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MP3 Norman Bolter - Occurrences

Contemporary trombone with classical roots and mystical nuance. The "thinking trombonist," also touches heart and soul with sounds both hauntingly familiar and out of this world.

21 MP3 Songs
CLASSICAL: Contemporary

From "Occurrences" CD Liner Notes:

"Occurrences," they happen every day, to you and me and everyone. Sometimes monumental, often seeming small, but all shape us, and history, in one way of another. And they attract things, things seen and unseen, things that contribute to next unfoldings, perceptions, possibilities. In ancient times, within cave, a hand painted on a rock, a sign, a signature. Someone was there before. They wanted you to know. In a far off copse, a tree, witness to generations of comings and goings, human war and strife, love and hope, she holds these things, feels them still, and tells her story. Closer in time, a glimpse of future now, twilight on a swing, there, in the sky! Then gone. Nearer to now, a walk by the lake, backward cascading in ones mind, reviewing life, ones own life, a complex weave of what is, was, and might yet.., even after one is gone, because one lived and left a mark, a trace that could be taken up, furthered. It''s the hope, isn''t it? To have lived and mattered. The many stories, human stories and what joins, even now, to help elevate and move the story on. Occurrences, they happen every day, to you and me and everyone. Occurrences, living history and new appearance.
– C. Viera

In all of our recordings, we seek to preserve the "live" quality that is a vital part of "essence music" (music as a living thing). This recording was produced with a minimum number of edits – some pieces, including the live performances, of course, have no edits. Since, for us, technical exactness is not governing over feelings of being safe and free and connected to the music, there are many kinds of real life moments throughout this recording, deliberately left on the recording, because life is like that - someone audibly hits their mute, someone hits an exhilarating run, an attack not quite textbook perfect, a brilliantly suspended long tone, a sigh of fatigue, a joyous laugh. And so it goes. Within this natural human place, we hope you enjoy the music of life''s perfect imperfection….

Music by Norman Bolter
Produced by Carol Viera
Engineered by Patrick Keating
Performed by Norman Bolter (tenor trombone, T-horn) together with other world-class trombonists, Darren J. Acosta (tenor, T-horn), Mark Cantrell (bass), John Faieta (tenor), James Nova (tenor), R. Douglas Wright (tenor) and Douglas Yeo (bass) and pianist, John Ferguson, performing as the Frequency Band®.

About the individual pieces:

"Persian Immortals," for two T-horns and two tenor trombones (2:30). Norman Bolter and Darren Acosta, T-horns, John Faieta and James Nova, tenor trombones; recorded 2002, Jordan Hall, Boston.
Written in June 2002, "Persian Immortals" opens the recording, "Occurrences." Drawing on a legend from ancient times, this music opens with sounds that have been identified by some listeners as ''percussion'' and ''clapping.'' In fact, they are foot steps, marching. The T-horns are not tenor horns or other classic instruments. They are modified trombones, using only the bell section without the slide, adapted to evoke an ancient sound and feeling. These seemingly odd musical decisions were not made for the sake of oddity, but are intended to evoke the feelings and effects of the legend, which has everything to do with ''space clearing.'' 

"La Grotte Cosquer," tenor and bass trombone duet (7:34). Norman Bolter, tenor trombone, and Douglas Yeo, bass trombone, live performance in
Jordan Hall, Boston, 1998.
Written in February 1996, "La Grotte Cosquer" (Cosquer''s Cave) was inspired by a captivating lecture/slide presentation by Monsieur Cosquer during which the explorer vividly recounted his discovery of an astonishing underwater cave whilst scuba diving off the coast of France. The composer was awed by the brilliant colors of the stalactites and stalagmites found inside the cave.... But the truly extraordinary discovery, for Cosquer and for the composer upon seeing Cosquer''s evidence, was the unexpected discovery of the presence of ancient human life. Found in various places throughout the cave are the oldest known Paleolithic cave paintings left to us by ancient man.... This duet for tenor and bass trombone involves a wide range of techniques used by each of the players individually, as well as to the two players in partnership. Both the tenor and bass trombone parts cover vast dynamic contrasts as well as demanding register changes. Also, "La Grotte Cosquer" demonstrates the trombonists'' playing in tune in octaves. As well, the piece incorporates some extended contemporary techniques, such as mouthpiece popping (lightly tapping on the mouthpiece while it is still in the horn) and speaking certain consonants through the horn to create some rather interesting effects.... 

