Sambezi (Trombone Solo)

Sambezi is the brass band version of the last movement of Philip Sparke’s Trombone Concerto, originally accompanied by concert band, which was commissioned by the Deutsche Bläserphilharmonie. The concerto was written for, and is dedicated to, Olaf Ott, principal trombone with the Berlin Philharmonic.

The original concerto is in traditional three-movement form and the whole work could be seen as a dramatic soliloquy for the soloist, who starts in earnest and agitated mood but, as the concerto progresses, is able to take a more optimistic tone until he ends the work with this ‘symphonic’ samba, Sambezi.

Starting in joyful and outgoing mood, the soloist opens proceedings with a carefree samba tune. A jazz-influenced central tune explores the higher ranges of the trombone before the samba rhythms set up a ‘contest’ between the soloist and the band’s trombone section. The soloist is the eventual ‘winner’ and he celebrates by reintroducing the samba melody before bringing the work to a virtuosic close.

Performance note: the idea of the passage between bar 202 and 270 is a dual or contest between the soloist and band’s trombone section. The latter try and outdo the former until the soloist shows his full colours at bar 247. The band’s trombones shyly submit at bar 265.