Point in Time
"Music has the power to unite the human soul with the divine"
De Musica - Augustine
"Whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God through him."
Holy Bible, Colossians 3:17
1. Statements 2:56 Anthony Plog b. 1947
Anthony Plog has had a successful and varied career as an orchestral trumpet player, soloist, composer, conductor and teacher. He has held positions in orchestras in the United States and Europe, and is a founding member of the Summit Brass Ensemble. He has taught at various institutions around the world and has composed hundreds of pieces for brass instruments. His "insider knowledge" of brass playing gives him special insight into the capabilities of brass instruments. More information about Mr. Plog, his career, and compositions can be found at www.anthonyplog.com.
Although Statements was dedicated to the legendary tuba player Roger Bobo, the instrument designation is for tuba or contrabass trombone. When played on the bass trombone, the piece highlights the trigger and pedal registers. Musically, the piece is dark and powerful, taking full advantage of the dynamic capabilities of the bass trombone. It is a brief ternary form that is written in a way that allows both the pianist and bass trombonist to play open and dramatically without competing with each other. It climaxes with a dynamic fortissimo at the return of the A section. For this recording, an Edwards 1023CF bell with an unsoldered rim was used.
Suite Antonio Vivaldi (1678-1741)
Compiled and arranged by Denson Paul Pollard
2. Andante from Concerto in A minor RV420 4:31
3. Adagio from Concerto in G minor RV416 3:15
4. Allegro from Sonata in B flat major Opus XIV 1:56
Antonio Vivaldi was born in Venice, Italy, the son of a violin player at St. Mark's Cathedral. Nicknamed "the red priest" because of his hair color, he was ordained into the priesthood in 1703 but soon after refused to say mass. Vivaldi was one of the most important violin virtuosi of the Baroque era and is considered to be one of the most prolific and innovative composers in music history. Although he wrote music for many different genres, his area of specialty was the instrumental concerto. He wrote over 550 concertos and once boasted that he could write a concerto faster than his copyists could transcribe the different parts. Through the bulk of his output, he standardized both the three movement concerto form (fast-slow-fast) and the use of ritornello in the fast concerto movements. By most accounts, Vivaldi was an extravagant and difficult person and his music was virtually forgotten soon after his death. Although he had commanded a large fee during his life, he died poverty stricken in Vienna in 1741. It wasn't until over 175 years after his death that his music was rediscovered.
I chose the movements in this Suite based on my own personal taste and ease of adaption for the bass trombone. I attempted to honor the three movement form that Vivaldi standardized with his concertos. With the exception of octave displacement and ornamentation, the original solo parts have been altered very little. The first two movements of this suite were chosen from Vivaldi's twenty-seven concertos for Cello. The Allegro that serves as the third movement of this suite is from a collection of six cello sonatas that were published with no opus in Paris in 1740 right before Vivaldi's death. The opus XIV designation was given later. For this recording an Edwards 927CF bell with unsoldered rim was used.
Etoile des Profondeurs Jerome Naulais b. 1951
5. I. 4:58
6. II. 6:39
7. III. 4:37
Jerome Naulais was born into a family of musicians. After achieving some early success as a violin player, he switched to trombone where he studied at the National Academy of Music in Paris, winning first prize in music theory and trombone. As a performer, he was solo trombone of the National Orchestra of France (1974-1976) and has been the solo trombone of the Contemporary Ensemble of Pierre Boulez since it formed in 1976. He has also recorded and performed with many pop artists, including Harry Belafonte, Marlene Dietrich, Shirley Bassay, Gilbert Becaud and Charles Aznavour. He is very active as a teacher, having held positions in several music academies. He has composed for solo instruments, chamber ensembles and symphony orchestra.
