through to compete in Russia, Hae-Ree Yoo, from South Korea, playing the french horn, and she made it right the way through to the finals, which was wonderful. The brass instruments in the brass category were trumpet, french horn, trombone and tuba, with a nice balance across all of them; 13 trumpets, 12 horns, 12 trombones and 9 tubas. A wide age range of brass competitors (18â€“32) took part from all corners of the world: from Taiwan to Portugal, from Kazakhstan to Belarus, from Canada to Turkey, and from China to the UK, so it was truly international. Chaired by Ian Bousfield, the other trombone players on the brass Jury were Christian Lindberg and JĂśrgen
INTERNATIONAL TCHAIKOVSKY COMPETITION
▶ WINNER'S GAL A (I/II): ALEKSEY LOBIKOV
van Rijen, which just highlights the kind of level we were expecting to hear. Widely regarded as ‘the Olympics of music’, the competitors were certainly put through their paces. Round One of the competition took three days, with each performer playing some set pieces and some chosen pieces from specified lists. The trombonists performed Pergolesi’s Sinfonia, followed by a choice of concerto by Nesterov, Grondahl, Tomasi or David. Some very well-known names were amongst the players: Michael Buchanan from the UK, Peter Steiner from Italy and Nicholas Platoff, John Romero and Kelton Koch from the USA. After three extremely long days of Round One, 16 of those went through to Round Two, which took place the very next day. The trombone repertoire for Round Two included Leopold Mozart’s Alto Trombone Concerto, followed by either Folke Rabe’s Basta, Buyanovski’s 3 pieces for solo trombone or Xenakis’s Keren, and then finishing with Christian Lindberg’s arrangement of Tchaikovsky’s Suite for trombone from The Queen of Spades. The final was held at the wonderful Mariinsky Theatre Concert Hall and had just two competitors, Peter Steiner and Aleksey Lobikov from Russia, who each performed Nino Rota’s Trombone Concerto and Kruglik’s arrangement of Tchaikovsky’s Eugene Onegin Suite. For the second time, the full Tchaikovsky Competition was broadcast live (and available on demand) on the world’s leading classical music channel Medici TV. Nearly 350 hours of video were presented for free and all content from the competition will remain available online until 2027. As the host of this year’s brass category, and TV presenter for Medici TV, presenting live was rather daunting, especially when we had some viewing figures
in – over 20 million viewers from across the world! Our cue sheets for each day arrived in our email inboxes at around 3am and as we presenters were left to script everything ourselves, we usually began work around 6am each morning. While competitors were performing on stage, we were busy researching for the next live presenting slots. Most days finished past midnight, and I don’t remember having time for any breaks for visiting a restaurant! The first couple of days were extremely stressful, with in-ear pieces (which the director uses to talk to you while you’re busy talking to camera) not working correctly, TV crews trying to communicate with me in Russian, plus the VT (video tape excerpts), which were precisely timed and cued up in the cue sheets, not working either. Lots of improvising and thorough background research enabled us to continue speaking up to 30 minutes in one slot! The results of the final rounds of each competition were announced during a live link-up chat show hosted in Moscow, a little like Eurovision! The brass Jury took the stage and each of the nine brass finalists took home a prize. The winner of the first prize was trombonist Aleksey Lobikov, who won $30,000 and the chance to compete against all the other category winners for the Grand Prix, worth an additional $100,000. This year’s Grand Prix went to French Pianist Alexandre Kantorow. Along with many other post-competition performances across Europe and Asia, Maestro Valery Gergiev will introduce the competition prizewinners at a recital at Zankel Hall at Carnegie Hall in October this year. To watch interviews with the brass Jury, as well as all the brass competitors in rounds one, two and the final, head to tch16.medici.tv where you’ll find hours and hours of footage. Huge thanks to my co-host Ivan Gostev, for all his expertise and translating. 11
Durham BRASS Festival:
Brass Bonanza Up North BY DAVID THORNBER (CO-NORTH EAST REPRESENTATIVE OF THE BTS)
Founded in 2007, the ten day long Durham BRASS Festival takes place each July in Durham City and surrounding towns. Drawing on the region’s rich heritage of brass playing blended with an international twist, bands from around the World come to perform and delight audiences. Musicians this year came from the Balkans, Cuba, Germany, India, and Spain. The Festival not only entertains, but also educates and supports. Community Outreach programmes are an important aspect. There were visits to 75 schools enabling over 13,000 children to experience brass music. A main theme for 2019 was Brass and Health, involving taking music into care homes and hosting a ‘Healthy Brass’ day featuring talks and workshops on how players can maintain good mental and physical health. Incorporating technology and innovation are an important part of the Festival. In a concert titled ‘Global Brass’ two bands 560 miles apart, one in Durham (NASUWT Riverside Band) and the other in Copenhagen (Concord Brass Band) joined forces to play a new world première work titled Brave New World, composed by Danish musician Jacob Vilhelm Larsen. The live performance used LoLa (Low Latency minimal time Lapse) audio-visual technology, ensuring that audiences in each venue heard music played simultaneously by the band in front of them and the band 560 miles away via a multi-media screen. Although not strictly part of the BRASS Festival, the Durham Miners’ Gala provided a traditional overture to proceedings. Now in its 135th year, the Gala is possibly the largest celebration of community and working-class culture in the World. Brass bands, and the occasional 12
pipe band, from around the UK supported the mining communities and unions who march on the day. The rich and diverse Festival programme featured events including; a 90’s rave (in a secret location, revealed at the last moment), a street ceilidh, a Brass Oktoberfest – where Durham Town Hall was transformed into a lively Bierhalle, a performance of jazzy versions of musical theatre hits by the Scottish Swing Orchestra and the Festival Broadway Chorus from America, and a thrilling new transcription of Verdi’s choral masterpiece, the Requiem, for brass band and choir. My personal highlights were: A stunning performance by Mnozil Brass, whose circus-themed programme astounded and entertained a capacity audience at Durham’s Gala Theatre. Mnozil’s blend of technical fireworks, sense of humour, mischief, magic, and, at times, pathos provided an unforgettable evening of entertainment. If you haven’t yet seen them watch out for their future schedule. You won’t be disappointed. The ‘Healthy Brass Day’ provided workshops and discussions around brass and health with leading musicians, researchers and medical professionals offering advice and information to players and anyone with an interest in music and health. Outstanding practical sessions on the Alexander Technique were delivered by sousaphone and piano player Peter Robinson, of ThinkingUp.com. Peter teaches at many of the country’s leading conservatoires. As one of his ‘guinea pigs’, I can’t speak highly enough of his intuition and skills. With his gentle guidance, you
soon become aware of how the Alexander Technique can help us prevent and recover from injuries, improve ease, fluency and enjoyment of making music, all whilst holding a hunk of brass to your face. An enjoyable and hugely informative session on breathing, was facilitated by one of the UK’s finest trombonists Gordon Campbell. He skilfully described his approach to efficient breathing, interwoven with his experiences and anecdotes drawn from a lifetime of playing at the top of the profession. There were thought-provoking workshops looking at Adaptive Brass, including inspirational input from Clarence Adoo, a greatly respected brass musician, who played with the Royal Northern Sinfonia until a car accident left him paralysed from the shoulders downward. The outcome of invaluable research into Bands and Mental wellbeing and how belonging to a brass band can affect mental well-being in a positive way was also covered. The BTS Trombone Day North East, the fourth held in Durham, co-organised with fellow bass trombonist and BTS Northeast representative, Peter Chester, was a joy to host and, judging from the happy faces and feedback from participants, a huge success, for which thanks go to the generous support of a fabulous group of musicians and the BRASS Festival Artistic Director, Paul Gudgin. It was a pleasure to see participants both young and old(er), from not only the North East, but other parts of the UK; Scotland, Midlands, Lancashire, Yorkshire, London and the South East. In addition to lots of playing, culminating in a live performance as part of the wider Festival, we enjoyed outstanding performances by our guest artists; Christian Jones (Principal Bass Trombone at Opera North) who performed and directed the trombone choir, Steve Lomas (Bass Trombone at Brighouse and Rastrick) performing with Danny Brooks (formerly Leyland, YBS, and Brighouse & Rastrick Bands), Aeris Brass (recent winners of the BTS Quartet Competition), Dr Hannabiell Sanders (bass trombonist and educationalist) and David Murray (our superb piano accompanist). With so many performance highlights from these artists it would be difficult to mention every individual piece. However, some of the most memorable included; Steve Lomas and Danny Brooks – Amongst their
varied and beautifully crafted programme, Steve and Danny performed Duo Concertante by Daniel Schnyder. Chosen to challenge both players it was superbly executed demonstrating why they have won so many duet competitions. Christian Jones was world-class on both bass and contrabass trombones. He performed the UK and European première of Cruise Elroy for contrabass trombone and piano which was inspired by the arcade game, Pacman and written by American tubist and professor of music at the University of Tennessee, Chattanooga, Kenyon Wilson. The piece was jointly commissioned by some of the World’s most outstanding bass trombonists, including Christian. Aeris Brass: if you haven’t already heard this group of incredibly talented young men, on the brink of what I am sure will be highly successful post-College careers, make every effort to acquaint yourself with them. Not only do they play to an inspirationally high standard, but they also arrange, compose and commission new works. In their set, members Ian Sankey, Ali Goodwin, Martin Lee Thomson and Adam Crighton premièred Home is where you left your socks, a superb piece written for them by Laura Jurd, along with John Kenny’s Trombone Quartet, a piece full of breath-taking contemporary techniques and sounds. They ended with a whirlwind transcription of the brass band arrangement of Goff Richards Breezin’ down Broadway. Hannabiell Sanders led a session unlike any I have attended before. Bringing colleagues on drums and a fellow trombonist, Hannabiell guided the group through a gentle, thrilling and energy-filled 45-minute introduction to improvisation. Starting with a simple massed drone, she introduced simple riffs around the sections, with the aim of creating a group ‘song’ which we named Funky Durham. Individuals added their own solo breaks, each offering being graciously acknowledged by a smile and nod from Hannabiell, who enjoyed the vibe as much as the participants. Once Peter and I manage to catch our breath our attention will turn to the 5th Trombone Day in July 2020. We hope that you’ll join us for what we can promise will be an enjoyable day of playing, listening and learning.
