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Complete Program Notes for

PROCLAMATION

The first solo recording featuring Bass Trombone with Brass Band

A Doyen Digital Recording, CD 055

Total time = 80:17

Return to PROCLAMATION Page | Order PROCLAMATION and/or "In Pursuit of a Dream" | Read Reviews of PROCLAMATION and "In Pursuit of a Dream" | Read an article about "In Pursuit of a Dream" author Roger Challoner Green

The bass trombone has long been neglected as a solo instrument, and nowhere is this more the case than with repertoire for bass trombone and brass band. While nearly every other brass instrument has a solo repertoire with brass band (including cornet, horn, tenor trombone, euphonium, and tuba), the bass trombone has been unfortunately overlooked.

It was the vision of bass trombonist Roger Challoner Green to produce a recording featuring a bass trombone soloist accompanied by a brass band. Our friendship of many years led me to be the soloist for the project and we were most fortunate to secure the services of the famous Black Dyke Mills Band to be the accompanying ensemble.

I would like to here list and publicly thank once again the members of the Black Dyke Mills Band who played so expertly on PROCLAMATION (rehearsals September 19 & 20, 1996 [Black Dyke Mills Bandroom, Queensbury, and Parish Church, Queensbury]; recording sessions September 21 & 22, 1996 [Peel Hall, University of Salford, Manchester]):

Conductor
Soprano Cornet
Principal Cornet
Solo Cornets


Repiano Cornet
Second Cornets

Third Cornets

Flugel Horn
Solo Horn
First Horn
Second Horn
James Watson
Kevin Crockford
Matthew Baker
David Hale
David Roberts
Paul Holford
Lee Rigg
Neil Heywood
Graham Williams
Adrian Flowers
Keith Britcliffe
Steve Drury
Les McCormack
Paul Holland
David Altham
First Baritone
Second Baritone
Solo Euphonium
Second Euphonium
First Trombone
Second Trombone
Bass Trombone
Eb Basses

BBb Basses

Percussion



Robert Blackburn
Robert Edwards
Robert Childs
John French
Simon Cowen
James Stockdale
Adrian Hirst
Philip Goodwin
Ken Ferguson
John Gillam
Matthew Routley
Mark Arnold
Michael Godber
Tim Power
Dave Hartland

One of the first discoveries when planning the recording was the realization that there was very little in the way of suitable repertoire for such a recording. It was then Dr. Green's decision to commission several composers to write new works for bass trombone and brass band for inclusion on the recording. As the recording was planned to be a true celebration of the multi-faceted world of the bass trombone, we decided to include four pieces without band that feature the bass trombone unaccompanied, in a duet with tenor trombone, with piano and with an ensemble of trombones.

Each work on the recording was chosen because it has special personal meaning to me. For further information about the music selection process as well as every conceivable aspect of the recording, read Dr. Green's fascinating 304 page book, In Pursuit of a Dream which can be ordered HERE. The program notes that follow will give the reader/listener more detail about each piece than could be fitted in the CD inlay card.


PROCLAMATION

Gordon Langford

Upon deciding to move ahead with this recording project, Roger drew up a short list of composers he would consider approaching to write a new piece for bass trombone and brass band. The name Gordon Langford was prominent on the list as he is a prolific and well respected composer of music for brass band. His music is highly accessible and because he has such a good understanding of the brass band idiom, his music has immediate interest and authority.

In my correspondence with Gordon regarding the piece, I gave him complete freedom to either write an original composition or undertake an arrangement of a well known tune. I did ask him, however, if he would consider two things: I very much wanted a piece that was NOT written in B flat major and I wondered if he would be interested in writing a piece with a soft ending.

I received some sketches from Gordon over the course of several months and it became clear that his new work, provisionally titled "Concert Piece," would be a great piece. After several months went by, I received the completed score with the final title, "Proclamation." The title of the piece seemed to say so much that I decided to name the album after Gordon's new piece.

It was a thrill to meet Gordon during the rehearsals for the recording at the Black Dyke Mills Band bandroom in Queensbury. He was able to help correct some copyist errors in the parts and just having him there as the piece came to life was a real treat for me. At the end of the score, as the bass trombone dies away on a low D flat, Gordon penned, "Pax vobiscum" which means "Peace be with you." It is a fitting sentiment at the end of a beautiful piece.