"The Archer," tenor trombone duet (3:36). Norman Bolter and James Nova, recorded 2002, Jordan Hall, Boston.
Written in June 2002, "The Archer" was inspired by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle''s book, "The White Company." ... Samkin Aylward, the head archer of the White Company, along with his fellow archers served as the primary inspiration for this duet. In an earlier work by the composer, "The White Company Quartet" for trombone quartet, Samkin is portrayed from the standpoint of his outward personality - robust, humorous and bold. In "The Archer," his function as warrior is more specifically highlighted, through the expression of his high energy, intense focus and always present alertness. Yet Samkin''s life was a balanced life and so this portrayal is not without moments of ease and inner contemplation.... The opening measures of "The Archer" portray the dynamic intensity of ''firing'' the arrows and their ''whizzing'' towards their targets.... 

"Occurrence," tenor trombone duet (7:57). Norman Bolter and R. Douglas Wright, tenor trombones; world premiere performance in Jordan Hall,
Boston, 1996.
Written in May 1995, "Occurrence" tells the story, from the composer''s childhood, of a strange and curious experience which happened in August 1966.... The composer... was 11-years-old at the time.... [Early one] evening, [he was] outside alone - sitting on his swing, his flashlight in hand, feeling quiet and still.... Then, something changed.... At that moment, he looked up at the sky to his right and there he saw a red-orange, cigar-shaped object moving silently across the sky. Suddenly, a car honked; he turned his head and the object in the sky disappeared...! The composer was frantic, but he knew he could tell no one because they would never believe him.... Yet the next morning brought with it curious confirmation. The composer''s grandmother ran to him, flashing the newspaper and saying, "By golly, you were right! Look at this!" The headline read, "UFOs Flash Over Twin Cities: Picked Up by Radar. Hundreds of Witnesses." ...This technically and musically demanding duet for two tenor trombones incorporates several sophisticated techniques: a very demanding range from low to high in all dynamic contrasts, various articulation and tempo changes and the need to ''switch gears'' quickly. Other techniques called upon are the use of the Harmon mute with the various open and closed designations and the players¹ ability to sing and play at the same time.... 

"In Ceremony," tenor and bass trombone duet (2:13). Norman Bolter, tenor trombone, and Mark Cantrell, bass trombone; written 1994, recorded 2002.
This piece was written in 1994 for friends Douglas and Laurinda Sager Wright''s wedding. It was specifically written for the candle lighting ceremony (and was originally played on that occasion by Norman Bolter and Douglas Yeo). The groom later said that when he heard the music, his nerves just melted away. Likewise, this music might be useful in helping the listener unwind from tension and tightness, as well as fostering a more dwelling, contemplative mood.

"Impressions," for unaccompanied tenor trombone, includes:
"Avebury Impression" (0:53) and "Ila" (2:32). Norman Bolter, tenor trombone,
world premiere performance in Pickman Concert Hall, Cambridge, 2000.
Oftentimes, the most powerful things can be found in the very small worlds, such as the potency and possibility found in a seed. And a first impression can go very deep and be very lasting, even growing over time beyond the impression of the moment. In this piece, "Avebury" and "Ila" are very much seeds. And oftentimes, music comes to the composer in ''seed'' form, either as a few notes or as a melody. Both of these "Impressions" appeared during a trip to England and Wales in 1999, "Avebury" whilst standing by one of the huge stones forming the stone circle there, and "Ila" whilst coming a across a very special tree in a copse behind an old estate in Wales. Both had stories to tell. These ''essence impressions'' are presented here as they appeared, as musical seeds. For listeners who are open, these seeds might unfold in you.

