DENSON PAUL POLLARD
Denson Paul Pollard began as bass/tenor trombonist with the MET Opera Orchestra of New York in August, 2007. Pollard was bass trombonist with the Hong Kong Philharmonic Orchestra from 2001-2007. He has been the bass trombonist of the Cedar Rapids Symphony, the Illinois Symphony Orchestra and the Des Moines Metro Opera Orchestra. Pollard played two years as bass trombonist of the Chicago Civic Orchestra, training orchestra for the Chicago Symphony, where he studied with Charles G. Vernon.
In May 2000, he was awarded the Doctorate of Musical Arts degree in performance and pedagogue from the University of Iowa, were he studied with David Gier and George Krem. During the 2000 year, Pollard was professor of trombone at the University of Northern Iowa. Pollard has also taught at the Hong Kong Academy for the Performing Arts, Hong Baptist University and Hong Kong Chinese University.
As a commercial musician, Pollard has played with numerous shows, including tours with the revival of Showboat, the off-broadway touring production of Annie, an 18-month tour with Andrew Lloyd Weber's Music of the Night and the 2000 Barry Manilow Concert Tour.
Pollard is an active soloist and has performed numerous solo recitals all over the world. Pollard was recently featured as guest soloist at the 2008 Eastern Trombone Worshop in Washington, D.C. He was a prize-winner and the only brass player finalist at the 1997 St. Louis Symphony Young Artists Solo Competition. He performed Ellen Taafe Zwillich's "Concerto for Bass Trombone, Strings, Timpani and Cymbals" with the University of Iowa Chamber Orchestra in Fall, 1997. Pollard played "Concerto for Bass Trombone" by Frank Seikman with the Houston Symphony Orchestra in July 2000, after becoming the first bass trombone player to ever be invited to compete in the Ima Hogg-Houston Symphony Orchestra Concerto Competition. During the summer of 2001, he appeared as guest soloist with the West Point Military Academy Band at the Alessi Seminar in Nyack, New York.
ALBUM LINER NOTES-The title of this CD is significant for me because it has meaning on several levels. Most obviously, Up From Below refers to the tessitura of bass trombone music. Although the bass trombone is traditionally a low range instrument, many modern virtuosos can play in five octaves and often the bass trombone player is expected to play as high as the tenor trombone but as low as the tuba. The modern bass trombone player is no longer just the low player of the section. Up From Below is also a statement that the bass trombone is becoming an accepted vehicle for solo music. Because of the continued artistry of numerous virtuoso players around the world, the instrument is clearly no longer just an ensemble instrument. A substantial repertoire of solo music is developing for the instrument and the definition of a "gentleman" is no longer "someone who knows how to play bass trombone..but doesn't." On the most profound level, Up From Below is my rule of thumb for life. I constantly try to look up from below at my creator for wisdom, understanding, guidance and forgiveness. I thank God almighty for the gift of being a musician and give Jesus Christ all honor and glory.
1. Allegro Maestoso 4:13 Jan Koetsier (b. 1911)
published Marc Reift Editions
Jan Koetsier was born in Amsterdam but has spent most of his artistic life in Germany. He studied at the Berlin College of Music and worked as conductor of the Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra and professor of music in Munich. He currently lives and composes in Bavaria.
Allegro Maestoso is a powerful opening piece for a recital. Koetsier's writing is idiomatic and the piece is extremely satisfying to both play and listen. It is a rondeau that switches back and forth between the strong opening theme, a singing, lyrical section and a challenging technical section. The piece fully exploits the strengths of the bass trombone.
2. Allegro Moderato, Arpeggione Sonata 8:34 Franz Schubert (1787-1828)
arr. by Denson Paul Pollard
Franz Schubert's Arpeggione Sonata is probably the most famous piece written for the short lived instrument "guitar-violincello." Like the baryton and viola pomposa, the guitar-violino, all built in Vienna by Johann Georg Staufer, did not quite catch on. The instrument had six strings and was fretted and tuned like a guitar but held between the knees and played with a bow. Schubert composed the piece in November, 1824 for a virtuoso named Vinzenz Schuster. The piece did not appear in print during Schubert's lifetime. It was originally pubulished in 1871 when J.P. Gotthard in Vienna issued the work with a brief description of the instrument, which by then had almost been forgotten and was most certainly never played. Today, the sonata is played mostly by viola, cello and bass violin.
