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Top - Concerto for Bass Trombone and Orchestra

from A Quinary by Vancouver Island Symphony

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Concerto for Bass Trombone and Orchestra – Edward Top
Scott MacInnes, bass trombone

The bass trombone isn’t particularly what comes to mind when talking about a solo concerto. How does one find a balance between soloist and orchestra for one of the loudest instruments? How do you compose soaring melodies over a gentle orchestral accompaniment for a seemingly untamed beast? Actually, after many attempts in vain over a period of six months, I came to realize how the rough edges of the bass trombone (as much as its endlessly polished beauty, as soloist Scott MacInnes had showed on several of our meetings), were perhaps exactly the right angle for this Concerto.
A common theme in my work is man vs. nature, or in this particular case: soloist vs. orchestra. In this Concerto for Bass Trombone and Orchestra the theme is open to interpretation. Could it be the Romantic heroicism of the individual fighting the forces of a sublime and untamed wilderness? Or, on the other hand, could it mean how we live in peace and harmony with the dramatic landscape of the high mountains, the deep valleys and the clear lakes right outside of the comfort of our urban lives? Perhaps nature is rather the vast introspective still life of our innermost being. Man vs. his own nature: making his way through the wilderness of his expectation, memory and paranoia. The bass trombone shows its individuality in virtuosic, cadenza-like melodies that are absorbed in an aura of static or arpeggiated harmonies in the vast orchestral landscape. A slow chorale plays an important role throughout the Concerto, and is first presented in the woodwind at the opening of the work.

Born in The Netherlands, EDWARD TOP studied composition with Peter-Jan Wagemans at the Rotterdam Conservatory where he also majored in violin. He continued studies in musicology at King’s College London. Top served as Composer-in-Residence with the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra from 2011–2014, for which he also wrote a work for the 100th anniversary opening concert with new Music Director Otto Tausk in 2018. In early 2017 the Toronto Symphony and Peter Oundjian performed the Sesquicentennial Commission Eruption on tour in Toronto, Montreal and Ottawa, side by side with the Toronto Symphony Youth Orchestra. Since 2014 Mr. Top has been Head of Composition at the Vancouver Academy of Music. Recently, Edward has won the Val Tidone “Egidio Carella” and the “2 Agosto” Bologna competitions, both in Italy. Edward is an Associate Composer of the Canadian Music Centre. His works are published at Donemus in The Netherlands. www.edwardtop.com

SCOTT MACINNES received his M.Mus. from the University of Victoria (2011) and his B.Mus. at the University of Toronto (2005). Scott moved to Victoria after winning a one-year bass trombone position with the Victoria Symphony for the 2005–6 season. The following year Scott secured the position of Principal Bass Trombone with the Vancouver Island Symphony. Scott is an extremely active chamber musician both as a member of the Pinnacle Brass Quintet and iTromboni. Demonstrating his great versatility Scott can also been seen playing jazz, pop and rock around Victoria, as well as in most of the musical theater pits. As an instructor Scott holds positions at both the University of Victoria and the Victoria Conservatory where he teaches chamber music, a pep band and private instruction. www.mactrombone.com


from A Quinary, released March 14, 2020


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