Billy Stewart
Colours: Based on a translation of a poem by Y. Yevtoshenko

Arranged by Michael Kris

Trombone and guitar

Vancouver, BC, , Canada
Publisher: Cherry Classics Music
Date of Publication: 2018



This is an unusual combination; there are some great jazz duos on You-tube by Canadian trombonist Shawn Grocott and German guitarist Wolf Meyer, but Colours is the only piece for these two instruments out of more than 700 titles currently listed by this publisher. The trombone part follows an English translation of the poem ‘Colours’ by Yevgeny Yevtushenko (1933-2017). The text deals with fear and loss and is printed in the score as a guide to interpretation; it is not intended that it should be sung. This is quite a challenging work, mostly in 5/4 meter, at a tempo of quarter=54 and marked ‘Rubato.’ Written without a key signature, the melody is essentially in F-sharp minor and is quite beautiful. Harmony in the guitar part is mostly either freely chromatic or quartal and represents the undercurrent of fear and menace present in the poetry. Both parts feature irregular rhythmic patterns and note groupings, which should become quite intuitive if the speech-rhythms are followed. The trombone part is given in bass clef, range is A-b1. Billy Stewart is Guitar Instructor at the University of North Carolina. The score was edited by Michael Kris, who teaches trombone at UNC; the piece is dedicated to him.

Reviewer: Keith Davies Jones
Review Published January 31, 2019