"Proclamation" has been published by Chandos Music, Chandos House, Commerce Way, Colchester, Essex, CO2 8HQ, England (Phone from the USA 011 44 1206 225200). The piece is scored for traditional brass band (it is also available with piano accompaniment or with wind band accompaniment) and there is no bass trombone part in the band score, in hopes that the bass trombonist of the band will be the soloist. It is also available in an arrangement for bass trombone with piano and bass trombone with wind (concert) band, also published by Chandos. To order Proclamation, contact Hickeys Music Center in the USA or your favorite music dealer.


RHAPSODY for Bass Trombone

Stephen Bulla

The brass band is an institution well known to most people in Great Britain and Europe, however in the United States it is virtually unknown. When people in the USA DO think of the brass band, they often think of The Salvation Army which has a long tradition of banding. Stephen Bulla has written and arranged many pieces for The Salvation Army and is perhaps best known to trombonists as the driving force behind the new and wildly successful "Spiritual to the Bone" recordings featuring a jazz trombone sextet with rhythm section.

Steve is, in addition to being a great trombonist and composer, is an arranger for the United States Marine Band in Washington D.C. ("The President's Own").

Written in 1981 for his friend Al Stickland of Santa Ana, California (a member of the Salvation Army Tustin Ranch Corps), "Rhapsody" represents beautifully a whole genre of music popularized by The Salvation Army. The basis of "Rhapsody" is the old gospel song, "In the Sweet Bye and Bye" which Steve presents and develops in many creative ways.

Here is the text for "In The Sweet Bye and Bye:"

IN THE SWEET BYE AND BYE
Music by Joseph P. Webster (1819-1875)
Lyrics by Sanford F. Bennett (1836-1898)

There's a land that is fairer than day
And by faith we can see it afar,
For the Father waits over the way
To prepare us a dwelling place there.

(chorus)
In the sweet bye and bye
We shall meet on that beautiful shore;
In the sweet bye and bye,
We shall meet on that beautiful shore

We shall sing on that beautiful shore
The melodious songs of the blest;
And our spirits shall sorrow no more -
Not a sigh for the blessing of rest. (repeat chorus)

To our bountiful Father above
We will offer our tribute of praise,
For the glorious gift of His love
And the blessings that hallow our days. (repeat chorus)

My friend, Jim Hepburn, who directs the Salvation Army Quincy (MA) Corps, has told me that this same tune is often sung with other lyrics which he recently shared with me:

I BELIEVE JESUS SAVES
Lyrics by Francis Bottome (1823-1894)

Let us sing of his love once again,
Of the love that can never decay,
Of the blood of the Lamb who was slain,
Till we praise him again in that day.

(Chorus)
I believe Jesus saves,
And his blood makes me whiter than snow.
I believe Jesus saves,
And his blood makes me whiter than snow.

There is cleansing and healing for all
Who will wash in the life-giving flood;
There is perfect deliverance and joy
To be had in this world through the blood. (repeat chorus)

Even now while we taste of his love,
We are filled with delight through his name;
But what will it be when above
We shall join in the song of the Lamb! (repeat chorus)

Then we'll march in his name, till we come
At his bidding to cease from the fight;
And our Saviour shall welcome us home
To the mansions of glory and light. (repeat chorus)

So with banners unfurled to the breeze,
Our motto will holiness be,
Till the crown from his hand we shall seize,
And the King in his glory we see. (repeat chorus)

Andrew Cherry, another Salvationist, has told me of these additional words which are sung to the same tune:

We're a band that shall conquer the foe,
if we fight in the strength of the King;
with the sword of the Spirit, we know,
we sinners to Jesus shall bring.

(Chorus)

I believe we shall win,
if we fight in the strength of the King.
I believe we shall win,
if we fight in the strength of the King.