"Indian Sand Painting > ANEW," for unaccompanied tenor trombone (4:42).
Norman Bolter, tenor trombone, world premiere performance in Jordan Hall, Boston, 2001.
This piece is intended as a sonic expression of the essence of an Indian sand painting. Indian sand paintings were (and sometimes still are) ''functional'' art, coming out of the Native American tradition. They were created by using grains of sand of various colors to ''draw'' special patterns for a specific purpose, such as healing. The sand painting, created with great reverence and respect, acted as an ''anchorage'' for the energies being called upon to help. When the ceremony was completed, the sands were "put away," that is, collected and returned to the earth. They were one time ''occurrences.'' In this sonic example from a live performance, which also included special movements, the intention was to create an Indian sand painting in theatre rather than sand, engaging specific frequencies for the benefit of audience and performer, for the purpose of that moment and those who will now hear this recording. There is no written music and none will be written. It is an Indian sand painting. 

"Appearance," tenor trombone duet, two movements:
"Welcoming the Goddess" (5:13) and "Abide with Me" (1:34). Norman Bolter and Darren Acosta, tenor trombones; written and recorded 2002,
Florence Gould Auditorium, Ozawa Hall, Tanglewood, Lenox, Massachusetts.
"Welcoming the Goddess" and "Abide with Me" were written in 2002 in response to the potently moving impression that the female face of God is currently making a special kind of ''appearance,'' a much needed appearance in the world today. This piece was recorded in the middle of the night, in an empty concert hall, in the woods, surrounded by stillness and peace.

"The Blue of Neptune," for solo bass trombone and tenor trombone trio (3:42). Mark Cantrell, bass trombone; Norman Bolter, Darren Acosta and James Nova, tenor trombones; recorded 2002, Jordan Hall, Boston.
Written in June 1997, "The Blue of Neptune" was inspired by a satellite photograph of the planet Neptune which captured the composer''s attention and imagination. This photo portrayed the planet''s rich deep blue cloud cover with breathtaking clarity.... Playing this piece as intended requires that the players be patient, slowing their own internal speeds way down, letting go of feelings of time as we are used to experiencing it, and allowing oneself to drift into the vast ocean of the blue of Neptune.... From inside this connection, it is no mystery that our mythological god Neptune rules from the depths of the ocean..... 

"3 Faces," for unaccompanied tenor trombone in three movements:
"Finding It," "Within" and "Look Mom, No Hands!" (5:37). Darren Acosta, tenor trombone; recorded 2002, Jordan Hall, Boston.
"3 Faces" was written in 1999 for our friend, colleague, great Frequency Band supporter and Norman''s former student, Darren J. Acosta. Darren is a truly virtuosic trombonist and when the composer wrote "3 Faces," all he had to do was think of Darren and the music appeared, followed by each movement''s title. ...Each movement is very unique, ... This piece requires the player to change mood quickly... The second movement requires the use of the Harmon mute and the ability to sing and play at the same time....

"Sagittarius2," for bass trombone and piano (9:14). Mark Cantrell, bass trombone, and John Ferguson, piano; recorded 2002, Jordan Hall, Boston.
Written in April and May of 2002, "Sagittarius2" is one of two pieces commissioned by the Zellmer-Minnesota Orchestra Trombone Competition.... 
"Sagittarius2" is related to the life of Steven Zellmer in various ways. Yet unlike Morning Walk, which is a musical portrait of Mr. Zellmer, "Sagittarius2" is not a personal portrait and, in that way, has more oblique reference to Mr. Zellmer himself. Nevertheless, the influences of Sagittarius and the number 2 were not at all oblique to Mr. Zellmer own life. He was, after all, a Sagittarius with the root number 2.... ..."Sagittarius2" is, first and foremost, a musical interweave of the features of Sagittarius (a fire sign, masculine in nature, governed by the planet Jupiter and symbolized by the Archer Centaur) and the number 2 (which is feminine, hidden and receptive).

