Island trombonist Dale Sorensen’s debut solo recording is the culmination of over 20 years of collaborations with composers and performers across the country, represented in four stylistically unique contemporary classical works composed between 1979 and 2012.
The CD title, Harambee: Canadian Music for Trombone, was inspired by one of the two pieces for trombone and percussion, Jomo (1979) by Paul Théberge, which makes reference to “Harambee,” a Swahili word meaning “all pull together,” which captures the spirit of collaboration that is evident on each piece in this recording. Jomo includes a massive list of European, African, Indian and East Asian percussion instruments, and incorporates stylistic features from the ethnic music of each region. The trombonist explores a range of colours and effects through the use of various mutes and extended playing techniques, and by playing a conch shell. The other piece with percussion, Dialogues (1987) by Thomas Schudel, is like a series of conversations between the two musicians, whose discussions range from subdued to very animated, according to Sorensen. Both of these works feature percussionist Steven Wassmansdorf, a former colleague of Sorensen’s from the Windsor Symphony Orchestra in the 1990s.
Sorensen was directly involved with the creation of the other two works. Scott Good’s Sorensen Variations (2000) was commissioned with funding from the South Shore Arts Council and premiered at the Victoria Playhouse in PEI. This work, a theme and variations, showcases a variety of textures and rhythms while exploring the unusual relationship of a trombone with string quartet. Barbara York’s Nordic Suite (2012), for trombone, tuba and piano, is an immediately appealing and accessible children's “fantasy” that was inspired by Nordic culture and heritage. Sorensen premiered this work in Toronto in 2014. Both of these latter works were recorded with colleagues met while Sorensen was completing a doctorate in performance at the University of Toronto (Ton Beau Quartet; Jonathan Rowsell, tuba; Vanessa May-lok Lee, piano).
This CD contains the world premiere recordings of all four works, and is available in Charlottetown at Back Alley Music and the Confederation Centre Gift Shop, and on iTunes.