Written in 1999 and translated "Star of the Deep," Etoile des Profondeurs is a major work for bass trombone and piano, challenging in both range and technique. The outstanding characteristic of the work is Naulais' interesting use of rhythm. Compositionally, the piece features jazz, latin, and avant-garde style within a traditional sonata framework. The first movement is playful with descending eighth note motifs in the bass trombone. The second movement is written in a ballade style with a melody that is one of the most beautiful in the bass trombone repertoire. The third movement is a march with an extended cadenza that highlights the pedal range of the bass trombone. For this recording an Edwards 927 CF bell with unsoldered rim was used.
Six Studies in English Folk Song R. Vaughan Williams (1872-1958)
8. Lovely on the Water (The Springtime of the Year) 1:44
9. Spurn Point 1:23
10. Van Dieman's Land 1:35
11. She Borrowed Some of Her Mother's Gold 1:40
12. The Lady and the Dragon 1:44
13. As I walked over London Bridge :52
"I am told that when grapevines were first cultivated in California the vineyard masters used to try the experiment of importing plants from France or Italy and setting them in their own soil. The result was that the grapes acquired a peculiar individual flavor, so strong was the influence of the soil in which they were planted. I think I need hardly draw the moral of this, namely, that if the roots of your art are firmly planted in your own soil and that soil has anything individual to give you, you may still gain the whole world and not lose your own soul."
Ralph Vaughan Williams
The English composer Ralph Vaughan Williams was born into an affluent and prestigious family that included Charles Darwin as his great uncle. Perhaps because he felt no financial pressure to achieve success as a composer, he developed an individual style that relied heavily on his love of the English folk song. Vaughan Williams was bravely dedicated to the study and use of folksong in music composition at a time when most of the rest of the musical world was falling for serial music. He began collecting and using folk songs in 1903 and they permeated every musical genre that he composed for from symphony to solo work. He helped edit the English Hymnal (1906), and Songs of Praise (1925).
Six Studies in English Folk Song (1926) are short but interesting elaborations on the original folk songs using piano accompaniment. All except the last song are slow and lyrical. Although the work was dedicated to cellist May Mukle, the composer created several versions of the solo part of this work, for violin, viola, clarinet and cello. The six movements are beautiful examples of what can happen in music when a composer stays dedicated to his heart and does not succumb to the pressure of what other composers are doing. For this recording an Edwards 1215 CF bell with unsoldered rim was used.
14. Concertino Basso 5:59 Richard Lieb b. 1930
Richard "Dick" Lieb has been a New York-based studio trombone player, composer, and arranger for many years. As a composer/arranger his credits include ABC documentaries and daytime dramas, Sesame Street specials, the Broadway show "Dream," Skitch Henderson's New York Pops, and many collaborations with Doc Severinsen. He contributed to albums for the Kai Winding Septet, Buddy Rich, Urbie Green, Rosemary Clooney, and Mandy Patinkin. Concertino Basso was written while Lieb was playing with the Doc Severinsen's Tonight Show Band and was dedicated to Alan Raph, one of the busiest studio bass trombonists in New York City.
Concertino Basso is a one movement work that consists of three distinct sections. The piece opens with driving eighth notes in the piano before the bass trombone enters with several powerful statements that alternate with the piano. Eventually, as if the rhythmic energy starts to run out, the music winds down to a slower and melodic middle section. This section features lush and legato material in the pedal range for the bass trombone. The third section switches to a duple meter and features a dramatic cadenza before an energetic push to the end. A band accompaniment is available for this piece. For this recording an Edwards 1023 CF bell with unsoldered rim was used.
Drei Leichte Stucke (1938) pub. B. Schott's Paul Hindemith (1895-1963)
15. Massig schnell, munter 1:16
16. Langsam 2:24
17. Lebhaft 2:15
Paul Hindemith was not only one of the most important composers in the twentieth century, but he was also an accomplished violin/viola player, music theorist, teacher and conductor. As a player he was the concertmaster of the Frankfurt Opera orchestra and gave the world premier of the Walton Viola Concerto. Hindemith was a somewhat controversial music theorist who fought against the tide of serial music. He held that the major triad was a natural phenomenon, based on the acoustic property of the overtone series. In the first volume of his theoretical treatise The Craft of Musical Composition, Hindemith wrote "Music, as long as it exists, will always take its departure from the major triad and return to it. The musician cannot escape it any more than the painter his primary colors, or the architect his three dimensions. In composition, the triad . . . can never be avoided for more than a short time without completely confusing the listener." Naturally, he is considered an important neo-classical composer, combining classical forms with extended harmonies and experiments with jazz. Despite his relatively conservative approach to music and composition, he was labeled a "cultural Bolshevik" by the Nazi regime and was forced to leave Germany for the United States where he taught at Yale University.