We have conquored in times that are past,
and scattered the foe from the field;
so we'll fight for the King to the last,
and the sword of the spirit we'll wield. (repeat chorus)

C Our foe may be mighty and brave,
and the fighting be hard and severe;
but the King is the mighty to save,
and in conflict he always is near. (repeat chorus)

In the name of our King we will fight,
with our banners unfirled to the breeze;
we will battle for God and the right,
and the Kingdom of Satan we'll seize. (repeat chorus)

Ever true to the Army and God,
we will fight in the name of the King;
we shall win with the fire and blood,
and the world to His feet we shall bring. (repeat chorus)

"Rhapsody" has a very large range for the bass trombone soloist from pedal D to high c, so it represented one of the significant challenges of the recording. It is a delightful, accessible piece filled with "inside" quotes from famous pieces (I'll leave it to you to identify them). "Rhapsody" is scored for the traditional Salvation Army brass band without a band bass trombone part, again so the soloist can be drawn from the band. "Rhapsody" is not published, but inquires about the piece can be directed to Stephen Bulla , Post Office Box 4294, Crofton, Maryland 21114 USA.


TRIBUTE TO GEORGE ROBERTS
Stella By Starlight, Feelin' Low and In The Hall of the Mountain King

arranged by Bill Geldard

George Roberts' nickname is "Mr. Bass Trombone" and so he is. George is perhaps the most famous bass trombonist who has ever lived, and he can take credit for shooting the bass trombone into orbit as a viable solo instrument. He made the first solo recordings with a bass trombone in the 1950's with such great arrangers as Nelson Riddle ("The Joy of Living"), Frank DeVol ("Meet Mr. Roberts") and John Williams ("Bottoms Up"). A member of the Stan Kenton band, he recorded the first solo on bass trombone with big band and has been heard on thousands of recordings, movie scores, commercials and television shows.

I had the pleasure of meeting George Roberts at the 1982 International Trombone Workshop in Nashville, Tennessee, and I was impressed that everything I had heard about him - that he was warm and gregarious, gentle and encouraging - and he still had a great sound - was more than true. I consider him to be one of my most significant role models, mentors and friends.

Roger Green has long admired George's playing, and we decided to include a tribute to George on the album. Roger chose three pieces that are so classic "George" and asked Bill Geldard, who's exploits as an arranger and performer (with the Ted Heath Big Band, among others) are well known. Roger gave Bill a tape of the three tunes we wanted arranged and he created a fabulous tribute to George.

The three selections are:

Stella By Starlight. Stella was the first solo George recorded with the Kenton Band. His solo in the original was somewhat less involved than in Bill's arrangement, but it was groundbreaking nonetheless - George's gorgeous tone in contrast to the driving Kenton Band sound. Bill Geldard really captured the excitement of those "Artistry in Rhythm" days, and when I first rehearsed the arrangement played by Black Dyke, I closed my eyes and actually could hear the Stan Kenton Band.

Feelin' Low. This piece was recorded by George on his "Meet Mr. Roberts" album and was composed by George and Joe Howard. Until the very end, the tune has a range of less than an octave and is a terrific showcase for the valve register of the bass trombone (it begins on a low C). Bill did a great job taking this very transparent piece (the original was scored for rhythm section and vibes only) and scoring it for brass band. The cadenza at the end is my own improvisation, in which I open up the range of the piece down to a pedal G.

In The Hall of the Mountain King. Bill Geldard really outdid himself in this arrangement of the classic tune by Edvard Grieg. George recorded this on his "Meet Mr. Roberts" album and it's easily the highlight of the album. Bill captured all the excitement of the original arrangement and added an inspired idea - a take-off on the Gene Krupa/Benny Goodman "trading fours" duet in "Sing, Sing, Sing" from Goodman's historic Carnegie Hall concert. When we were recording this arrangement, I couldn't help that it was a little like "Ted Heath meets the Vikings" - what an incredible sound the band made.

The Tribute to George Roberts has been published by Warwick Music, Holloway House, Market Place, Warwick CV34 4SJ, England. Phone 01926 497887, Fax 01926 419701.


VARIATIONS on Palestrina's "Dona Nobis Pacem"

David Fetter

In planning this album, I wanted to included a work that presented the bass trombone at its most basic - unaccompanied. While there are many fine works for unaccompanied bass trombone, my favorite is one written by my friend and colleague, David Fetter.