Faster, Faster, Faster … BY DÁVUR JUUL MAGNUSSEN
Our noble instrument is not normally associated with fast playing, at least not as much as our cousins in the brass family. Both players and composers alike have many excuses as to why that is. However, I think our instrument is really well suited, as long as you master a few little basics from the start. Have a look at this video for some pointers.
Tutti’s Trombones Day Boarshurst Band Club, Saddleworth SUNDAY, 19 MAY 2019 BY STEVEN FORD AND PETER C HESTER
There can perhaps be few trombone players of a certain age who cannot recall the first time they came across Tutti’s Trombones. Should anyone not know, this was an album featuring arrangements for ten trombones and a rhythm section, created in 1966 by a famous Los Angeles trumpet player and arranger, Salvador ‘Tutti’ Camarata, and the resultant album is a landmark in trombone recording history. Led by the likes of Dick Nash, Tommy Pederson and Frank Rosolino, the album quite simply contains some of the finest jazz trombone playing one could ever hear. So, what better than to have a go at some of the wonderful arrangements? As some readers will know, some of the original arrangements are available, but it was the great idea of Tony Robertson, in response to enthusiastic requests from his contacts and pupils, to actually arrange an event, a ‘Tutti’s Trombones Day’. Tony is a well-known trombonist in the North of England, a teacher working for the Calderdale Music Hub, a member of the SK2 Orchestra (a Stan Kenton style big band) and The Hepworth Band. Boarshurst Band Club in Saddleworth provided a most hospitable venue on May 19th for the twenty or so players who wanted to give the music a try, and a very full and enjoyable day it turned out to be. We had quite a mix of playing during the day, warming up, for example, with the first of the Three Equale composed by Beethoven, music that was played at Beethoven’s funeral. However, it was the Tutti’s music we had come for, and we looked first at the spiritual Just a Closer Walk with Thee. All the original arrangements feature jazz solos of different styles and a number of players present had their turn to give it a go. Bass trombone players all know the solo passage in the arrangement of Henry Mancini’s The Pink Panther, played originally by Kenny Shroyer, and for us it fell to Nick Stokes to play it. Nick did a great job on his
fantastic Edwards bass trombone – what a sound in the low notes! A lovely arrangement of Sleep composed by Eric Whitacre, followed by some hard work on the March from Superman took us up to lunchtime and a chance for a rest and a chat. What is, as ever, gratifying about days such as this is the variety of musical backgrounds the players come from and it was pleasing to note trombone players from regional brass bands, orchestras and big bands, and of different ages, all coming together to play. Refreshed by lunch, we returned to the Tutti’s arrangements. This time it was the gentle bossa nova The Girl from Ipanema. We then tackled the well-known tune Blueberry Hill, which has been given a powerful gospel treatment. An arrangement of Fauré’s Pavane took us into a different era and style before we explored more of the Tutti’s arrangements; the title track from the album, Tutti’s Trombones, which had several solo opportunities, and then Twelfth Street Rag. Lips may have been getting tired by late afternoon but Tony still had some more for us – a stirring arrangement of Finlandia, the famous composition by Sibelius and then Verdi’s Grand March from Aida, in yet another great arrangement for trombones. Everybody enjoyed this varied day of trombone music under the direction of Tony Robertson. We worked hard at a full day’s playing but all felt very satisfied by the end and a very sincere thank you was given to Tony, his friends in the rhythm section and the Boarshurst Band Club for making this ‘Tutti’s Trombones Day’ possible. Despite the original recording and LP being now over 50 years old, a CD edition is still available, usually paired with another of Tutti Camarata’s creations - Tutti’s Trumpets. Worth a place in any trombonist’s collection? 15
Tony Parsons John Anthony Parsons 193 8 – 2 019
BY JOSH CIRTINA
On Tuesday, 28 May 2019, we sadly lost one of the great British stalwarts of the trombone. Tony Parsons was Principal trombone of the BBC Symphony Orchestra for 28 years and had a rather glittering and diverse career, not only in the BBC and many other ensembles, but also in creating a monumental legacy that we are all able to enjoy today. I was fortunate enough to meet Tony a few years ago while I was a member of the National Youth Brass Band of Great Britain. Being 16 years old and quite naïve, I bumped into him outside the rehearsal room and didn’t have a clue who he was until he very modestly introduced himself as a trombone player and we got chatting for quite some time. It therefore is a great to privilege to be able to share with you a very brief summary of his life and achievements. John Anthony Parsons was born in 1938 in Leicester to Jack Parsons, a coal merchant, and his wife Joy. His first encounters with music were as a young boy in the church choir, although Tony began playing through a rather unforeseen order of events. He admitted himself that it was largely due to the fact that he was the last to sign up for a newly formed school band and the only instrument left in the cupboard was the trombone. He was not from a musical family, but he nurtured his fascination of the instrument by attending concerts at the De Montfort Hall, near his home in Leicester. Little did he know at the time how this early inspiration would go on to shape his career and ultimately, his life. In an interview with the BBC in 2002, Tony commented: ‘It’s one of the most versatile instruments of all, capable of ever so many moods […] When the trombones get ready to play in an orchestra you know something is going to happen.’
Tony was an adept and skilled linguist, learning Korean, Russian and Japanese, originally wanting to study modern languages at university before unexpectedly gaining a place to study at the Royal Academy of Music. Known to his colleagues as ‘Foxy’, which comes from the symbol of Leicestershire, he was well known for his mischievous sense of humour which on one occasion he combined with his talent for languages in a rehearsal. In the rehearsal, he accidently played a particularly loud note during a passage where the trombones should have been counting their bars rest. The Japanese conductor looked over in shock, to which Tony responded with copious apologies in Japanese! The story goes that the maestro was so taken aback with fits of laughter that he decided to abandon the rehearsal. Another tale of his linguistic prowess was when he once joined the great conductor Gennady Rozhdestvensky and his family as they were reciting the poem The Bronze Horseman by Alexander Pushkin. The family were left in amazement as Tony was the only one able to complete the poem – in fluent Russian! Following his studies at the Royal Academy, he enrolled in National Service with the Coldstream Guards and joined the regimental band at 20 years old, touring all over the world. After three years in the forces, in 1962 Tony was hired in the orchestra for Sadler’s Wells Opera on 2nd Trombone. He spent a year there before relocating to Manchester to join the Hallé Orchestra which at the time was conducted by the legendary Sir John Barbirolli. Seven years later he made the move back to London to join the BBC Symphony Orchestra. This enabled him to perform under some of the greatest conductors of the twentieth century such as Pierre Boulez, Sir Georg Solti and Daniel Barenboim, at a time when the orchestra became known as Britain’s premier modern music ensemble. Like his time in the Regimental Band of the Coldstream Guards, during his time in the BBCSO Tony toured internationally extensively and also enjoyed the annual BBC Proms season, where the BBCSO performs most of the concerts. In addition to a plethora of recordings made with the BBCSO, Tony can also be heard on a number of film soundtracks including Rambo and Watership Down. Tony decided to leave the BBC aged 60, and joined a jazz band performing on the QE2 on a voyage to South America. However, he said later that he found jazz so difficult to master to a professional standard that he nearly quit by the time the ship had reached Tenerife. Tony taught at the London College of Music, where he met Jane Dixon who also worked there. They married in 1990. Prior to this, Tony had been married to
Sarah (née Jones) with whom he had two daughters, Ruth and Emma. He was a very proud grandfather to Izzy (Emma’s daughter), who knew him as ‘Baba’. He ably accompanied Izzy at the piano while she was learning the flute. In 2004 he and Jane moved to Suffolk where Tony continued to teach at the University of East Anglia and the Colchester Institute, while also still directing
brass bands and tutoring on courses and summer schools both in the UK and further afield in Japan and China. Later in life, Tony could be seen and heard performing with his own jazz band both playing the trombone and singing. In addition to his many varied talents, he was also an accomplished painter and loved to cook. Clearly Tony was a highly intelligent individual, skilled in many things but arguably his greatest legacy for trombone players was as a founder member of the BTS in 1986, and his editorship of the BTS magazine Continues on next page … 17
for 20 years to 2006. The magazine is a huge part of the output of the society and Tony’s input over the years was exceptional. Looking through past editions of the magazine, now available online, you can see the hard work and painstaking effort that Tony took over the society’s publication. We were very fortunate to have Tony’s expertise and guidance for so many years. Upon his retirement from the magazine, the BTS presented Tony with a special award in recognition of his service to the Society. I only had the pleasure of meeting Tony briefly, so I have asked a couple of his former colleagues and dear friends to contribute: Tom Winthorpe; From 1979 until 1985 I had the great privilege of playing second trombone to Tony in the BBC Symphony Orchestra. Nobody could have asked for a better mentor, both musically and socially. At that time there was a great deal of avant-garde music being performed by the orchestra. Often it would involve techniques such as deliberately playing out of tune, changing seating positions during the performance, playing the highest note possible followed by the lowest note possible, and so on. As can be imagined, this could become frustrating and demoralizing but Tony always 18