Although the original key for the Arpeggione Sonata is A minor, this version for bass trombone is in G minor. The Allegro Moderato movement, represented here, is a masterly sonata form, although for this recording the written repeat is not taken. It is a serious transcription that is a great vehicle for displaying bass trombone virtuosity!
Sonata for Bass Trombone and Piano David Gillingham (b.1947)
3. Allegro 3:42 4. Lento Mystrerioso 5:00 5. Alla fugue 2:56
David Gillingham studied at University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh and Michigan State University. He studied composition with Roger Dennis, Jere Hutcheson, James Niblock and H. Owen Reed. He has over 30 published compositions that have performed all over the world. Dr. Gillingham is currently a Professor of Music Composition/Theory at Central Michigan University.
The Sonata for Bass Trombone and Piano was written for Curtis Olsen, former Professor of Trombone at Michigan State University. "The musical language of the sonata results as a collaboration between the bass trombone and the piano. Cast in 3 movements, the first movement is organized in sonata-allegro form. The two themes contrast one another, with the first being very dramatic with wide leaps over an incessant pattern of sixteenth octaves in the piano and the second being more lyrical and diatonic, using the octatonic scale as a resource for melody and harmony. The second movement is a set of four variations set to a dark and mysterious theme crafted out of chromatic mediant relationships. The third movement is marked "alla fugue" and alternates between a syncopated theme treated fugally and a dramatic and lyrical second theme in a homophonic texture.
Introduction, Romance et Allegro Pierre Lantier (1910-1998)
6. Introduction 1:16 7. Romance 2:22 8. Allegro 3:36
Pierre Lantier was born in Marseille, France. He studied composition with Henri Busser, André Bloch, Georges Caussade and Phillippe Gaubert. Although Lantier is not listed among the most influential French composers of the 20th century, he won the Priz de Rome in 1937 and was highly respected by his peers. He taught theory and composition at the Superior National Conservatoire of Music in Paris.
Introduction, Romance et Allegro is one of numerous pieces written for French bass trombonist Paul Bernard. Although quite satisfying, the three movement work is rarely played. The opening movement is beautiful and has an ethereal quality that reminds one of an impressionistic painting. The second movement opens with a playful theme before turning to a more serious mood. The last movement is very rhythmic and concludes with an open cadenza. Extended harmonies in the piano and chromaticism in the solo part are both prevalent throughout the three movements.
9. Concert Allegro 5:51 Alexey Konstantinovich Lebedev (1924-1993)
published by Hoffmeister
Alexey Konstantinovich Lebedev was an outstanding Russian tuba player, pedagogue, and Professor of the Moscow Tchaikovsky Conservatory. He was born in the town of Dankov in the Lipetsk region of Russia. After finishing school at an infantry military college he was wounded in battle in 1943. After hospitalization he continued his service in a military band in Moscow. While in Moscow he began to study the tuba and music theory at the Ippolitov-Ivanov Musical College. Starting in 1945 he studied tuba at the Moscow State Conservatory and from 1950 to 1953 he also studied composition at the Conservatory. From 1953 until his death in 1993 he taught tuba and brass chamber music in the Conservatory's department of Wind Instruments. From 1950 to 1966 he was also employed as a solo tubist with the State Academic Bolshoi Theater. When Lebedev was beginning his career, there were very few original compositions for tuba, so his talent as a composer combined well with his activity as a pedagogue. He expanded the tuba repertoire by creating original etudes and exercises for tuba and piano, and transcribing and arranging works by old and contemporary composers. His Concerto No. 1 (1947) and Concert Allegro (1949), both for tuba/ bass trombone and piano, were both composed while Lebedev was still a student. He composed Concerto No. 2 in 1986. In 1998 he was posthumously awarded the the Lifetime Achievement Award by TUBA.
