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Nicolai Rimsky-Korsakov's Concerto for Trombone, composed in 1878. The work is one that I have been studying as a performer and thus have opted to study it in-depth, looking into the differing interpretations of it by performers

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Introduction

Performance Investigation I have chosen to study Nicolai Rimsky-Korsakov's Concerto for Trombone, composed in 1878. The work is one that I have been studying as a performer and thus have opted to study it in-depth, looking into the differing interpretations of it by performers. The two recordings that I chose are by Christian Lindberg, playing with the Kosei Wind Orchestra, and by Norman Law, with the Black Dyke Mills Band. The two recordings are quite dissimilar in many ways, including obviously the difference in accompaniment with the first being that of a wind orchestra, the format for which the work was originally composed, and the second that by a brass band as arranged by Gordon Langford - a very accomplished arranger and renowned composer. The two performers have quite contrasting styles, which is evident when it comes to the interpretations of certain sections of the works, and especially the cadenzas. However, there are also lots of things that have remained unaltered from that of the original scoring, with the vast majority of notation and rhythm not being altered in any vast way. Christian Lindberg is arguably the best trombonist of current times and thus any recording by him was a natural choice, especially when I found this edition with wind orchestra. To contrast with this I chose a brass band arrangement of the work. Having grown up as a musician within a brass band, this performance was a perfect choice for me upon which to study, especially being arranged by Langford and performed by the Black Dyke Mills Band - a fantastic combination. The opening of the first recording (Lindberg) is at a tempo of approximately 140 b.p.m. When he makes his first entrance it appears that he is almost early with his entry of the first triplets, compared with if it was placed directly upon the beat. The next two bars are primarily as written, with Lindberg employing a crescendo in the fifth bar. ...read more.

Middle

Both interpretations are successful and effective, however, both performers break the fifth and sixth bars down four mini-phrases, this does not pose a negative issue to the work; by breaking the phrases the performers can keep a consistent style throughout the section, despite the fact that by this section of the work, I have often found myself in need of a few moments respite. Altering the phrasing actually incurs a lesser effect than could be found. By breaking the phrasing it adds to the power and dramatism of the conclusion. Moving into the second movement there is an immediate contrast, that being the tempo at which each rendition is performed, with Law choosing a slighter quicker tempo, which helps carry the piece through and helps make the phrases more flowing. Lindberg's style is also more expressive, with more vibrato and rubato employed, in this movement than that of Law. The two performers approaches to the phrasing of this movement, especially the opening section, are quite startling. Lindberg has changed the phrasing and his breathing points in the primary phrase of this movement, which I do not necessarily agree with. Law, however, keeps quite strictly to the written phrasing and breath marks, which I believe is the way the approach should be. These contrasts in articulation continue through into the forte section at the eleventh bar of H, with Lindberg again breaking-up the flowing phrases more where by contrast Law is keeping to the original script. Moving into the cadenza the comparisons between the performers becomes more evident. Approaching the cadenza, Lindberg slows to a greater extent while crescendoing through adding to the suspense; he always continues this change of tempo into the Db in the eighth bar of I by suspending the note on an extensive pause. In the ascending figure a bar before the stringendo, Lindberg accelerandoes and crescendos to great effect, contrasting greatly in the stringendo and the proceeding bar, performing with virtuoso expression. ...read more.

Conclusion

The next section is very extreme. Lindberg employs a technique of singing and playing at the same time, within the lower ranges of the instrument. This is actually very clever as he includes ideas from the third movement in the section, especially when he moves into the chromatic scale, which is seen in the work in several ideas. The range again is incredible and adds a truly modern 20th Century edge to a classical piece of music. Law by complete contrast plays the standard cadenza, which employs no main themes from the work and is wholly in the typical classical format and based upon scale and arpeggio passage work. The cadenza by Law follows that which is written but for minor changes in tempo, and slight notation alterations. The two cadenzas are both successful at drawing the work to a close; however, Lindberg's cadenza is considerably more virtuosic. It is the tradition that cadenzas used to be improvised and decided upon purely by the performer at the time of performance, thus Lindberg is wholly in his rights to have chosen the cadenza that he has, which almost adds more to the work than the original, adding a personal touch. Into U, Lindberg crescendos through the pedal Bb in the third bar, showing greater control over pedals than Law. In the sixth bar of U, at the rising tenuto semi-quavers Lindberg takes them at a faster tempo than Law. Into the vivace Lindberg crescendos through reaching the Bb at a dynamic at fortissimo, whereby contrast Law reaches the vivace after diminuendoing to a mezzo-forte. The final concluding note also sees a contrast in dynamic with Lindberg's Bb being much more prominent than that of Law, however, this could also be wholly to do with the differences in the amount of brass in the accompaniment. The two performances are very different in approach as outlined within this investigation, however both are successful and impressive. I have taken many different ideas from both performers and will now incorporate those into my own ideas to improve my performance and understanding of the work. WORD COUNT: 3,606 ouch! ...read more.

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