Drei Leichte Stucke (Three Easy Pieces) for cello was composed in 1938 when Hindemith was in the middle of some of his most productive years as a chamber music composer. During this time he wrote important sonatas for many instruments, including six sonatas for various instruments in 1939. Although Drei Leichte Stucke is not considered to be one of Hindemith's most important works for cello, not even receiving the designation of sonata, the work does benefit from Hindemith's imaginative focus on chamber music during this time. The solo part is melodic with interesting rhythm, while the piano accompaniment compliments in very unique ways. Elements of jazz are present and each movement is in a different meter. The work is considered to be a part of the standard repertoire for the modern bass trombone. Bass trombonists could almost claim this fast-slow-fast piece as their "Hindemith Bass Trombone Sonata." For this recording an Edwards 1215 CF bell with unsoldered rim was used.
18. Barnacle Bill 6:19 Carson Robison and Frank Luther Arranged by Steven Frank b. 1954
Carson Robison recorded with Frank Luther as "Bud and Joe Billings" from 1928-1931. Among their releases was the song "Barnacle Bill the Sailor." Steven Frank was born in Rochester, NY and has degrees from the Crane School of Music, SUNY Potsdam and Youngstown State University. Frank has been teaching public school music as a band director since 1981. Currently, he is a band director in the West Genesee Central School District, Camillus, NY (suburb of Syracuse), where he teaches band in two elementary schools, as well as runs the high school jazz band. He is also an adjunct faculty member at Onondaga Community College (Syracuse, NY), where he directs the college jazz band.
Frank wrote, "I wrote Barnacle Bill for one of my great friends, bass trombonist Scott Van Manen, while we were both students at Youngstown, studying with Vern Kagarice. Scott was an amazing bass trombonist. I had just finished my first season as a trombonist with Dr. Leonard B. Smith's Detroit Concert Band, a band modeled in the Sousa tradition, and so had spent the summer immersed in the world of early 20th century band music. This included working with many great soloists in performance of music by Clark, Pryor, etc...- the great brass solos written in variation form. So, I had the sound and style of these pieces in my head. As a baby boomer, I grew up watching the classic Popeye cartoons on television. I especially liked the one which featured, in operetta form, a fully realized version of Barnacle Bill the Sailor, complete with Popeye and Bluto fighting for the fair Olive Oil's attentions. It was during the long drives back and forth from Youngstown to Detroit that the two concepts merged. Barnacle Bill seemed to me to be the perfect vehicle for a theme and variations solo. So, I wrote it, originally scored for bass trombone and six trombones, with the idea that it would be performed by Scott and the trombone choir at one of their concerts at Youngstown. A week before the concert, Scott got hit by a batted ball during a pick-up softball game, breaking his jaw. And so he never got to play the piece. He let a fellow bass trombonist make a copy of it, and it quickly spread around the world in copied form from player to player before Kagarice Publications was finally able to publish it in its current version for bass trombone and piano/band. As far as I know, Scott has never performed it in public...sad but true!" For this recording an Edwards 927 CF bell with unsoldered rim was used.
Total Playing time 56:12
Yvonne Lai Yim Fong started piano lessons at the age of 6. She has studied at the Hong Kong Academy for the Performing Arts since 2000 and is very active as an accompanist in Hong Kong. Her teachers have included Miss Nancy Loo and Miss Hui Ling.
