This CD is a presentation of new music from composers from within the brass band movement. Their brief was to write something that was inspired by myths and legends. The links have been composed by Chris Bond.
Brett Baker is probably the best known, and admired trombone player within the brass band movement. He has researched music repertoire for the instrument and produced in the region of 30 recordings, many of them innovative in their content and stylistic variety. This is no exception to that. As a performer he seems to have the ability to authentically perform in all musical genders. All the tracks on this CD are World Premiere recordings.
The Fire & the Phoenix by Christopher Bond opens with bold and powerful full band chords before moving into a mystical reflective mood as it portrays the this great bird rising from the ashes. Andrew Mackereth’s rhapsody for trombone, Divine Odyssey, is stylistically linked to Steadman-Allan’s ‘Eternal Quest’. Musically it consists of a series of musical episodes and is good to listen to.
From a Kingdom of Clouds is a short piece for trombone and marimba by Andrea Price, who performs the marimba part. It is inspired by the story of Pegasus souring through the clouds. The combination provides some interesting sounds. Composer Simon Oliver describes his work The Collapse of the Silver Bridge as being representative of what happens during the legend of the Mothman. Inspiration for Richard Huw Cole’s Myfrydodau is of the Welsh legend of Prince Madoc discovering America in 1170.
At the Royal Parks is the 2nd movement from Jonathan Bates’ composition In Old London Town and portrays a tranquil afternoon in a London park. A short piece, The Legend of Sleepy Hollow characterises the plight of a superstitious schoolmaster who ventures to the village of Sleepy Hollow.
Commissioned in 2015, Cloud Rider by Dan Price takes inspiration from Norse Mythology and the legend of the Valkyries. Fandango for Trumpet and Trombone by Joseph Turrin is an exploration of the rhythmic and melodic elements of this Spanish dance form.
The above comments have only briefly touched on the mythical and legendary aspects of the music but the informative programme notes in the booklet that accompanies the CD go into much more depth and should be read so as to get an insight into the music.
I enjoyed reviewing this disc, but it must be said that its content will not be to everyone’s taste. Whilst there is some entertaining music, it is not all easy listening and in some instances a concentrated listening is required. It goes without saying that performance levels from all those taking part is of the highest standard. This CD should be in the collection of every serious student of the trombone.