managed to find some humour in the situation, which was a great relief to the rest of us. One day a brand new piece was put out on the music stands with the ink still ‘wet’. Starting with a lugubrious descending glissando from the trombone, Tony called out ‘who wrote this the last time we played it?’ just loud enough to corpse the band but not so loudly that the composer, sitting at the back of Studio 1, could hear it. Tony was an instinctive communicator both through his trombone and his personality. During my time alongside him, there are obviously too many occasions to mention individually when he brought something special and memorable to the performance. But there is one performance that always sticks with me (although years later he denied remembering it in particular). Towards the end of a three-week European tour, we arrived in Amsterdam for an 11.00am rehearsal for the afternoon concert. The night before we had been in Hamburg which meant that some members travelled by sleeper train and others elected to fly at 6:00am between venues. At 11.00am we had all assembled for the rehearsal in the Concertgebouw only to be told that our eminent conductor would not attend until his hotel room had been made ready for him – the rehearsal would now start at mid-day. At 12.15pm, the conductor graced us with his presence, proceeded to conduct the first 8 bars, and
then said ‘see you this afternoon’. Perhaps not the best circumstances to prepare for the concert, which included Shostakovich’s Symphony No. 4 with its noted trombone solos. That afternoon, Tony played what can only be called a ‘blinder’, lifting the spirits of the whole band, something that is more usually the domain of principal trumpets. When not communicating through his trombone, Tony was a great human communicator. He had an extraordinary ability with languages. I remember him in China squatting down on his haunches, Chinese style, talking with our Chinese coach drivers. In Prague, then still behind the Iron Curtain, we had finally found a restaurant that did not respond to our request to eat with ‘Is closed’. Afterwards we had to get back to our hotel. No problem for Tony, who stepped into the street, flagged down the first Trabant that came along, and managed to get the driver to take us back to our hotel. Japanese was not a problem for him either, which meant that we ended up eating in some weird and wonderful places on our Japanese tours. I know that some members of the CBSO still remember Tony going with them to what was then Yugoslavia and speaking Serbo-Croat. Tony will always be remembered by those of us who knew him as a true gentleman. This made him popular with the ladies whilst he was equally at home sharing stories with ‘the lads’ and could often be found leading the singing on Coach 3. He epitomized that truism of ‘take the job seriously but don’t take yourself seriously’. He was always known as Foxy Parsons, a name he was totally at ease with and I hope you can see why my time in the BBCSO was spent ‘following Foxy’.
We took them up to Tony’s house in Southgate, after their BBC Proms concert, and there followed many toasts to international trombone friendship... The Russians never forgot it! Another notable event took place in France, some ten years ago, at the house of Alan Lumsden, a fellow trombonist of long standing. Eight of us had made our way there, for a week of serious practice and delicious meals, culminating in a concert in the nearby town. Tony not only played lead in an evening of octet, but compèred the whole show, in fluent French. The very last time I met Tony was four years ago, in Bury St. Edmunds, for a performance of Britten’s War Requiem. I was singing with the North London Chorus, and there was he, playing first trombone with the East Anglia Symphonia. We were astonished to see each other and spent a very happy tea-time together, aided, of course, by a couple of pints. I say Goodbye to a warm and true old friend.
Dick Tyack: I first met Tony in 1963, in Manchester. He had just been appointed as 2nd trombone in Barbirolli’s Hallé orchestra, and I had just graduated from the university, with a BMus degree. From that time, I worked occasionally with the Hallé as an extra player. I remember one notable occasion when I was in Manchester, at the end of a holiday trip. Tony was going down with a nasty bug and I was asked to step in for that evening’s concert, borrowing his trombone and his tail-suit. Luckily, I already knew the music and probably was in desperate need of some cash. Anyway, the coat fitted quite well, but the trousers were much too long, and had to be turned up and … I also had a bit of trouble with the top notes! Our paths next crossed a few years later in London, 1970. Tony had joined the BBC Symphony, as co-principal, and I joined later that year on bass trombone. There followed some twenty years of intense musical experiences, good and bad, and adventures, comical and tragic. Such as, for instance, an epic party given for the trombones of the Leningrad Philharmonic in 1971.
Brings Trombone Centre Stage with
BY AUSTIN CONSORDINI
Composer, bandleader, producer and trombonist Rosie Turton has recently exploded onto the London jazz scene with the debut of her debut EP, Rosie’s 5ive. Turton is part of a new generation of trombone players who are giving the trombone a chance to be centre stage and is showing the world that unique female bandleaders are helping the jazz genre to grow and evolve with influences coming from Hip-Hop, reggae, traditional Indian music, and even dubstep. Jazz re:freshed, the label that produced the EP, describes Rosie’s 5ive as ‘trombone, violin and electronics over a bed of interlocking grooves and soundscapes’. We were lucky enough to sit down with Ms Turton to discuss her musical influences and what’s next for Rosie’s 5ive. Rosie’s journey to be the leader of Rosie’s 5ive began with the violin and although she doesn’t get a chance to play much anymore, the string instrument is still an integral part of several tracks on her EP. Rosie picked up the trombone in secondary school after being drawn to the sound of the instrument. Rosie Turton: ‘I started playing trombone around the time I began secondary school. I can’t remember exactly how I came to this instrument, especially since it was about the same size as me at that time. But I recall hearing it being played and being drawn to the sound it created. There was access to trombone lessons and a trombone to borrow, so that is how it all started!’ By age 16, Turton was accepted to the Sound and Music Summer School where she was able to meet composer Issie Barrat who encouraged Turton to
explore composition. Turton also began gigging with Tomorrow Warriors as a teen and was able to meet Nubya Garcia who Turton works and collaborates with to this day, as well as Joe Armon-Jones and other current influencers in jazz. Turton went on to attend Trinity College of Music where she met Luke Newman, who contributes vocals on Rosie’s 5ive EP, and is a regular collaborator with Rosie and her band. Turton currently plays ‘Lovely’ which is a Rath R10 and when describing her musical influences, she credits Dennis Rollins as a ‘massive trombone influence,’ alongside Peter Zummo, Grachan Moncur III, Alice Coltrane, Pharaoh Sanders, and Sun Ra. Outside of the jazz genre, Turton enjoys hip-hop artists Madlib, J Dilla, and Outkast, who she mentions have had a ‘huge influence on [her] in particular’, but has also been drawn to reggae since hearing Survival but Bob Marley when she was a young teen. The album, which also features trombone, is what ‘really made me fall in love with music’, Turton describes. Rosie’s 5ive is Turton’s chance to become an influencer in her own right as a multi-talented musician, composer, bandleader and producer who can help pave the way for more female jazz musicians to bet on their own music and creativity. RT: Improvisation and composition have always been my creative and emotional outlet. I feel very lucky to be part of such an amazing community of musicians and playing with so many incredible people.
PHOTOGRAPHY: POLINA SC HAPOVA (POLKA .PHOTOS)
Turton also uses sounds, cultures, textures, and collaborations to flex her creativity. Rosie’s 5ive EP plays like a tribute to world culture with many musical genres blended with traditional jazz. Rosie, whose parents are from South Africa, is also interested in Indian Classical Music and spiritual jazz. Turton has been able to channel music from all over the world to evolve jazz music in a way that has never been seen in quite the same way before. Turton encourages other women brass players to ‘put yourself out there, go to jam sessions, write music, show everyone how awesome you are!’ if they are looking to break out onto the London jazz scene as Turton herself has. In fact, gigging was how Rosie’s 5ive came together. RT: ‘The band is comprised of musicians who I have collaborated with in a few different projects. I was starting to write a bit of new music, and then Tom Sankey offered me a gig at one of his Good Evening Arts nights. This kick-started the whole process, really.’ Today, Rosie’s 5ive is working on new music and gigging over the summer and autumn. Looking back on her career so far, Rosie says, ‘having created an album
is a pretty big highlight for me! I am so grateful for the musicians who gave it so much, and I had so much fun during the whole process of creating it from start to finish’. You can check out Rosie’s 5ive and keep up with their touring schedule on Rosie’s 5ive website. The ensemble also includes Johanna Burnheart on violin, Maria Chiara Argirò on piano, Twm Dylan on bass and Jake Long on drums. Luke Newman on vocals and Ben Hayes on synthesizers both feature on some of the tracks. Finally, Maxwell Owin mixed and co-produced the album with Rosie. Limited edition CD’s just became available in May and can be purchased through Bandcamp. Visit Rosie’s 5ive Bandcamp page, where you can also purchase the limited edition 12” vinyl, or stream and download the MP3 files. Rosie Turton also performs with Nerija, an all-female septet on the Domino Recording Co. record label.