David Fetter is well known as a composer and arranger of music for trombone and trombone ensemble. Currently, he is a trombone faculty member and Associate Dean for Performance Activities and Placement at the Peabody Conservatory of Music in Baltimore, Maryland. His career as a trombonist included two years in the Cleveland Orchestra under George Szell and sixteen years, ten of them as Principal, in the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra. He was also a member of the San Antonio Symphony, the U.S. Army Band, and the Radio/Telefis Eireann Symphony Orchestra in Dublin, Ireland. He received his Bachelor of Music degree from Eastman School of Music (where he studied with Emory Remington) and his Master's in musicology from the American University.

I first heard of David's "Variations on Palestrina's 'Dona Nobis Pacem'" when I was a member of the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra and David was my section leader. Originally composed for tenor trombone and premiered by David during the mid-1970's at an Eastern Trombone Workshop at Towson State University, he later, on my suggestion, transposed the work for bass trombone (the original version is in G major; the bass trombone version is in E flat major). I gave the first performance of the bass trombone version at a faculty recital at the Peabody Conservatory of Music in the early 1980's.

David writes about the piece: "The variations are thoroughly tonal and traditional in form. When a copy was sent to Thomas Everett, bass trombonist and director of the Harvard University Band, he said, 'At last, a melody.' The Palestrina theme was traditionally sung as a round at a noontime gathering of faculty, staff and students at the Eastman School of Music just before everyone departed for the Christmas holidays."

The text is a simple one: "Lord, give us peace." The "Variations" are available directly from David Fetter through the David Fetter Website.

This is one of two pieces on the CD that were recorded in Symphony Hall in Boston, the home of the Boston Symphony. It was a thrill to stand alone on stage in the empty hall, with only my bass trombone, and play this beautiful music into the resonant space that is recognized the world over as one of the finest concert halls ever built.


SKYLINES
Manhattan, Chicago and Boston

David Uber, transcribed by John Harpin

David Uber is well known to trombonists as the composer of dozens of works for alto, tenor and bass trombones with a catalog of over 200 opus numbers. He is one of the most prolific composers currently writing for the trombone. I first met him in 1978 when I was playing a concert at New York's Lincoln Center in the Mostly Mozart Festival Orchestra. David was playing principal trombone and I was playing bass. After that single meeting we had no further personal contact although I enjoyed working out of many of his etude books and kept in touch with him periodically via mail.

It came, then, as a complete surprise when, in 1991, David called me and said he was writing a piece for me for Bass Trombone and brass ensemble. It was to be, he said, a musical representation of three cities that figured prominently in my professional development: Manhattan (New York City), where I moved after completing my undergraduate degree and began my free lance career; Chicago, the city where I studied with Edward Kleinhammer while a student a Wheaton College; and Boston, where I play today. David asked me if I would accept the dedication of the piece and if I would perform it with his Trenton State College brass ensemble at the New York Brass Conference. Through a remarkable series of events, it turned out that the Conference was being held during a week that the Boston Symphony was on tour in New York (January 1992), so the premiere was a happy event.

I like the piece so much because David so accurately captures the flavor of each city in his music. I very much wanted to put the piece on my CD, however David's orchestration was for an orchestral brass ensemble of trumpets, horns, trombones, baritone, tuba and percussion. Fortunately, Roger Green's friend, John Harpin, volunteered to transcribe the work for British brass band and with David Uber's permission, did so. The result is an arrangement every bit as exciting as the original.

The original version as well as the brass band version I recorded are published by Hidalgo Music, 88 Tanner Hill Road, New Preston, CT 06777 USA.


SHARE MY YOKE

Joy Webb, arr. Ivor Bosanko

Readers of Roger Green's book "In Pursuit of a Dream" will know the full story of how I first met the Black Dyke Mills Band during their Carnegie Hall Concert in 1994. I got to hear the band in rehearsal at the Salvation Army Headquarters in New York when Philip Smith, principal trumpet of the New York Philharmonic, was rehearsing several solos with them.

