Review


Samuel A. Ward and J.P. Sousa
America-Stars and Stripes:
Eight trombones

Auburn, New York, United States
Publisher: Tom Camp
Date of Publication: 2016

Score and parts

Genre: TROMBONE ENSEMBLES

Tom Camp is a retired band director from central New York. This eight part arrangement comprises six tenor and two bass trombones. The parts and score are self-published and printed by the composer. The cost of each is not listed. The arrangement begins straightforward with an opening exposition. It is in the next phrases that issues arise. The piece suffers from what I would label as “over arranging.” This manifests itself in three respects. First, new harmonies are employed. While this is not a bad thing, it is the amount new harmonies and loss of harmonic progression that causes the works to lose direction. While this could be construed as personal preference, the wide knowledge of the original works and the esteem in which it is held makes these alterations seem noticeably out of place. Second, additional counterpoint lines and additional melody lines seem needlessly busy and complex. Lastly, parts are arranged with first trombone carrying the melody and all others lower in harmony throughout. This causes two issues. First the trombone one part has endurance problems and second, the other parts have limited opportunity to play melody. Little rest is employed in any part making the texture one dimensional throughout. None of these issues render the arrangement wrong per se. In this reviewer’s opinion, however, they limit its effectiveness.

Reviewer: Thomas Zugger
Review Published January 31, 2019