Are You Getting Away With It? MATTHEW LEWIS
Historically the trombone has not been treated in the same way as other orchestral instruments. It is very rare in orchestral and operatic music to find a melodic solo written for trombone. We also have not, until the last 100 years, had the solo repertoire composed for us that other instruments have. This, combined with many brass players having more of a fascination with playing high and fast than creating something musically engaging, means we risk ignoring a very important area of our technique – legato playing. Whilst there should be admiration for those with outrageous techniques, I believe playing a slow melody with the perfect line is definitely more challenging and if it is treated with importance can improve every area of your playing. So why is it harder? Well it’s obvious; we have a slide. How can we possibly sound as smooth and melodic as a horn or a cello? I believe it is our responsibility to change this mindset and see the slide as an asset and not a hindrance. The only difference between us and a cellist is that our airflow is their bow. Why don’t all trombonists sound like cellists then? Confidence. Petrified of playing a glissando in a legato phrase, trombonists have become masters of deception. We play with incredible control of our air, subtly reducing the air speed in perfect co-ordination with a shift in slide position and thus creating the illusion of perfect legato.
Unfortunately we can never achieve a truly engaging musical line unless we admit we may be cheating and change our approach. So why is it down to confidence? If we are even in the slightest bit worried about a glissando we won’t be confident to play with the right airflow. Glissandos don’t even sound that bad if the slide technique is fast enough! During my time at the Royal Academy of Music, I was preparing for a recital and was struggling to get a good sound on the low E at the end of the Chorale in Dutilleux’s Chorale, Cadence et Fugato. It was only after walking past a cellist practising that I had the light bulb moment. I ran back to the band room to try something out: – play the low B before in 2nd on the trigger and not in 7th and with all the confidence in the world, slur down to 7th for the low E. With the airflow constant and the aperture, that is the lips, open, you achieve the perfect cello-like portamento and the most amazing full and consistent end to the phrase. Why hadn’t I thought of this before? Well, I’ve always practiced lip slurs in the same position. For me a slur from 7th – 7th was far more natural than 2nd – 7th where I would definitely have a glissando. So it was time to explore an idea that I later realised would leave me warming up, practicing and performing with a totally different focus. During this time I discovered a book that was going to change my trombone playing forever – Brad Edwards’ Lip Slur Melodies. This book explores lip flexibilities across the slide, encouraging positive airflow and melodic playing from the first note of the day.
So what are my rules for making the most out of these exercises?
1. Play them as if they are the best melody you have ever heard Why do the first few notes of the day feel and sound worse? Well, I guess technically it’s because you haven’t warmed up yet but does the fact we expect it to be bad play a part? Do we ease into a warm up with our expectations too? I believe so. From the first exercise of the day I believe we can set the tone. Who says we can’t sound musical with an amazing sound from the start? Start with a simple slur from middle Bb to middle F – take a natural breath, play a confident mf, crescendo to the middle F and once settled on the note, diminuendo slightly but leaving the aperture, the lips, open so the sound has an open end to it. There we have a musical, open ended, lip slur. If we then increase the difficulty of the lip slur with the same approach we build up a consistent way of playing that not only sounds musical but feels relaxed and free. A note should either crescendo or diminuendo, playing its part in the line of the phrase, as this helps your air have direction. Lip slurs are most effective when played exactly in time as they encourage control when changing between notes. 2. Have the confidence to blow through the changes of the notes Actively blow more air to support the changes between the notes. My favourite is just trying low Bb up to Middle Eb; try this exercise progressively going down a semi-tone at a time and see just how much air you can increase as you change up to support the slur. 3. Think of the weight of the airflow filling the space It’s important to experiment with your warming up, you need to not only find the best sounding results but the most efficient results too. It’s not just about playing with lots of air, wider air, bigger breaths and so on. It must be about how you view the use of the air. Each note in a slur should be full sounding and if you are playing musically with the correct support through the changes of the notes your air should have some direction to it.
Think about filling the whole note with sound to avoid any sudden dips in airflow. Achieve this and you help hugely towards our end goal of a lyrical legato. 4. Blow into the low register There are two reasons for this. The first is that it is easy to isolate low notes, relax the jaw and hope for the best. One of the most improved areas of my playing since using the book is that it brings the low register into your comfort zone and helps you realise that you need an embouchure that is just as specific for a low F as you do for a middle F. To find this embouchure: start in first position on a middle F, slur to a low Bb and then glissando down to sixth. Keep the focus in the lips and increase the air as you glissando down. You’ll be surprised by how small an aperture in the lips you can get away with. If you get used to this aperture control and follow the book with these guidelines then you’ll be playing three octave lip slurs in no time. They simply aren’t possible if you lose any control in your low register. The second reason to blow into your low register is because the human ear picks up higher frequencies more easily than the lower ones. When playing a melody we need to engage the audience through the lower frequencies as well and we can do this by focusing on supporting the airflow down to the low notes as part of the longer line. How does warming up in this way improve my ability to play a melody? If you do anything enough it becomes habit and the habit we need to find ourselves adopting is this confident approach to free-flowing musical airflow. Allow yourself the freedom to forget your current expectations of how good you can sound from the start and expect only the most positive playing from the first note. Do this for long enough and you will feel more confident about your sound, your flexibility and your range and, most importantly, you will naturally get used to thinking of music less as a technical challenge and more of a musical one. We now need to apply this airflow to reality. First practice the legato phrase without tongue but with the perfect air you now consistently use when warming up. This will create glissandos but blow into them positively. Keep playing this phrase focusing on airflow and moving the slide as efficiently between positions as possible, then when confident with the shape of the phrase finally add the tongue in.
When I was first starting out, a legato tongue was always an ‘L’ articulation but now with your improved air you may not find that clear enough all the time. If there is one thing I’ve learnt about articulation it that you need to do what sounds good at the back of the room too. A lot of the time anything from a light to a hard ‘T’ tongue can be necessary when playing legato. The best thing to do with this is to record yourself with a range of articulations and listen back. This doesn’t have to be a fancy recording device, a video or voice memo on your phone will do the trick. If it sounds like a glissando, first try moving the slide quicker, then try more articulation. As long as the co-ordination between slide and tongue are lined up then you can use as much free air as you like. Breathing plays a big part in using more air but when starting out with this process just keep it as natural as possible by breathing in time with the pulse of the music and not trying to force a huge breath, the most important goal is to be relaxed. By being obsessive with playing as melodically as possible from the first note of the day you will grow in confidence in your playing, become more flexible across the range of the trombone and ultimately feel freer when performing. Playing with positive air through the changes of notes, keeping the aperture open and allowing ‘glissando-air’ fills out the sound and will leave you with a warm, open sound others will envy. Next time you perform a solo, stun the audience in a way that connects with them rather than just impresses them.
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In the Hot Seat Bob Hughes Bass Trombone Competition 2018 winner, Sam Taber, talks to Kevin Morgan BY KEVIN MORGAN
The 2018 BTS Bob Hughes Bass Trombone Competition for young players was won by Sam Taber, a student at the Royal Academy of Music (RAM). Part of the prize was a week performing with the Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra. Many thanks to Lisa Tregale of BSO Resonate for supporting the competition and to the BTS for continuing to encourage our young players. Sam joined us for a typical week of two and half days of rehearsal followed by concerts in Poole, Exeter and Portsmouth. The programme included Smetenaâ€™s Vltava and Sibelius Symphony No. 1, so plenty to play. Following this I spoke to Sam to find out how he felt he had got on and what his impressions were of both the week with the BSO and the competition itself. Kevin Morgan: How did you start on the Trombone? Sam Taber: Both of my parents are musicians, as well as many of my immediate family, so I was always surrounded by music when I was growing up. When I was 10 years old, my younger brother wanted to start learning an instrument so we took him to the local brass band where he began on cornet. I had never expressed any interest in learning an instrument, but that all changed when I saw my brother with one! The week after, we both went along to the band. They had a vacancy for another trombone and so that is what I was given to play. My brother did not carry on playing for very long, but I am glad that he had inspired me to start.