Among the works Phil played was a beautiful Salvation Army song called "Share My Yoke." I was so taken with the expressive beauty of the band and of Phil's playing that I immediately decided that I must, some day, perform the piece. I asked Phil if there was a text to the song and he confirmed there was, and a few months later he faxed the lyrics to me. Having gone through many difficult times in my life, I found the words of Jesus' love and care to be extremely comforting, and, combined with the expressive beauty of the music in Ivor Bosanko's stunning arrangement, it was the first piece I recorded in Peel Hall during the recording sessions with Black Dyke.

"Share My Yoke" was first published in an arrangement for 4 part mixed choir with piano. It appared in the "Musical Salvationist," July 1987, pages 46-48. The version of "Share My Yoke" which I recorded (arranged by Ivor Bosanko) appeared as a solo for cornet and brass band, part of the Salvation Army's "General Series, " #1831, #1. Both version are available through any Salvation Army retail outlet.

The Words to "Share My Yoke" follow:

SHARE MY YOKE
Music and lyrics by Joy Webb
Arranged for brass band by Ivor Bosanko

When I'm tired and nothing's going right for me;
When things I've counted on just do not come my way;
When in my mind the thick grey folds of doubt arise,
It's then I seem to hear him say:

(chorus)
Share my yoke and find that I am joined with you.
Your slightest movement I shall feel and be there too!
Share my yoke and come the way that I must go!
In our "togetherness" my peace you'll know;
The world beholding us will see it so!

When I'm perplexed and no one's understanding me;
When even safest thoughts collapse in disarray;
When I've lost the things that always seemed so sure,
It's then I need to hear him say: (repeat chorus)

When I'm alone and nothing's getting through to me;
And isolation that increases day by day;
When closest friends can seem a thousand miles away,
It's then I long to hear him say: (repeat chorus)

1987 by Salvationist Publishing & Supplies, Ltd.


CONVERSATION

Charles Small

Students who have walked through my studio know that I begin each lesson by playing a few duets. This is something that my teacher, Edward Kleinhammer, did with me and it is a pedagogical tool that I find very useful in my own teaching. It should then come as no surprise that I have an extensive collection of duets for trombones and have enjoyed playing many duets on recitals.

When planning this album, my colleague in the Boston Symphony Orchestra, trombonist Ronald Barron was also planning two new solo recordings. Ron asked me if I would be interested in recording Charles Small's "Conversation" for his album and I readily agreed, having performed it on five separate occasions over the years with many different players. However, I had been thinking about including a duet with tenor trombone on my album, so Ron and I agreed that we would release our recording of "Conversation" on both of our albums in a simultaneous release. Ron's album, entitled "In The Family," is a collection of duets for tenor trombone and various instruments and also includes my arrangement of "Eight Preludes" op. 34 of Dmitri Shostakovich for tenor and bass trombone. Ron's album is available from Boston Brass Series, 18 Turner Terrace, Newtonville, MA 02160, CD # BB1004.

With his permission, here follows the note about "Conversation" that Ron prepared for his recording:

"Charles Small's career as a trombonist has spanned over fifty years. He began playing trombone at the age of eleven and while still in high school, worked summers at hotels in the Catskill and Pocono mountain resorts of the East. At seventeen, he became the youngest member of the Tommy Dorsey Orchestra, later joining the Harry James Orchestra as lead trombone and after that, settling in New York City where he played in the ABC Staff Radio Orchestra, and for hundreds of "studio" commercial sessions and Broadway shows. While in New York, Small studied composition with Hall Overton at the Julliard School of Music, later earning his Bachelor and Master's degrees at the Manhattan School of Music. He moved to Los Angeles in the 1970's, then, back to New York for more work on Broadway before, in 1987, moving to Arizona where he now resides. "Conversation" was written for Mr. Small and bass trombonist David Taylor, and has become the most widely performed duet for tenor and bass trombon since its premier at the New York Brass conference in 1976. Small conceived the piece as a conversation between two neighbors in their backyards over a picket fence - alternating between the amiable and friendly to violent and hostile, the changing styles integrated with intertwining threads. Mr. Small has just composed a new work titled "The Significant Other" for this same instrumentation."