"Swallows," for unaccompanied tenor trombone, includes:
"Happy 75th, John!" (1:45) and "After a Call" (1:38). Norman Bolter, tenor trombone; recorded 2002, Jordan Hall, Boston.
During the 1998-1999 orchestral season, the composer took a sabbatical from the Boston Symphony Orchestra, accepting a position as trombone professor at the University of South Florida in Tampa during that period. At the time, John Swallow, whom the composer studied with while a student at the New England Conservatory in Boston, was in the area visiting family. This made for a happy coincidence of events, including the creation of the two unaccompanied solos, "Happy 75th, John!" and "After a Call," the two works which make up the collection "Swallows".... "Happy 75th, John!" expresses reflection, flexibility, agility, fluidity, child-like qualities and freedom.... "After a Call" evokes a dialogue between two people... 

"Morning Walk,"for trombone and piano (9:25). Norman Bolter, tenor trombone, and John Ferguson, piano; recorded 2002, Jordan Hall, Boston.
Written in February 2002, "Morning Walk" is one of two pieces commissioned by the Zellmer-Minnesota Orchestra Trombone Competition....
"Morning Walk" is a musical ''portrait'' of Steven Zellmer. It portrays Mr. Zellmer on a walk around Cedar Lake accompanied by his two bull dogs on a mild winter''s morning. Highlighted during this walk are the myriad of thoughts that could have played through Mr. Zellmer''s mind at the time. This expression of the subject''s inner world affords the listener a glimpse into a complex and multifaceted life, which, in turn, touches and stirs memories, hopes and searchings that lie in each of us.....

What Others Say....

"''Occurrences,'' took me aback with it''s color and imagination. What a unique sound the trombone must have in Norman''s head, and what larger circles he must be seeing. I find the music subtle, even in its occasional explosions, and simple, even in its bigger meanings. It isn''t music that one listens to often, I think, for a number of reasons. First, we don''t hear much of it. Because of that, we don''t recognize it. It''s not that we haven''t heard music before, but usually there is so much other stuff in the way that the music goes at best unheard, at worst unplayed. Second, it isn''t music that thrusts itself upon you. Norman''s music requires things from the listener, mostly mindfulness."
- Dr. Richard Human Jr., Assistant Professor of Music, Mississippi State University; Founder and Webmaster, Online Trombone Journal

"WOW! The places this music has touched in me...the beauty, the joy, the sorrow, and the quiet calm....I can''t really put into words the experience just yet. All I can say is Thank You for sharing this with me and touching my emotions (across the board of emotions) the way you have. It''s truly wonderful music and the playing is EXTRAORDINARY."
- R. Douglas Wright, Principal Trombonist, Minnesota Orchestra

"Just when I pluck up the courage to have a go at some of your other pieces, you go and raise the bar again - fabulous playing."
- Peter Maunder, Trombonist, New Zealand Symphony Orchestra

Norman Bolter''s Bio
Born in Minneapolis, Minnesota, Norman Bolter was first inspired to play the trombone when, at age four, he saw the Captain Kangaroo television show character, "Mr. Greenjeans," play the same instrument. Mr. Bolter began his formal trombone studies at age nine with Ed VonHoff of the St. Paul Public School System. Later, he studied with Ronald Rickets and Steven Zellmer of the Minnesota Orchestra and with John Swallow at the New England Conservatory. Mr. Bolter is very thankful to these teachers and to former Boston Symphony Orchestra principal bassoonist, Sherman Walt, not only for their technical and musical assistance but also for their encouragement and nurturance of his love of music and trombone playing.

A Tanglewood Fellow and C. D. Jackson Award winner, Mr. Bolter joined the Boston Symphony Orchestra in 1975 at age 20, becoming the youngest member of the orchestra at that time. As well, he is principal trombonist of the Boston Pops Orchestra and was a founding member of the Empire Brass Quintet, which won the prestigious Walter H. Naumberg Award in Chamber Music, the first brass ensemble ever to win this award. Mr. Bolter has appeared, as a member of the Boston Pops Orchestra, on the televised PBS favorite "Evening at Pops" with Arthur Fiedler, John Williams and Keith Lockhart as conductors. He has toured extensively in the U.S., Europe, Asia and South America with the BSO, the Pops and the Empire Brass and has made many recordings with them. He also appears as principal trombonist on recordings with Orchestre National Bordeaux Aquitaine. Furthermore, Mr. Bolter appears as soloist and conductor on four recordings of his own compositions, "Experiments in Music," "Anew at Home," "Occurrences" and "In Living Continuance." In addition to his numerous trombone solos, Mr. Bolter performed the acclaimed euphonium solo in the BSO recording of Mahler''s "Symphony No. 7 " (Philips Classics Productions, 1990) and also played euphonium on the Minnesota Orchestra recording of "Ein Heldenleben" by Richard Strauss.