KM: How did you find out about the Bob Hughes Prize? ST: Bob Hughes is my teacher at RAM, so it is no surprise that I ended taking part in his competition. KM: How did you prepare for the event? ST: A lot of practice is the short answer! I knew the standard would be incredibly high and it would take something special to win it. When I am preparing a solo programme, I believe the most important thing to do is really know what you want to convey to the audience and the panel of judges through your music and how you are going to do that. For me, I can achieve this by listening to lots of different recordings of the music I am going to perform, played by the great trombonists of the world. From there, I can create my own interpretations of the music and have a better idea about how the music should sound. KM: What do you particularly remember of the competition experience that may inform others about approaching competitions and solo performances? ST: I have always believed that it is important to have a specific routine to follow on competition or audition days. By this, I do not mean a specific warm-up routine, but a personal schedule of things you can set yourself to follow for the day, from the moment you wake up to the end of the performance. By doing this, you set yourself a clear structure for the day and you can minimise the chances of something happening which might affect your performance negatively.
IN THE HOT SEAT
KM: What other impressions did you have of the day of the event and the other activities? ST: I think the British Trombone Society does a wonderful service to all trombonists when they host their ‘play-days’. I have attended a few and it is a great way to get inspired and meet like-minded people, all of whom are very passionate about the trombone and music in general. During the Birmingham play-day in November last year, I was lucky enough to hear the Royal Birmingham Conservatoire Trombone Choir perform (the group contains a number of close friends) as well as watching a performance of Berio’s Sequenza V, performed by the wonderful Chris Houlding. If the BTS did not hold these Trombone days, across all parts of the country, then I do not know how else people would be able to get involved in all things trombone. KM: How did your experience of the BSO differ from your expectations? ST: I have played in orchestras before but, when you add the label of ‘professional’ to a group, it is very easy to create an expectation about how things will be different from a ‘non-professional’ group. For me, I was most concerned about everyone being very strict and the atmosphere being quite heavy and intense whilst the orchestra worked. With BSO, however, this was not the case at any point in my week with them. Everyone was very friendly and welcoming when I arrived and I quickly realized that the whole orchestra worked in a very relaxed and accommodating way. At no point did I feel I needed to say or do the ‘right thing’ and this was probably the biggest misconception I had about what working with the BSO would be like. I am very thankful to BSO for making me feel so welcome. KM: What sticks in your mind most about the week? ST: Definitely the first concert. When I first walked out on to the stage in the Lighthouse Centre, wearing my brand-new tails(!) and seeing the packed auditorium, it really hit home. As my first concert with a professional orchestra, it was a very special occasion for me and for all the members of my family that came to watch the concert. I won’t be forgetting it anytime soon!
in a pro orchestra and play with them, you notice the experience that the players have; everybody is at the level where there is no doubt that they can perform everything on the page in front of them. Because everyone has reached this same point, a synchronization throughout the orchestra is created and every section feels unified when playing.
L–R: ROBB TOOLEY (SUB-PRINCIPAL TROMBONE, BSO), SAM TABER, BOB HUGHES
KM: Was there any experience that you think worth mentioning that would be helpful to those that have not yet performed with a professional orchestra? ST: When it is your first time being a member of a professional team, in any profession, it pays to keep your head down and really focus on doing a good job, thereby proving that you have every right to be sat in that seat. It was a huge privilege to be invited to play with the BSO and I made sure I reminded myself of that fact every time I sat down in the section. I believe that having that mentality helped the likelihood of new opportunities becoming available to me as a result. I think it really pays to enjoy yourself and the chances you have been offered, instead of maybe trying to purposely impress people, and just let your actions do the talking.
KM: Can you describe any differences between the experience of performing in a college and professional environment? ST: To be honest there aren’t that many. I think the standard of students coming through UK conservatoires has reached such a high level that student orchestras can tackle anything that a professional orchestra would. I have been very lucky to be involved in some fantastic projects at RAM that I’m sure were just as good as any professional orchestra. That said, when you first sit
Rory Ingham & Bonsai Club launch BY JAMES RIC HARDSON
On the 28 May I travelled to Pizza Express Jazz Club, Soho to hear the new album launch Bonsai Club, by the group Bonsai. I was struck by the usual lineup of Bonsai, Rory Ingham on trombone, his brother Dominic Ingham on violin and vocals, Toby Comeau on piano/ keyboard, Joe Lee on bass, Jonny Mansfield on drums/ vibes and Boz Martin-Jones stepping in on drums throughout the night. The music on show that evening was all original compositions by members of the group, made up from both the latest release and from their first album, Jam Experiment. Bonsai’s music is highly inventive, very melodic and with the additional use of electronics, it has a strong identity. I highly recommend taking some time to go and hear this group. A few days after the show I got in touch with Rory to find out more about him and his thoughts about the launch of his new album. James Richardson: Firstly can you tell us a bit about your background? Rory Ingham: I grew up in Wakefield, born into a musical family with my parents both saxophonists (Julia Mills and Richard Ingham). Dad travelled a lot and we would often go with him, so we had many long car journeys where we’d listen to all kinds of music, but mainly jazz. I started violin lessons at the age of 4 with my older brother (Dominic – the violinist in Bonsai), learning through the Suzuki method, which is largely based on learning music by ear in the early days, and playing in groups. Dom carried on with this whilst I moved to cello, then to a few other instruments before I took up the trombone at the age of 10. I attended Queen Elizabeth Grammar School, Wakefield, which had a 28
fantastic music department with head of music, David Waters, encouraging me right from the start. I looked up to musicians such as Reuben Fowler and Matt Robinson who were just going to study jazz at the Royal Academy of Music when I started high school. I got involved with the school big band which was great, and enjoyed sitting next to trombonist, Jacob Cooper, who now studies jazz at Guildhall. We both went along to Doncaster Youth Jazz Orchestra together, which maintained a strong reputation for developing young budding jazz musicians, thanks to the wonderful leader, John Ellis MBE. I think at one point Jacob and I played in 10 bands together, which would rehearse each week. We quickly developed a strong musical relationship, which included really starting to get obsessed with jazz trombone. I started attending National Youth Jazz Orchestra of Scotland summer courses, where I had the chance to learn from the likes of Malcolm Edmonstone, Andrew Bain, Percy Pursglove, Liane Carroll, and the late great trombonist and all round legend Rick Taylor, who made a big impression on my playing and approach to music. By doing NYJOS I had the chance to meet some fantastic young Scottish musicians, which was really inspiring. Something I remember fondly was the jam sessions each night, trying to put what you’d learnt during the day into practice. I always came away from the courses with a huge list of new musicians to check out, which, looking back on it, had a massive impact on my interest in jazz. I started studying jazz trombone with Leeds-based Kevin Holbrough, before going to Chetham’s School of Music for sixth form, where I studied with Les Chisnall, Steve Berry, Richard Iles, and primarily, saxophonist
RORY INGHAM & BONSAI CLUB LAUNCH
PHOTOGRAPHY: SAM DYE
Iain Dixon. It was great to have a teacher who didn’t play my instrument, as this forced me to think more about what’s possible in music, and helped remove the boundaries of what’s possible on the trombone. Iain changed my whole of way of thinking. At Chet’s I had the pleasure of frequently sitting in a section with Harry Maund, a trombonist a couple of years younger than me who quickly inspired me with his playing and positive attitude. During my time in Manchester I started playing with NYJO, and went on a National Youth Jazz Collective summer school, where I discovered some of the most incredible jazz musicians in England. I discovered more amazing Scottish jazz musicians by attending the University of St. Andrews’ long distance learning courses run by my father Richard Ingham alongside Richard Michael, gaining an Advanced Diploma and Graduate Diploma in Jazz. I found this to be such a helpful part of my jazz upbringing prior to attending music college. I then moved to London to study at the Royal Academy of Music with Gordon Campbell, Mark Bassey, Nikki Iles, Pete Churchill, Tom Cawley, Nick Smart and Gareth Lockrane to name but a few. After my first year I started to have lessons with many others including some of my trombone heroes (Trevor Mires, Barnaby Dickinson, and Mark Nightingale), as well as some of my favourite musicians (Mike Walker and Percy
Pursglove). I have now finished my studies at The Royal Academy of Music. Some of my performing highlights so far include playing with the Mike Gibbs Big Band, Jonny Mansfield’s Elftet, BBC Big Band, Birth Of The Cool, Syd Lawrence Orchestra, Bonsai and Rory Ingham Quartet. JR: Which musicians inspired you growing up? RI: I was lucky to live close to Wakefield Jazz Club where I would regularly visit and it was free for under 14s! I had the opportunity to see trombonists such as Dennis Rollins, Mark Nightingale, and Barnaby Dickinson; this really sparked my love for jazz trombone. Early on I was also particularly inspired by Charlie Parker, Pat Metheny, Michael Brecker, Cannonball Adderley, Ella Fitzgerald, Miles Davis, and Stevie Wonder. Among trombonists that have influenced me are Carl Fontana, Conrag Herwig, Bill Watrous, Fred Wesley, Frank Rosolino, JJ Johnson, Wycliffe Gordon, Andy Martin, Gordon Campbell and Bob McChesney, to name a few! JR: What made you want to pursue a career as a jazz musician? RI: Going to see concerts, alongside a combination of the encouragement from my parents, education and opportunities given to me. When I was about 14, 29
RORY INGHAM & BONSAI CLUB LAUNCH
I started a little group at school. We got a few low-profile gigs and then recorded an album – I loved it so much. It was clear at that point that I wanted to do it for the rest of my life.
