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Royal Air Force Music Services Trombone Ensemble

Conductor: Byron Fulcher
Regent Hall
Friday 5th January

There may not have been 76 of them, but the massed trombones from the RAF Music Services, directed by Byron Fulcher produced a great sound in a varied programme of music - with not a single march to be heard.

Kazik's 'Mini Overture' provided a lively opener - with ten players ranging from alto down to bass and a smooth central solo over an arpeggio accompaniment.

Spatial possibilities

They continued with Gabrieli's 'Canzona Septimi e Octavi Toni a 12', with three groups of four widely spread, making good use of the spatial possibilities of the hall in music originally written for us at St Marks in Venice. The stately music featured some impressive roulades from the top players in each group.

More Gabrieli followed with 'Sonata pian'e forte' - the first piece to include well observed dynamic levels. With one group at either side of the gallery the contrasts were very effective, with sustained sounds echoing around.

'Blue Bells of Scotland' is a staple of the trombonist's repertoire, but here it was presented in a somewhat unusual format; with no less than five players sharing the solo line and with one of the bass trombones trying to muscle in on the act. It was great fun which went down well with the audience.

'Blue Bells of Scotland' is a staple of the trombonist's repertoire, but here it was presented in a somewhat unusual format; with no less than five players sharing the solo line and with one of the bass trombones trying to muscle in on the act. It was great fun which went down well with the audience.

Rich symphonic sound

Anton Bruckner's music is notable for his use of the trombone, and Enrique Crespo captured the essence of his style in 'Bruckner Etude'. The rich, symphonic sound and the broad phrases made this one of the highlights of the programme.

'Riff'em and Blues' was in a much lighter style, opening with a 'Hello' from a couple of instruments with plunger mutes, with the rest gradually joining in, building up the excitement with two-bar riffs. Several soloists were featured before the music ended much as it had begun.

Derek and the Dominos

The 'Finale from the Organ Symphony' by Saint-Saens was most impressive - with an arrangement that seemed to incorporate most of the key elements of the original. The articulation in the fugue was particularly clean and the solo lines knitted together neatly.

It was followed by something very different and 'Layla' - the great Derek and the Dominos rock hit, which saw the group expanded to the full fifteen players, including Principal Director Squadron Leader Piers Morrell, together with a drum kit.

It made for an exciting finale which exemplified the versatility of a very accomplished group of players.

Peter Bale



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Howard J Evans

MA (Dist), Mus.B (hons), ARCM (hons), LRAM, LTCL, PGCE
Conductor, composer, arranger, tutor and pianist