Historically, the trombone repertoire has been spotty, yet it was considerably expanded in the twentieth century; this is reflected on this 2005 CD by the New Trombone Collective, which is heavily weighted toward modern and contemporary pieces rather than toward older music. In a mixed program of works either for a choir of trombones or in combination with other instruments, this adventurous Dutch ensemble gives a fair demonstration of the instrument's possibilities, both as a vehicle for expressive, single-line melodies and, in group arrangements, as a medium for rich harmonies and colors. Because brass typically sound best in tonal music, most of these pieces are triadically based, though occasionally with some added notes or other mildly dissonant modifications; so the works are mostly conservative in direction and popular in intention, with only Hans Hasebos' experimentally jazzy Glue for tenor and bass trombones and percussion ensemble to tweak the listener's expectations. The NTC is an assembly of nine skillful players with a marvelously blended tone, and their musicality above all makes this album rewarding; even though some pieces are sentimental treacle, such as David Popper's Requiem and Georgy Sviridov's Romance, or awkward and angular, like Interlude Lontano by Koen Kaptijn, the ensemble manages to make most of the pieces sound pleasant and mellifluous. Etcetera's reproduction is excellent, so the trombones are captured with the right amount of resonance and body.
AllMusic Review by Blair Sanderson
|Serenade No. 6 for trombone, viola and cello|