JR: What advice would you give to musicians who are thinking about learning jazz and improvisation? RI: I think a lot of my inspiration has come from watching live concerts, so I would say go to see loads of gigs! Whether you’re a musician at beginner or advanced level, I would strongly encourage you to improvise at some point. Lastly, dig around and try to find other people that are also interested in learning how
PHOTOGRAPHY: MONIKA S. JAKUBOWSKA
JR: You’re currently in your last year at the Royal Academy of Music, how have you found being a student there and how have they prepared you for life as a musician? RI: The Royal Academy of Music has been perfection! The guidance and tuition I have had there has been
my awareness of musicians at other music colleges, and other young musicians in the UK.
amazing. After I moved to London, I started to generate a bit of work, which I found quite difficult at times to balance with my college duties. Having said that, the head of jazz, Nick Smart, is so supportive of students going out to do work, on the basis that the work is contributing towards the path you’d like to go down. He’s very good at staying tuned in with what everyone is up to and he has a genuine interest and care for the students. During my time at RAM I have met some incredible musicians and formed some powerful musical relationships. It always felt natural to play with musicians from other colleges as well, especially Guildhall. Through being in NYJO this helped develop 30
to improvise, it’s amazing how much you can learn from and share with your peers. JR: What musical influences are reflected in your latest release, Bonsai Club? RI: Kneebody, Bombay Bicycle Club, Ambrose Akinmusire, Big Bad Wolf, Ben Wendel, Wayne Shorter, Logan Richardson, Jamie Woon, Mark Lockheart, Ravel, Sam Jones, Joe Zawinul. JR: Why this line up of musicians? (violin, vocals, trombone, keyboard, vibes, bass & kit) RI: Dom joined the band in January 2018 after featuring
RORY INGHAM & BONSAI CLUB LAUNCH
on the last gig of the 2017 Jam Experiment 40-date tour. It was natural that he joined the band as it felt really good to have him there with us, and the fact that he sings in addition to playing the violin was desirable, as we wanted to expand the sound texturally. JR: How have you found making this album? Has it been easier or more challenging than your first album Jam Experiment? RI: A total joy. Bonsai Club is rather different to Jam Experiment; on Bonsai Club there’s a lot more instruments, overdubs and general post-production. We decided we wanted to spend four days in the studio, and we wanted the mixing engineer, Alex Killpatrick, to engineer the whole session also. The music was written in early-mid 2018 then we embarked upon a tour of Europe where the music developed and took new life, before recording the music right at the end of the tour. It was great to have the guidance of the label and its director, Martin Hummel, towards the end of the making of the album. JR: Your brother Dominic sings and plays violin on the album, how have you found creating and performing this album with him? RI: Dominic is such a strong musical force. Both compositionally and in his playing, he’s really driven the band in a new direction. The presence of his vocals allow for larger soundscapes, persuading the trombone to adopt a slightly different, more supportive role in the music. It’s also a dream come true to be working with my brother in this environment – it’s lucky we get along so well! We’ve been playing music together for almost 20 years, so there is this ‘brotherly synchronicity’ going on which enhances the music-making process enormously. JR: When listening to Bonsai’s album lunch I was struck by how vocally you played trombone often behind the texture of the violin. Is this a conscious writing decision or just a sound the group is drawn to? RI: Both. Sometimes in our music the effect of the trombone writing is simply to be providing a bed of sound for the violin or vocals to soar over, but other times it just happens organically, if I think the music is calling for it. JR: If you could summarise your new album in a few words? RI: Bonsai Club is an album of compositions by Bonsai. This is a group where everyone is the leader, and the music is written to be played by each other, with each other. The music is about home, as that’s the feeling we get when we’re playing together. The long-standing relationships between Jonny, myself and my brother Dom, and childhood best friends Toby and Joe, mean
PHOTOGRAPHY: MONIKA S. JAKUBOWSKA
that Bonsai are able to work cohesively and freely as a collective, resulting in total synergy. For this record Bonsai have explored breaking down boundaries between genres, whilst developing a sound that is driven by a myriad of ingredients: expressive vocals, a plethora of synths, and groove-fuelled improvisations. JR: Finally, anything you would like to say, or shout-outs to people? RI: On behalf of Bonsai, we are bouncing with excitement – like a dog with two tails(!) – to have released Bonsai Club on Ubuntu Music. We are overjoyed that Martin Hummel has decided to provide us with the platform to release this brand-new music. Martin is one of the most supportive, forward-looking and open-minded individuals on the UK jazz scene. I am truly hopeful that we reach an audience that enjoys all kinds of music, as this album has something for everybody. We would also like to thank our families and friends for the ongoing support and generosity towards us and the music. I would like to thank James Cunningham, for introducing me to the trombone, and Stuart Wilkinson, who taught me in the early days. Bonsai Club is available to buy from the UBUNTU MUSIC LABEL. The album launch tour continues in 2019, please visit our What’s On pages for more details. 31
Music for Voices and Trombones Saturday, 8 June 2019 All Saint’s Church Gosforth, Newcastle upon Tyne Newcastle upon Tyne Bach Choir, conductor Eric Cross The Concert Trombone Quartette
BY PETER C HESTER
To have a debut performance with at least two UK premières and one world première in the same concert does not come often to the good people of Gosforth. Yet, it did happen on 8 June for those who turned up, in goodly numbers, to a concert in All Saint’s Church in Gosforth, given by the Newcastle upon Tyne Bach Choir, conducted by Eric Cross, and partnered by The Concert Trombone Quartette. The CTQ, directed by Adrian France, was featured in the spring edition of the BTS magazine, and this very successful first concert was a clear demonstration of the CTQ’s skills and musical intentions. Adrian’s colleagues in CTQ, Susan Addison, Miguel Tantos and Emily White, all have an abiding enthusiasm for exploring the trombone, particularly its place in music before the 20th century. To that end they are very skilled in playing period instruments and in trying to recreate the sounds that trombones from these earlier centuries would have made. For this concert, the audience was treated to the sound of original German trombones, made in Dresden around 1860, as well as reproductions of earlier 18th century models, decidedly more sackbut than trombone, especially in the large bass instrument, complete with handle, played by Adrian. The clear ringing tone of these Classical period trombones gave a very arresting start to the concert, with a performance of Beethoven’s famous Equale, given even more effect as they were played at the rear of the nave, out of view of the audience. Newcastle upon Tyne Bach Choir, conducted by Eric Cross is something of a specialist in performance of 18th century choral music, although they have commissioned 32
works from contemporary composers as well. For this concert the choir presented a well-researched programme of hitherto little-known music exploring the Germanic-Austrian tradition of combining trombones and voices in liturgical settings. For example, the choir’s polished and controlled sound blended perfectly with the trombones, in a setting of Ecce quomodo by Franz Joseph Aumann (1728–1797) of St Florian. This led to Bruckner himself adding parts for trombones to the work one year after it’s composition demonstrating not only Bruckner’s respect & influence of his tutor’s music but also to illustrate his future intentions of the use of writing for trombones and voices. Research into this music and its era had unearthed a composer called Wenzel Gottlieb Lambel (1768–1861), who turned out to have been Bruckner’s lodger in the 1840s. He composed a series of ten Equale for trombones, one of which was presented. Perhaps brighter and lighter than those of Beethoven, their rich
MUSIC FOR VOICES AND TROMBONES
chords sounded glorious on the German trombones. The central work of the concert was Bruckner’s Requiem in D minor, written in 1849 and considered his first largescale composition, and one specifically incorporating trombones alongside the choir. As you might imagine, the trombones’ function was to support the choir and add varieties of colour. They played in almost every movement, but particular mention might be made of some lovely alto playing in the Benedictus. Alongside the Requiem, however, three other liturgical motets by Bruckner, from later in his life, were presented, with trombones, period string instruments and an organ adding their colours to the voices. The final music of the concert was a World première on trombones, this time a vocal work, Domine Deus, written by a pupil of Bruckner, Joseph Gruber (1855– 1933). For this reviewer at least, this proved to be a case of ‘saving the best until last’. The rich harmonies of the music and beautiful tone of the antique trombones was really very pleasing indeed, and perhaps a genuine revelation to those less familiar with the trombone. This collaboration between the Newcastle upon Tyne Bach Choir and The Concert Trombone Quartette generated a concert that was as enjoyable as it was distinctive and it was much appreciated by the audience. The Concert Trombone Quartette, with their very special sound, can look forward to consolidating their special place in the trombone world.
