The trombone quartet from Costa Rica moved the audience with their performance last Mon., Jan. 28. The four musicians had already amazed our Wolf Pack during an afternoon master class earlier that day. For over 20 years, the quartet has made it their mission to combine technique and creativity in service to the music. Their mission has been to reach the hearts and minds of people from all over the globe. Even though their stay was short-lived, their memorable performance will remain in the minds of every student and audience member. Like many brass instruments, the trombone presents a challenge to the musician.
Breathing, the slide technique, and the slur are among the most difficult skills that a trombonist must master. Despite that, the quartet did not shy away from that reality; instead, they impressed the audience with Horch’s arrangement for trombones of Gioachino Rossini’s “Overture to William Tell.”
The invoked images of a Kentucky Derby race summoned by bass and tenor trombones highlighted the technical challenges of the instrument. As the hall vibrated with colorful sounds from different times and geographical regions, the musicians offered their audience a recital of other familiar tunes. Whether it was Johann Sebastian Bach’s “Fugue in G-minor,” or “Travesuras Sobre un Tema de Bach” (loosely translated as “Fiddling Around Over a Piece by Bach”) written by the Costa Rican composer Vinicio Meza, the quartet demonstrated their ability to lead the audience on a charming journey through the Baroque period without the musical complement of another instrument. They were also able to conjure the spirit of Latin America’s multicultural nature.
The trombone arrangement of Pedro Elías Gutiérrez’s “Alma Llanera” captured the sense of freedom one may feel riding through the vast tropical savannas of Venezuela. And Fidel Gamboa’s “Sóngoro,” invited a feeling to dance to the rhythms of Afro-Cuban persuasions. José Nogueras’ bolero, “Amada Mia” and Vinicio Meza’s “Imágenes” shed light to the intense joy of finding that one true love or the climatic suspense of continuous melodic reflections.
Los Trombones de Costa Rica engaged the audience with more than just musical technicality that Monday evening. The four musicians filled the Nightingale Concert Hall with notes that celebrated the unique reverberating sounds of the trombone. For about an hour, the audience experienced the ingenuity and love the quartet had for their craft. They were able to touch hearts and captivate minds. Even though they played for one night, their performance left the audience longing for more trombones.
Sara Gallego can be reached at email@example.com, or on Twitter @NevadaSagebrush.