The one movement Concert Allegro has been called "budget Rachmoninov" and is unmistakably Russian in sound. It has clearly defined sections that move between the opening rhythmic theme and more lyrical themes that exploit the pedal range and expressive capability of the bass trombone.
Sonata No. 5 Johan Ernest Galliard (1687-1749)
ed. Keith Brown
10. Adagio 1:36 11. Allegro e staccato 1:27
12. Alla Siciliana 1:05 13. Allegro assai 1:23
Johan Ernest Galliard was born in Zelle, Germany, the son of a French wig-maker. Like Handel, he was greatly influenced by the Italian composition style of Steffani. This Sonata is number five in a collection of six that were composed for a bassoon player named Kennedy, but were designated for cello or bassoon. Although these sonatas are a staple in the trombone repertoire of today, during his life Galliard's composition style was viewed as boring. Burney, in his A General History of Music says of him "....but with respect to his composition in general, I must say, that I never saw more correctness or less originality in any author that I have examined.." Nevertheless, most listeners today find the Galliard Sonatas to be very interesting. Sonata No. 5 is simple yet challenging. The first and third movements are in a minor key with a singing, melonchy tone. The second and last movements are technically challenging.
Three Vignettes for Trombone Alec Lafayette Chew Wilder (1907-1980)
14. Dolce 2:05 15. Energetically 1:37 16. Espressivo 1:46
Alec Wilder was born in Rochester, New York. Although he studied briefly at the Eastman School of Music, he was mostly self-taught as a composer. His compositional style was a combination of American musical traditions (mainly jazz and the popular song) and European forms and techniques, that defied labeling. Evident in his music and lifestyle, Alec Wilder was a true eccentric. He lived for most of his life in different hotels, and often composed in seven or nine bar phrases simply to throw off the listener or make a musical or emotional point. Wilder enjoyed a close musical friendship with classical musicians, jazz musicians and popular singers. Musicians like Frank Sinatra, Marian McPartland, Gunther Schuller, Bob Brookmeyer and Mitch Miller were responsible for promoting Wilder's music. Wilder was the "underdog" musician's friend and was concerned with writing music for instruments and instrumental ensembles that were often ignored by other composers. Because Wilder often wrote while traveling (he traveled wide and often) or while visiting friends (often giving them what he wrote), no one will ever know just how much he wrote. Towards the end of his life, much of Wilder's music was dark in mood, seemingly reflecting a deep lonliness.
Three Vignettes for Trombone was written for Richard Fote. Although the bass trombone is accompanied by piano on all three movements for this recording, movement two has an optional marimba accompaniment and movement three has an optional woodwind quintet accompaniment. True to Wilder's style, the form is disjunct in all three movements and the tone is simple but moody.
17. New Orleans 6:02 Eugene Bozza (1905-1991)
Eugène Bozza was born in Nice died in Valenciennes. He was a "triple threat" at the Paris Conservatoire, studying violin, composition and conducting. He won numerous prizes as a student including the Grand Prix de Rome in composition. He conducted the orchestra of the Opera-Comique before becaming the Head of the Conservatoire in Valenciennes in 1948. Although he composed several operas, ballets, choral and large-scale symphonic works, his worldwide reputation happend as a result of the popularity of his many solo and chamber works, written for various instruments and instrumental ensembles.
Like Introduction, Romance et Allegro, New Orleans was written for French bass trombonist Paul Bernard. The piece has three clearly defined sections and contains many of the characteristic motifs of Bozza. The influence of the jazz style is unmistakable, and the imagery of the emotional extremes of New Orleans are vividly evoked by the music. This piece is a staple in the bass trombone solo literature and favorite of European audition committee. Although through-composed, the compositional style of the piece allows for a wide degree of interpretation, especially in the opening cadenza.