"Conversation" is published by Kagarice Brass Editions, Box 5302, Denton, TX 76203 USA. It was recorded in the Morse Auditorium at Boston University during a recording session that also included Ron's and my performance of the Shostakovich "Eight Preludes" mentioned above.


RAINY DAY IN RIO

Goff Richards

The name Goff Richards is well known in brass band circles, as he has written dozens of original compositions and arrangements for that ensemble. When Roger Green and I approached him, we gave him the option of writing an original work or an arrangement of a well known tune, although our preference was for an original composition.

After several month went by, Goff faxed me a sketch of the solo part for his new solo for bass trombone called "Rainy Day in Rio." At first I was taken aback by the the piece, for I had not expected a work in a lighter genre - however after playing through the first 16 bars he sent me, I knew the piece was going to be great. And so it was. The gentle, South American samba feel brought the Black Dyke percussion players through their paces, and the piece was greeted very enthusiastically by the members of the band. Having Goff at the recording session proved to be invaluable - not only was he very pleased with the performance, but he made some changes in orchestration and muting for the cornets which enhanced the effectiveness of the piece. Many people have commented that "Rainy Day In Rio" is among their favorite pieces on the album - and I couldn't be more pleased with the piece. Its excitement and drive is remarkable, and the underlying laid back character brings to mind my own memories of time spent in South America.

As is the case with Gordon Langford's "Proclamation" and Stephen Bulla's "Rhapsody," the bass trombone part in the band is that of the soloist. "Rainy Day In Rio has been published by Studio Music in England. of Bernel Music (Cullowhee, North Carolina, USA).


BLUE TOPAZ
Concerto for Bass Trombone

Tommy Pederson

The name Tommy Pederson means great trombone music. I first was introduced to this pillar of the trombone community when I was in college, and performed a number of his arrangements from his trombone ensemble album, "All My Friends Are Trombone Players." Tommy has written hundreds of arrangements and original compositions not only for that album, but for the "Hollywood Trombones" Christmas album and countless others. His arrangements for the trombone ensemble known as "Hoyt's Garage" (named for Hoyt Bohanan's garage) are many and those fortunate enough to have participated in those frequent sessions at Hoyt's house (or, in my case, to have a tape of some of their sessions) know what a genius Tommy Pederson is, both as an arranger and as a trombonist. In addition, he is a true gentleman, and our frequent telephone conversations are always a high point of my day.

"Blue Topaz" is one of Tommy's real gems, and with a soloist in mind like George Roberts, Tommy has given us a wonderful little piece for bass trombone solo accompanied by an ensemble of six trombonists. I played the piece several years ago with Tom Everett conducting the New England Trombone Choir and subsequently I conducted a performance with David Taylor as soloist with the same ensemble.

I wanted to pay tribute on my album to Tommy who has been such an inspiration to so many trombonists over the years, and "Blue Topaz" was the obvious choice to include.

Putting "Topaz" on the CD also allowed me to feature the Black Dyke Mills Band trombone section of Simon Cowen, James Stockdale and Adrian Hirst (bass). I left the recruitment of two other players to Simon who arranged for Black Dyke E flat tuba player Ken Ferguson (who doubles on trombone) and Simon Fitton, a Manchester area free lance player, to join us. The choice of player for the fifth part was easy - I asked Roger Green if he would do the honors, so Roger has the distinction of playing on the very album on which he serves as executive producer. James Watson was the conductor for "Blue Topaz."

Sadly, Tommy Pederson died on January 16, 1998. He will be missed by his many friends and those who have learned so much from his wonderful playing and compositional gift. I'm pleased he knew about and enjoyed my recording of "Blue Topaz" before he passed to the "other side."

Blue Topaz, along with many of Tommy's other compositions, has been published by Mike Suter.


TRIPTYCH
March, Barcarole and Tarantella

Lawrence Wolfe

When planning for this album first began, I was sure about only one thing - that I would ask my colleague in the Boston Symphony Orchestra, Lawrence Wolfe, to write a piece for me. The story of how this came about is really quite interesting.