B RISA S A N DALU Z A S BY MOISÉS FERNÁNDEZ-GALLEGO BVD MUSIC PRODUCTIONS
When you listen to Ben van Dijk’s sixth album Brisas Andaluzas (Andalusian Breezes), you do not expect a traditional trombone album. In it you will find original repertoire with a strong influence of flamenco, a genre that this musician loves and has studied over many years. The Brisas Andaluzas suite, which gives its name to the album, begins with the lament of the voice of Pablo Martínez making reference to the eight Andalusian provinces. Andalusia is the region of southern Spain where two of Ben’s musical heroes were born: Camarón de la Isla and Paco de Lucía, who, as he says himself, exert notable influences on the music of this album. In this suite, composed by the fantastic trombonist and composer Ilja Reijngoud, we find an individual language developed through a knowledge of this genre and the influence of the most representative instruments, the guitar and voice. The qualities of Ben Van Dijk as a trombonist are well known to all. In addition to a warm, large, relaxed sound, a brilliant technique and spectacular phrasing we also find a great flamenco guitarist demonstrated by a single guitar cadence that unites the Prelude and the Farruca, which only confirms the musical quality of this performer. Ben’s trombone playing approaches the virtuosity of a flamenco guitar, sometimes imitating the articulation of this instrument with the lyricism and vocal approach of a flamenco singer and constantly reflecting the influence of two of his musical heroes, to whom he pays tribute in the Ballad (Brisas Andaluzas), together with string instruments, Marcel Serierse’s drums and Christian Grässlin’s muted trumpet. In Tangos, Ben establishes a unique dialogue with the voice of Pablo Martinez who also plays cajón palmas in addition to his flamenco singing. Apart from the importance of Ilja Reijngoud as composer in this recording, a highlight is his participation as an interpreter with several solos that show his individuality as a creative artist in Tangos and later in Bulerias. 34
The melody played by the bass trombone in Tangos has a clear lyrical character that approaches the flamenco voice with accents that give rhythmic richness to this song. In the last part of the suite is Bulerías, where you can identify the melody of the chorus of Patio custodio included in the album Cositas Buenas by Paco de Lucía, this time being played masterfully by the bass trombone. My Spanish Heart and Rapsodia Flamenca were originally issued on the album Never Alone in 2009 but are included here in new remastered versions to complete this wonderful celebration of the flamenco style. The album ends with a beautiful ballad based on a poem El río todo lo sabe, composed for bass trombone and string quartet. It shows Ben van Dijk’s warmth of sound, his careful phrasing and honesty in his way of playing. In conclusion, a recording that expresses the development of a unique voice in the trombone world with creative compositions that bring the bass trombone closer to flamenco as a genre in a lyrical as well as virtuosic form that moves away from any idea of a traditional trombone recording. Bravo Ben, ole de verdad! Ben Van Dijk bass trombone and flamenco guitar; Ilja Reijngoud, lead and jazz trombone solos; Christian Grässlin, trumpet, flugelhorn; Pablo Martínez, cajón, palmas, flamenco singing; Marcel Serierse, drums; Vera Laporova, Sarah Koch, violin; Norman Jansen, viola; Jascha Albracht, cello; Quirijin van den Bijlaart, Bart Claessens, Martin Schippers, tenor trombones; Tomer Maschkowski, bass trombone; The Amsterdam Brass Band, Frank van Koten, conductor. Brisas Andaluzas, My Spanish heart & El río lo sabe todo by Ilja Reijngoud; Rapsodia Flamenca by Vicent Egea.
PAL E ST RINA: Missa sina nomine a6 TOCCATA CL ASSICS TOCC0516
BY ADAM CRIGHTON
The Choir of Girton College, Cambridge; Historic Brass of the Guildhall School and the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama; Jeremy West, leader, cornett; Lucy Morrell and James Mitchell, organ; Gareth Wilson, direction Released in 2018, this is the third exploration made by musical trailblazer Gareth Wilson into music for choir and historic brass. This recording was made following two weeks in Israel & Palestine, where choir and brass rehearsed and toured the music. The spine of the CD is Giovanni Palestrina’s Missa sine nomine (1590), which is complemented by five motets by the same composer, and three motets by Marc’Antonio Ingegneri, the teacher of Italian composer Monteverdi. Palestrina (1525-94) is perhaps best known for his contribution to sacred music as part of the Roman School of composition; his work is widely regarded as the peak of Renaissance polyphony. Anyone who has come across this choir’s previous releases will be no stranger to the sounds of choir and historic brass, but even so, I was immediately struck in the opening super Flumina Babylonis (Ingegneri,
1589) by the gorgeous sound the ensemble produces. The voices and brass blend seamlessly into a beautifully holistic sound, with superb ensemble, dynamics, and tuning throughout the CD. It is lovely, also, to hear a solo organ piece by each of the organ scholars: James Mitchell and Lucy Morrell (Ricercar Quarti Toni, and Ricercar Octavi Toni respectively). The brass playing, from Jeremy West, Beth Chidgey (cornetts), Peter Thornton, Samuel Barber, Joe Arkwright, and Stephen Williams (sackbuts), is a wonderful example of how well historic brass can support a choir. The playing is flexible and sensitive throughout, whilst giving a bedrock of sound for the choir to sit on. In the recording, one can hear the effect that having such strong brass players has upon the choir, lifting it to a new level of sound. I would wholeheartedly recommend this album for anyone, from someone hearing this style of music for the first time to well-seasoned experts in the field. The quality is of a level at which everyone will be able to appreciate – a fine example of the sound of a choir with historic brass. 35
PHOTOGRAPHY: ROB HUMPHRIES
SACRED BONES BY DANIEL DE SOUZA
St Alfege Church, Greenwich, with a generous yet crystalline acoustic, provided by Nicholas Hawksmoor’s 1714 design, was a fitting setting for a pot-pouri of Renaissance motets by Sacred Bones on Friday, 2 August. Formed in 2017 at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama, and winning the inaugural Brian Nisbet Early Music Competition with their debut public outing, Sacred Bones comprises countertenors Nathan Mercieca and Collin Shay, cornettist Clara Hyder, and sackbut players Peter Thornton (alto and tenor), Alec Coles-Aldridge (tenor), Sam Barber (tenor) and Adam Crighton (bass). For the majority of their concert, Sacred Bones took music for 4-6 voices, and redistributed it amongst their forces, creating a sonorous and varied texture that still feels in keeping with the flavour of the music. The well thought out and varied programme was peppered with familiar names from the Renaissance, spanning 16th and 17th century Europe, with plenty of links between different composers and pieces. Monteverdi and Gabrieli (unusually for a cornett and sackbut gig it was not Giovanni, of Canzone e Sonate fame, but his uncle and teacher Andrea) represented the Venetian tradition, they were both organists as St Mark’s Basilica in Venice. Whilst de Lassus and Susato (known to brass players today, for the classic John Iveson arranged suite, as recorded by the Phillip Jones Brass Ensemble) showed off the Franco-Flemish school, with Susato being the publisher of much of de Lassus’s music. Andrea Gabrieli’s Sancta et Immaculata allowed the brass players to shine, away from the voices, with Clara Hyder and Peter Thornton leading the canonic motet. Each voice was distinct yet with a homogenous ensemble sound, excellent stylistic flair and clear communication between all members of the group. A concert of mostly sacred music was broken by a secular interlude with a local flavour; St Alfege was the 36
church where Thomas Tallis worked and is buried, so it was fitting that we were treated to the work of one of his students, William Byrd. Delight is Dead, a duet for ‘two voices of equal compass’, with contrapuntal and overlapping phrases above an accompaniment provided by three tenor sackbuts in place of the more usual viols. This was followed by an organ duet, played with obvious pleasure by Sam Barber and guest artist James Mitchell – organ scholar at Girton College Cambridge, Thomas Tomkins’s A Fancy for Two to Play, completed the local connection – Tomkins was a student of Byrd. Friday’s concert was book-ended by the two extant movements of Johann Rudolph Ahle’s Missa a 6, a work championed by Sacred Bones, and one that they hope to record in the near future. This was most probably its first UK performance in living memory, and certainly the first time it has been performed in this configuration. The opening Kyrie allowed Nathan Mercieca to take the limelight, giving an almost operatic flavour to this piece of liturgical music. Whilst in the closing Gloria he was joined by Collin Shay, offering a contrasting vocal approach amidst the joyous dance rhythms and contrapuntal lines of an almost percussive accompaniment given by the sackbuts. Sacred Bones are typical of a new wave of young, exciting early music ensembles, taking often unfairly neglected repertoire, and presenting it in an innovative way, using interesting and flexible instrumentations. From their slick website and social media presence to cheerful introductions to each piece, and an inclusive ‘pay what you feel’ ticketing policy it is clear that Sacred Bones are driven by a common enthusiasm and love of this music, and they have a real flair for programming and presentation. I can’t wait to see what they come up with next!
PHOTOGRAPHY: LOUISA GAWN
ST. C LE M E N T ' S BRASS
FRIDAY, 21 JUNE 2019 BY SIMON MINSHALL
As trombone players, we often get caught up with our own practice or indeed home listening. Although both are important tools to improving our playing and musicianship, sometimes we need to venture out to listen to some live music. What a delight when, on a very toasty Friday, 21 June, I could travel less than five minutes from my front door to hear St Clement’s Brass perform in Ickenham’s resonant United Reform Church. Made up of some of the Royal Air Force’s finest musicians, it’s great to see brass players coming together to perform out of the usual environment. Organised by tuba player Jon Gawn, not only was this a celebration of brass playing, but the event raised £4,500 for the local St Giles’ Memory Cafe, which supports anyone with Alzheimer’s or Dementia. The programme showed off the great players the RAF has in its ranks. Opening with Chris Houlding’s arrangement of La Forza del Destino, it was obvious everyone was used to playing together; the sounds balanced and complemented each other across the group. The real showcase of the programme, and in fact the concert’s title, was Rhapsody in Blue.