18. The Crimson Callop 4:13 Tommy Pederson (1919-1998)
A great quote about Tommy Pederson comes from the liner notes of an album he recorded in the 1960's: "Tommy is a complete musician; a fantastic trombone player and a serious student of composition; having been playing, writing and studying since he was four years old. Prior to that, he was a complete wastrel." Tommy began his professional career traveling with the bands of such luminaries as Gene Krupa and Tommy Dorsey while still in his teens. After World War Two, he came to Hollywood and started his own band. The "Tommy Pederson Orchestra" was soon a fixture at such venues as the Hollywood Palladium and the Brown Derby. As his reputation grew, so did the demands on his time. From the early 1950's, and continuing well into the 1970's, Tommy Pederson was THE trombone player in Hollywood. He was featured in literally thousands of movie soundtracks, television and radio shows, and recordings. As busy as he was (sometimes playing as many as six "sessions" a day) Tommy always found the time for his true passion: composition. The stories concerning those rehearsals in "The Garage" have reached almost legendary proportions . . . and they're true! The best players in Hollywood would stop in to play some of the most challenging yet satisfying music ever written for the trombone.
The Crimson Callop is one of the many fun bass trombone duets written by Tommy Pederson. Webster's dictionary defines the word "Callop" as...."a fold of bodily flesh." Lite in nature, it is written in a commercial style and is rhythmically interesting. In this recording, I play both parts and have taken the liberty of improvising around Tommy's pre-composed melody in the opening section. I don't think Tommy would mind! Thanks to Mike Suter for liner notes on Tommy Pederson. Mike is available at firstname.lastname@example.org for information on Pederson's arrangements and compositions.
Total Playing Time 60:35
Carol Yu, Piano
Hailed by The Times, UK as a pianist who exerts 'excellent, positive work at
the piano', Carol Yu was first prize-winner in the 1990 Oxford Music
Competition and Kingsclere Music Competition, and has performed in London,
Germany, Russia, Prague, China and SE Asia. A scholarship recipient of the Hong Kong Jockey Club Music Fund, Carol graduated from the Royal Academy of Music in London with the Bachelor and Master Degrees in first class honours. Highly praised for her exquisite tone and versatile technique, Carol's playing is firmly in the tradition of the Russian Piano School. After graduating from the Royal Academy, she received a scholarship from the Countess of Munster Musical Trust to study with several Russian masters namely Viktor Merzhanov, Irina Zaritskaya and Andrzej Esterhazy, pupil of the legendary Heinrich Neuhaus. As a soloist, she has performed in the Messiaen Festival in London and the International Piano Festival 'Special Concerto Year 2000' in Kuala Lumpur. She has also been invited by the Beethoven Society of Europe to perform in Prague and by the Hong Kong Commissioner to perform for the House of Lords in London. She has given concerto performances with the Hong Kong Sinfonietta, the City Chamber Orchestra of Hong Kong, the Hong Kong Chamber
Orchestra and the Malaysia National Symphony Orchestra. She has also recorded for Moscow Radio. Active also as a chamber musician, she has collaborated with many
international artists. Her chamber music teachers include the Amadeus Quartet, Anne-Sophie Mutter and Lynn Harrell. Based in Hong Kong, she is currently on the music faculty of the Chinese University of Hong Kong and the Hong Kong Baptist University.
Over-dub duet recorded Novermber 2, 2001
Recording Engineer: Simon Hui
Microphone: Audio Technica 4050CM5
Pre-amp: Digitech VTP-1
Bass Trombone and Piano Recorded January 21, 22, 2002
Lee Hysan Concert Hall, Chinese University of Hong Kong
Producer: Tse Hung Fei
Recording Engineer, Editing and Mastering: Eric James
Artistic Director: Maciek Walicki
Edited and Mastered on SADIE 24.96
URM Audio, Hong Kong www.urmaudio.com
microphone: Royer SF 12
Pre-amp: Grace 801
Recorder: TASCAM DA 98-HR
Recorded, edited and mastered at 24-bit