Larry Wolfe joined the Boston Symphony Orchestra's bass section in 1970 and was named Assistant Principal and Principal Bass of the Boston Pops Orchestra during the 1980-81 season. A prolific composer, he has written a great deal of music that I have played, from a Trumpet Concerto, (written for Timothy Morrison and premiered by The Boston Pops Orchestra conducted by John Williams) to fanfares, Broadway shows, a cantata and other popular music. To say I like his music, which is both accessible and powerful, is a profound understatement!

When I asked Larry if he would write a piece for me, he responded with an immediate "YES!" As the months went on and Larry was thinking about the piece for bass trombone and brass band, I received an opportunity to perform a concerto with the University of Washington Wind Ensemble (Seattle, WA) under the direction of my good friend and Wheaton College classmate, Timothy Salzman. I chose to perform the "Concerto for Bass Trombone" by Vaclav Nelhybel whish was written for me in 1991, but I was asked to program another piece as well. I asked Larry if he would be willing to turn his brass band piece into a work for concert band, at least temporarily. He responded, as is typical of him, positively and in a few weeks he presented me with the solo part to what is known as "Wildfire for Bass Trombone and Wind Ensemble."

Larry's intention was to add another two movements to Wildfire, so there is a little theme in the middle of the piece which foreshadows the planned second movement. However, upon thinking about it, Larry decided that "Wildfire" stood well on its own and that he was already thinking about new ideas for the brass band concerto, so he set about to write a completely new piece for my CD project.

The three movements that eventually became "Triptych" were completed in the summer of 1996. I was thrilled when Larry gave me the music because the piece seemed so exciting and vibrant, and it presented huge technical challenges. You can imagine my surprise and delight when I realized the second movement, "Barcarole" had as its theme the little passage from the middle of "Wildfire" I mentioned above!

In all, it was the most challenging piece for both me and the band. The band took to "Triptych" immediately and seemed to revel in the challenges. They were even more surprised to learn it was Larry's first piece for brass band, an ensemble many composers have been reluctant to score for because they don't feel up to the challenge! The whole work is a tribute to Larry's remarkable compositional skill and it gives me such great pleasure to make the first recording of any of his music.

Click here to commission an original composition by Lawrence Wolfe or to listen to his music on the web.

Triptych has been published by Warwick Music, Holloway House, Market Place, Warwick CV34 4SJ, England. Phone 01926 497887, Fax 01926 419701.


AMAZING GRACE

arr. James Curnow

For many years, my wife and I have performed music in churches around the world. Most often we give programs of hymns and gospel music and during the program I will speak about my Christian faith and how it relates to my life as a professional musician.

No matter where we are, we always include Jim Curnow's beautiful arrangement of "Amazing Grace." Jim is well respected composer and arranger who has written dozens of work for concert band as well as brass band. He is the editor of the Salvation Army's "American Brass Band Series" and we worked together at the 1992 Conference of the Christian Instrumentalists and Director's Association when he was the conductor of the Christian College Honors Band and I was guest soloist.

This beautiful arrangement is available directly from BEcky Shaw at Curnow Music Press, 100 John Sutherland Drive, Suite 7, Nicholasville, KY 40356 Phone: (800)728-7669, Fax: (859)881-5171. For further information, or to order this arrangement, email Becky Shaw, Office Manager, Curnow Music Press.

"Amazing Grace" is one of the most beloved hymns of the Christian faith and its message has been of comfort to all who know the Truth of its message. As such, it makes a fitting close to this recording. It combines a poem of Truth with beautiful music in a beautiful arrangement, and was recorded in Symphony Hall in Boston with my wife at the keyboard. To top it off, it ends on a pianissimo pedal B flat. Here is the text to "Amazing Grace:"

AMAZING GRACE
Music from Carrell & Clayton's Virginia Harmony (1831)
Lyrics by John Newton (1725-1807)

Amazing grace, how sweet the sound
That saved a wretch like me!
I once was lost but now am found,
Was blind but now I see.

'Twas grace that taught my heart to fear,
And grace my fears relieved;
How precious did that grace appear
The hour I first believed.

Thru many dangers, toils and snares
I have already come
'Tis grace hath brought me safe thus far,
And grace will lead me home.

When we've been there ten thousand years,
Bright shining as the sun,
We've no less days to sing God's praise
Than when we'd first begun.

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