This arrangement, by Tony Rickard was first recorded by the Royal Academy of Music Symphonic Brass. It was great to hear it again and it brought back some wonderful memories. In addition to the vibrant and exciting brass playing, the star of this piece is of course the solo piano, played superbly by Anthony McCarthy. Some very fine solo playing from Ben Godfrey (trumpet) and Alex Joyce (horn) gave the performance the class it deserved, all under the baton of Michael Howley. The second half featured an eclectic mix of Piazzolla, Malagueña, Weill and a couple of well-known treats. These included a gorgeous rendition of Londonderry Air, originally performed by John Iveson, this evening by Jonathan Hill. The encore was a smashing version of Mr. Jums. I wouldn’t be true to my fellow bass trombone brethren if I weren’t to mention the warm ‘phat’ sound of Adam Smith in the opening. This is a great trombone section and a pleasure to sit listening to, with Lewis Musson showing off his slide skills after rattling away on the euphonium on the first half. Go and source local concerts and support your colleagues, you may find you enjoy yourself! 37
G&T MATTHEW GEE
Writing this article makes you realise how similar music is performed all over the country. Certain pieces obviously keep audiences returning, but now and again it’s good to step outside of our comfort zone. With that in mind we've picked concerts which appeal to our musical side. They might offer something different, or introduce you to music you may just develop a passion for. Just give one a go!
THURSDAY, 17 OCTOBER
THURSDAY, 21 NOVEMBER
SYMPHONY HALL, BIRMINGHAM
THE BRIDGEWATER HALL, MANC HESTER
The CBSO kick things off with ‘The Thrill of the New’. Some of my favourite composers in the safe hands of conductor, Michael Seal. Having recently performed Short Ride in a Fast Machine, I can assure you it is more of a supersonic machine and keeps you on the edge of your seat for a little longer than you would ideally like!
A theremin concerto? You have to see it to believe it! An electronic musical instrument which is controlled without touching it. It gives off an eerie sound, but can be used to great effect by composers. Adès uses it brilliantly in his opera The Exterminating Angel by allowing it to duet with the soprano. Here the BBC Philharmonic tackle a new commission for the instrument.
RSNO 4PM, SUNDAY, 25 AUGUST USHER HALL, EDINBURGH
HALLÉ WEDNESDAY, 11 DECEMBER – SUNDAY, 15 DECEMBER
If you've been a little scared of opera, now is the time to jump in with both feet. The RSNO perform Wagner's Götterdämmerung at the Edinburgh International Festival. A long opera, with breaks a plenty to sample the fine beers in the local Blue Blazer pub. An epic fantasy adventure, with music that will stand the hairs up on the back of your neck. However, if you just fancy the highlights, I would suggest the RPO's BBC prom, 7.30PM AT THE ROYAL ALBERT HALL, MONDAY, 9 SEPTEMBER. All the action in just 45 min! 38
THE BRIDGEWATER HALL, MANC HESTER
The Hallé put on Tchaikovsky's The Nutcracker. This is Tchaikovsky at his absolute best, and a piece I did not know until relatively recently. But wow, what music! A children's favourite? Perhaps, but the emotional depth of the music suggests otherwise. It gets me every time. Over to you Mark.
BBC SYMPHONY ORC HESTRA
BBC NATIONAL ORCHESTRA OF WALES
SATURDAY, 26 OCTOBER
SATURDAY, 26 OCTOBER
BARBICAN , LONDON
BBC HODDINOTT HALL
My first choice is a real belter from the BBC Symphony Orchestra, Britten’s Sinfonia da Requiem, Stravinsky’s Symphony of Psalms and Rachmaninov’s Symphonic Dances. On a trombone level there are delicate little solos and big section romps, but the colours these composers got from the full forces of a 20th century symphony orchestra are mind blowing. All three pieces are a joy to listen to and to play.
Let's keep it in the family and jump over to Cardiff and the BBC National Orchestra of Wales, also on Saturday, 26 October, but at the BBC Hoddinott Hall. I love it when the strings get the night off. Which is why I was lured into BBC NOW playing Bruckner Mass in E Minor (scored for choir, wind and Brass) which is as beautiful as Bruckner gets, but seldom performed. Bruckner's Ecce sacerdos magnus, which opens the concert is reduced further to choir, organ and trombones; It's powerful stuff. If you want a little taste, listen to me, Helen Vollam and Pat Jackman with Tenebrae (not a paid for endorsement).There's also Stravinsky's Symphony of Winds on the programme too, which is brilliant.
PHILHARMONIA SATURDAY 21 – MONDAY 23 SEPTEMBER ROYAL ALBERT HALL, LONDON
This next one is pure indulgence. The Philharmonia playing Empire Strikes Back at the Royal Albert Hall with the film. This is still the best movie in the Star Wars saga, thanks in part to having an amazing score. Multiple shows are running from 21–23 September. I will be there with my Son.
That's it for another G&T. See you next time.
And to finish off, I'm going to indulge myself further and go for my band playing some standard rep. Mahler 2, Saturday, 19 October, at the Royal Festival Hall. It's still as satisfying to play as it is to listen to and I don't need to say any more. 39
BRASS BAND CONCERT 2.00pm, Saturday 24 August Erewash Museum, Nottingham BRITISH OPEN BRASS BAND CHAMPIONSHIPS 10.30am, Saturday 7 September Symphony Hall, Birmingham BRASS BAND GALA 2.30pm, Sunday 8 September Symphony Hall, Birmingham BLACK DYKE BRASS BAND 3.00pm, Sunday 15 September Harpenden Public Halls KEEP OFF THE BRASS 11.00pm, Saturday 31 August The Cube, Birmingham NATIONAL BRASS BAND CHAMPIONSHIPS 10.00am, Saturday 12 October Royal Albert Hall, London
BTS TROMBONE DAY EAST ANGLIA & AGM 9.30am, Sunday 17 November Oundle School, Peterborough BTS YOUTH TROMBONE DAY WALES 9.30am, Sunday 24 November Featuring Roger Cutts, RNCM, RWCMD & Jo Bartley Coleg Cymunedol Y Dderwen, Bridgend NEW YORK BRASS BAND 8.00pm, Friday 23 & Saturday 24 August Blues Kitchen, Shoreditch OLD DIRTY BRASSTARDS London, XOYO – Saturday 24 August Artic Monkeys London, XOYO – Saturday 31 August - Brassaoke London, XOYO – Thursday 10 October Oasis Definitely Maybe Northampton, Picturedrome – Friday 27 September Manchester, 02 Ritz – Thursday 29 August Oasis Definitely Maybe Manchester, 02 Ritz – Wednesday 16 October Killers Hot Fuss HACKNEY COLLIERY BAND 7.30pm, Saturday 5 October Barbican Centre, London BRASS FOR AFRICA CHARITY CONCERT 7.30pm, Thursday 17 October Farlington School, Horsham
For more dates and information, please check our website and social media feeds.
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MINGUS BIG BAND 5.30pm & 9.30pm, Monday 21 – Saturday 26 October Ronnie Scott’s, London ONYX BRASS 1.10pm, Tuesday 5 November Barber Institute, Birmingham SNARKY PUPPY 7.30pm, Thursday 14 November Royal Albert Hall, London
YOUNG BLOOD BRASS BAND – UK TOUR DATES London, Village Underground – Tuesday 22 October Cardiff, Clwb Ifor Bach – Wednesday 23 October Bristol, The Fleece – Thursday 24 October Newcastle upon Tyne, Riverside – Saturday 26 October SEPTURA Swansea, Swansea University – Saturday 30 November Liverpool, Philharmonic Hall - Thursday 12 December Sussex, Champs Hill - Friday 13 December
MARK TEMPLETON, TROMBONE MASTERCLASS/ARTIST CONVERSATION 2.30pm, Thursday 14 November, FREE Guildhall School, London BRASS PLAY DAY 10am, Sunday 17 November Stapleford Granary, Cambridge BONSAI CLUB – UK TOUR DATES Colchester, Fleece Jazz – Friday 13 September Oswestry, Hermon Chapel Arts Centre – Sunday 15 September Manchester, The Whiskey Jar – Monday 16 September Liverpool, Parr Jazz – Tuesday 17 September Aberdeen, The Blue Lamp – Thursday 19 September Glasgow, The Blue Arrow – Friday 20 September Yorkshire, Scarborough Jazz Festival – Sunday 22 September Leeds, Seven Arts – Sunday 6 October Milton Keynes, The Stables – Tuesday 8 October London, Elgar Room, Royal Albert Hall – Thursday 31 October
LINK: ROB EGERTON JAZZ TRANSCRIPTIONS
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