Jesper Busk gives “Concerto Lirico” its premiere

Danish trombonist Jesper Busk Sørensen gave the premier performance of a brand new trombone concerto, “Concerto Lírico” by Bo Holten. The even took place in the spectacular “Musikkens Hus” in Aalborg, accompanied by the Aalborg Symphony Orchestra, under the baton of Thomas Søndergaard.

The concerto was commisioned by the soloist with a special request: “write something lyrical, nothing avant-garde”. Busk’s motivation was that we already have many fine “avant-garde” trombone concertos, but he felt the repertoire

could use more trombone concertos featuring the more gentle and singing qualities of the instrument. Bo Holten is already well known for his choral works and arrangements of songs, as well as a choral conductor, and took on the task with enthusiasm. The composer says that writing for brass has a lot in common with writing for vocalists. However he appreciated that he did not have to worry about the trombone soloist being covered by the orchestra, and joked that the trombone soloist could be too dominant!

An unusual trombone concerto

All the 3 movements of the concerto are built around the opening statement, but the Danish folk song “Jeg kan se på dine Øjne” also snuck into the composition process. The composer explained that “the melody wanted to join in, and it did, probably more than it should”. The first line of the lyrics is translated to “I can see in your eyes, that you love somebody else”. Subsequently, the concerto ends in sadness, not triumph.

Jesper Busk Sørensen,

The soloist says the work is a stiff challenge, demanding both stamina and flexibility to rapidly change between dynamics and registers. He particularly embraced the chance to explore the extreme soft dynamics the composer calls for.

The concerto was called “a born classic” and “extraordinarily successful” in a review in the newspaper “Nordjyske”.

Jesper Busk Sørensen grew up in Grenaa close to the city of Aarhus, Denmark. He studied at the conservatory in Aarhus with Niels-Ole Bo Johannsen, Jesper Juul and Rolf Sandmark, and won a position in the Aarhus Symphony Orchestra in his early 20s. He continued his studies at the Northwestern University with Michael Mulcahy of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra. Busk has held the position of 2nd trombonist of the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra since 2009. He is also an active chamber musician in groups such as the Danish Trombone Quartet and the Berlin Philharmonic Brass Ensemble. Jesper Busk has been honorary professor of trombone at the Royal Danish Conservatory of Music, Copenhagen since 2015.

Danish National Radio p2 broadcasted the concert live, and you can listen to it here. The concert also includes 2 orchestral pieces which should be well known among trombone players: “Four Sea Interludes” by Benjamin Britten and Tchaikowski’s 5th Symphony.

The trombone concerto starts at 31’50”:

-Eyvind Sommerfelt

Online News Co-ordinator