Rouse: Trombone Concerto; Gorgon; Iscariot

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LABELS: RCA Victor Red Seal
WORKS: Trombone Concerto; Gorgon; Iscariot
PERFORMER: Joseph Alessi (trombone)Colorado SO/Marin Alsop
CATALOGUE NO: 09026 68410 2
Thirty minutes is long for a trombone concerto. Many composers would have exhausted the stimulation the instrument provides in much less time, fearful of having the soloist on his knees with fatigue. Neither of these concerns has restricted Christopher Rouse in his Pulitzer Prize-winning work. From the soloist’s first slow entry, in the lowest register, you know that nothing is going to be rushed. This music will need space. When it finally settles back in the same sombre depths after its three linked movements, the formal achievement is satisfactorily apparent. In between, the music ranges from flowing cantilenas to anarchic musical brawling: at the climax of the scherzo, the soloist has to see off the orchestral trombones trying to get in on the act. Jo Alessi (a principal in the New York PO) tackles the virtuoso solo part marvellously. His sonority and projection in all registers, crystal clear articulation and eloquent phrasing deserve a bigger audience than simply brass enthusiasts. Gorgon is, as you would expect, loud and violent; Iscariot is introverted and unsure. Christopher Mowat