Review


John Skillman
Kane Kuartet:
trombone quartet

N.p., , United States
Publisher: John Skillman
Date of Publication: 2016
URL: http://john.skillman@gmail.com

Genre: TROMBONE ENSEMBLES

John Skillman is currently a member of the 98th Army Band, performing both as a trombonist and electric bass player. A graduate of the University of North Carolina (BM, BA) and the University of New Mexico (MM), he is also an arranger and composer. He has penned numerous works for the Army band in a wide variety of styles and ensembles. Two albums of his work can be heard on soundcloud.com/skillsphony.

 

The composer writes the following about his quartet:

The ancient Hawaiian God K?ne inspired “K?ne Kuartet.” He was the first to become self-aware; through sheer will he was able to pull himself away from the darkness and chaos that was referred to as Po. From a compositional standpoint, the quartet is an exploration of a royal fanfare, straddling the line between tonality and atonality. It offers exciting triadic harmonies, metrical contrast, and a lyrical section reminiscent of the late Romantic period.

The writing is idiomatic and all parts get a share in the melodic spotlight. The formal structure, harmonic content, as well as the melodic lines, are all quite traditional. There are no substantial range, endurance, technical, rhythmic, or ensemble challenges. From that description you might surmise Kane Kuartet as something rather uninteresting, hackneyed, even vapid. While not striking out in new directions, this is nevertheless an interesting short piece, with a well thought out harmonic language, good sense of formal proportion, nice contrasts, and perfect use of the traditional sounds of the trombone quartet. It is playable by a good undergraduate quartet but also musically interesting enough for more advanced ensembles. It will also work well for trombone choir. A midi sound file is available from the composer: john.skillman@gmail.com.

Reviewer: Karl Hinterbichler
Review Published January 31, 2019