Mr. Bolter has composed music from a very early age, with the last thirteen years witnessing an outpouring of new works winning him acclaim as a composer both in the US and abroad. In addition to his own recordings of these works, Mr. Bolter''s compositions have appeared on recordings by New York Philharmonic principal trombonist Joseph Alessi, Boston Symphony Orchestra bass trombonist Douglas Yeo, Boston Symphony Orchestra principal trombonist Ronald Barron, and Los Angeles Philharmonic co-principal trombonist James Miller. Further, his compositions have been performed throughout the world, with performances in Europe, Asia, Australia, New Zealand, South America and the US. Amongst the many who have given live solo performances of Mr. Bolter''s works are: Joseph Alessi ("Arctic Emanations" for trombone and piano), Ronald Barron ("Sky Dreams" for alto trombone and piano), Scott Hartman ("Trees" for alto trombone and orchestra), Randall Montgomery ("Clouncey" for tuba and piano and "Keepers of the Cosmic Sea" for solo tuba and brass ensemble with percussion), Richard Sebring ("Nautilus" for solo horn and brass ensemble with percussion), Charles Schlueter ("On the Cusp" for solo trumpet and brass ensemble with percussion, "Immersions" for solo trumpet and "Marsha''s Gift" for trumpet and piano), Charles Vernon ("Of Mountains, Lakes and Trees" for solo bass, tenor and alto trombones and orchestra, and "Sagittarius2" for bass trombone and piano), R. Douglas Wright ("Solar Voyages" for solo trombone and brass ensemble; "Lakes" for solo tenor trombone and orchestra) Douglas Yeo ("Of Mountains" for solo bass trombone and orchestra) and Jacques Zoon ("In the Place of Wild Lavender" for flute, horn and cello).

Mr. Bolter''s works have been commissioned by Joseph Alessi ("Arctic Emanations" for trombone and piano), Pro Arte Chamber Orchestra of Boston ("IOURS" for trombone and chamber orchestra), the Zellmer-Minnesota Trombone Competition ("Morning Walk" for tenor trombone and piano, "Sagittarius2" for bass trombone and piano), Mike Roylance ("Night of the Soul" for tuba trio), Peter Chapman ("Immersions" for unaccompanied solo trumpet), the Online Trombone Journal ("The Joy in Being Able" for trombone and piano), the University of St. Thomas ("A White Company Overture" for concert band) and others. In his numerous compositions (over 200 created to date), Mr. Bolter explores creating "essence music" (music as a living thing) inspired by the natural worlds and the human story. His compositions have a broad range of instrumentation, including works for a variety of solo instruments (trombone, trumpet, tuba, horn, flute, didjeridoo, ram''s horn, serpent and others), brass ensemble, trombone choir, concert band, brass band, mixed chamber ensemble and orchestra. Notably, Mr. Bolter has composed more music for the trombone that any other composer.

A renowned teacher, Mr. Bolter serves on the faculties of New England Conservatory, Boston Conservatory and Longy School of Music. Many of his students hold positions in major symphony orchestras, chamber music groups and universities around the world. In addition to conducting regular master classes, Mr. Bolter holds special Frequency Band workshops, co-conducted with his wife, entertainment psychologist Dr. Carol Viera. Mr. Bolter also is co-author, with Dr. Viera, of several papers and booklets, including "Methods of Effective Practice," "High Range Exercises," "It''s Not All in the Air" and "The Metronome Meditation." He also has written a unique sight reading book for advanced trombone players, "Reading at the Speed of Sight." All of these works are available for purchase on the Air-ev Productions website. Mr. Bolter offers private lessons, as his schedule permits, in which players can experience for themselves his unique and effective one-to-one instruction.

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