Review


Jason Beghtol and Bryan Mitchell
Fire & Ice Volume II:
Trombone trio; three trombones: 2 tenor, 1 bass trombone, and percussion: drumset, marimba, timpani

Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada
Publisher: Cherry Classics Music
Date of Publication: 2010 / 2021
URL: http://www.cherryclassics.com

Score and parts.

Genre: CHAMBER MUSIC

In this second volume of three, Jason Beghtol’s Fire & Ice sets music to an epic about a superhero with a bionic body. The movements from this set are entitled: III. Identity, IV. Aquarium, and V. Nemesis. The volume begins with a prose narrative for each movement and a few pages of detailed illustrations to set the context for the music that follows. Compositionally this music is quite programmatic and repetitive. There are dramatic themes, lots of intense musical textures, and a good deal of rhythmic variety in each of the movements.

This is highly accessible music that can easily be managed by most college level or strong high school level trombonists. All the parts are written in bass clef. Though the third part is listed as bass trombone, the third and fourth movements could easily be managed on a tenor trombone with an F attachment. The fifth movement however definitely requires a bass trombone as it consistently plays below the staff and down to EE-flat. The first trombone part never plays above b-flat¹ and only rarely exceeds g¹.

Compared to the trombone parts, the percussion parts are significantly more involved rhythmically. There are parts for snare drum, bass drum, 4 tom toms, 4 suspended cymbals, marimba, and timpani. Everything is written so that it can be managed by one percussionist, although it might be more practical with younger musicians to employ at least two percussionists.

Jason Beghtol’s Fire & Ice is a unique work that will definitely appeal to a variety of trombonists. It might also prove to be a fun way to introduce younger trombonists to playing in a chamber music setting.

Reviewer: Greg Strohman
Review Published January 2, 2022