Originally from Newnan, Georgia, USA, Denson Paul Pollard began as bass trombonist with the Hong Kong Philharmonic in September, 2001. He has been the bass trombonist of the Civic Orchestra of Chicago, the Cedar Rapids Symphony Orchestra, the Illinois Symphony Orchestra and the principle trombonist of the Waterloo/Cedar Falls Symphony Orchestra. He was selected as a tenor trombonist at the 1995 Pacific Music Festival in Sapporo, Japan and was bass trombonist at the 1999 Schleswig-Holstein Music Festival in Germany, the 2000 National Orchestral Institute in Baltimore, Maryland, USA and the 2001 National Repertory Orchestra in Breckenridge, Colorado, USA. Pollard has performed with the Chicago Symphony and the Houston Symphony Orchestra. His teachers have included Charles Vernon, Joseph Alessi, David Gier, George Krem and Jim Roberts. In 2000, he was awarded the Doctorate of Musical Arts degree in performance and pedagogue from the University of Iowa where he served as a teaching assistant in the areas of musicology, jazz and applied trombone. Pollard holds a Bachelor of Science degree in music education from Jacksonville State University in Jacksonville, Alabama, USA. Dr. Pollard teaches at the Hong Kong Academy for the Performing Arts, Hong Kong Baptist University and Hong Kong Chinese University. During the 2000 year, Pollard was professor of trombone at the University of Northern Iowa.
As a commercial musician, Pollard has played with numerous shows. He was the tuba/bass trombonist with tours of the revival of Showboat and the off-broadway touring production of Annie. He played bass trombone for an 18-month tour with Andrew Lloyd Weber's Music of the Night and the Barry Manilow Live Concert Tour.
Pollard is very active as a soloist. He was a prize-winner and the only brass player finalist at the 1997 St. Louis Symphony Concerto Competition and was first prize winner at the 1998 Eastern Trombone Workshop Bass Trombone Solo Competition in Washington, D.C. Pollard was a prize winner in the 2000 Houston Symphony Orchestra-Ima Hogg Concerto Competition and performed as soloist with the Houston Symphony in July, 2000. In 2001, he appeared as guest soloist with the West Point Military Academy Band at the Alessi Seminar in Nyack, New York and made his solo debut with the Hong Kong Philharmonic in 2002. He has been a guest soloist with the Hong Kong Academy for the Performing Arts Wind Ensemble, Jacksonville State University Wind Ensemble, the University of Iowa Chamber Orchestra, Des Moines Community Orchestra and numerous community bands across Iowa, USA. He has performed numerous solo recitals in Hong Kong, including concerts for the Hong Kong Chamber Society and RTHK Radio 4 of Hong Kong, the Academy for the Performing Arts, Baptist University and Chinese University. He is a founding member of the Hong Kong Slides Trombone Ensemble and the Fresh Air Brass Quintet. Pollard's solo CDs entitled "Up From Below," and "Point in Time" are available at www.cdbaby.com/dppollard and www.hickeys.com He and his wife Karen, a teacher at the HK International Christian School, are active in their church, the Kowloon International Baptist Church and have a daughter, Georgia Abigail Pollard, and a son, Denson Gabriel Pollard.
Recorded January 24 and 25, 2005
Lee Hysan Concert Hall, Chinese University of Hong Kong
Four Cats Productions
Tube Mic Pre-amplifier: dbx
DIGI 002 96/24
SADiE Digital Workstation
Mastering: Avalon AD2000 Series
Recording Engineer: Anthony Yeung
Technical Engineer: feijaiming
Assistant Recording Engineer: Tam Chun Ho
Post-Production: Tse Hung Fei, Anthony Yeung
Producer: Tse Hung Fei (Four Cats Productions)
Artistic advisors: Ben Pelletier, Andrey Kharlamov
Cover Sketch: Sandra Lee Ericzon Bruns, Bruns Graphics
Back Photos: Marcus Ulnick
Pollard Bio Photo: Photo courtesy of the Hong Kong Philharmonic Orchestra
Photography by Cheung Chi Wai