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"Bones Apart represents all that is best about British brass playing, with a beauty of sound and musicality that is simply stunning. They communicate with passion and humour and serve as wonderful ambassadors for the trombone"

Kevin Price,

Head of Music Performance,

Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama

Repertoire

Bones Apart performs a huge variety of music combining original works and skillful arrangements. To create the broadest spectrum of sonorities and range we use all the members of the trombone family: alto, tenor and bass trombones. 

The trombone (originally called the 'sackbut') dates back to the early 15th century where it was commonly used in both sacred and secular musical settings. The instrument was particularly popular with composers Giovanni Gabrieli, Claudio Monteverdi and Heinrich Schütz. In later years Ludwig van Beethoven, Anton Bruckner and Igor Stravinsky all wrote music for trombone ensemble. Beethoven wrote 'Drei Equali' for four trombones in 1812 and they were played at his funeral. The Equali were also performed at the state funeral of King Edward VII in 1910.

The sound of the trombone has often been described as the instrument closest to the human voice. Berlioz described the trombone the “true head of the family of wind instruments” and Elgar and Holst both played the trombone, in fact Gustav Holst was a member of the Scottish Orchestra, now the Royal Scottish National Orchestra.

Bones Apart has commissioned many new works for trombone quartet from composers including Gary Carpenter, Matthew Taylor, Christian Lindberg, John Kenny, Dan Jenkins and Peter Meechan.

Here are some examples of the variety of programmes we perform. We can also tailor our programme by request to suit any event. 

Wonder Women

Muses, Queens and Warriors

Hildegard von Bingen - O quam mirabilis est 

Purcell - Suite from Bonduca (Boudicca) 

Helen Vollam - Torc (2021)

Camilla de Rossi - Suite from Sant’ Alessio 

Lili and Nadia Boulanger - Vignettes (selected works)

Angela Morley - Kehaar's Theme

Saskia Apon - First Trombone Quartet  (2000)

Songs by Nina Simone, Joni Mitchell and Ann Ronell

Melba Liston - Blues Melba 

Fain and Webster - Songs from Calamity Jane

“ Bones Apart enjoys a stellar reputation for producing chamber music of the very highest standard. A real coup, then, for the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland to showcase the ensemble in its prestigious Fridays at One slot."

"... the music was brought to the stage by a chamber group at the peak of its powers in a performance of elegance, subtlety and considerable variety in tonal colour."

Mark Good, Bandsman magazine


“ It was a wonderful performance. I never knew that trombones could sound like that! “ 

Louise, audience member


“ It was absolutely fabulous. I particularly enjoyed the premiere of the new composition, but the entire programme was very well planned with a wonderful selection of pieces. “

Vicky, audience member 

“If music be the food of love…”

Music inspired by the works of William Shakespeare

Anon. - Agincourt Song

Tim Jackson - Four Shakespeare Songs (2008)

Felix Mendelssohn - Scenes from 'A Midsummer Night's Dream' 

Amy Beach - Three Shakespeare Choruses

Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky - Suite from 'Hamlet'

Jason Carr - Poem Unlimited (1999)

Cole Porter - Songs from 'Kiss me Kate'

John Dankworth - Shakespeare and all that jazz

Leonard Bernstein - West Side Story Selection

" Music by Gounod, Debussy and Mendelssohn may seem unlikely material for four trombones but this highly accomplished all-female quartet demonstrated it was not in their Shakespeare-inspired concert. The tonal variety and pliancy of musical line produced by three tenor trombones and one bass trombone was quite astonishing at times. "

Bernard Lee, Sheffield Telegraph

“ A well-conceived programme blended an array of musical styles, all inspired by the works of Shakespeare, ranging from the Baroque to Bernstein. Three movements from Purcell’s The Fairie Queen opened the concert, including a light-footed arrangement of the ‘Chaconne.’ There was also some warm, lyrical playing in Mendelssohn’s incidental music to A Midsummer Night’s Dream, with the melody, originally appearing on the French horn in the orchestral version, here beguilingly played by Jayne Murrill. “

 

Daniel Harding, Deputy Director of University Music, Kent University

" Thoroughly enjoyed your programme... classy from the first note to the last... Bravo! "

Alex, audience member

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Chasing Legends
Tales of King Arthur, Sleeping Beauty, Robin Hood, Sweeney Todd and more

Henry Purcell - Suite from 'King​ Arthur' 

Dan Jenkins - Scenes from Sherwood (2012)

Humperdinck - Abendsegen from 'Hansel and Gretel'

Ravel, Tchaikovsky, Massenet - Tales from Mother Goose

Johann Pepusch - Overture to the 'Beggar’s Opera'

Malcolm Arnold - Little Suite from 'Sweeney Todd'

Edvard Grieg - In the Hall of the Mountain King from 'Peer Gynt'

Lerner and Loewe - Songs from 'My Fair Lady'

“ Their extraordinary technical ability and expressive harmonies, innate musicality and wonderful sounds successfully seduced​​ a Leicester Lunchtime Concert audience. 

Monteverdi, Purcell, Tchaikovsky, Ravel, Massenet and Humperdinck played by trombones was like seeing composers in new clothes. Ravel’s Pavane, always moving was exquisite. Weill’s Threepenny Opera was much enhanced by a slippery, slidey Mack the Knife well-suited to the trombone’s unique glissando.

Dan Jenkins’ commission Scenes from Sherwood were literally character building from a stalwart Robin Hood to a drunken Friar Tuck. It had outlaws descending from trees and a tremendous battle with the Sherriff of Nottingham’s men.

Finally, over to Big Band mode with a tribute to the equally seductive Judy Garland in a lilting Over the Rainbow and a bouncy Get Happy. Bliss! “


Peter Baker, Leicester International Music Festival

El Nuevo Mundo
A musical voyage from the Spanish peninsula to the discovery of The Americas

Anon. - Three Pieces from the Spanish Renaissance

Zumaya - Two Arias from ‘Cantata al San Pedro’

Trad./Elizabeth Purnell - Five Spirituals

Gershwin - Three Preludes

Nazareth, Gonzaga, Ayala - Choros y Tangos

Rodriguez - La Cumparsita

Piazzolla - Postcards from Argentina

Abreu - Tico Tico non fuba

"In their concert they showed the RNCM brass students just how things should be done, with a flawless concert, demonstrating perfect balance, intonation, and their wonderful musical versatility. The place has buzzed with enthusiasm ever since their visit. A wonderful example to any young group who are wondering where to go in their musical life."


John Miller, Director of Brass Studies, Royal Northern College of Music, Manchester 

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Great American Songbook
The iconic sounds of America

Traditional/Copland - Old American Songs

Eric Ewazen - Myths and Legends (2001)

Undine Smith Moore - We shall walk through the valley

Arthur Pryor - Variations on Annie Laurie

Gershwin - Three Preludes

Foster - Jeanie with the light brown hair

Ellington - Such Sweet Thunder

Martin & Blane - The Trolley Song

A Portrait of Ella’ - songs by Harold Arlen, Ann Ronell, Jimmy van Heusen, Richard Rodgers & Lorenz Hart


“ Each movement had such a wonderful musicality and excitement. I loved the dramatic intensity and wonderful resonance with which you played the first movement, with your kaleidoscopic colours throughout. Your gorgeous blend, and chorale-like sound in the second movement was simply gorgeous, and your singing and expressive interpretation of all the melodies made the music so powerful! In the virtuoso solo passages, your playing was dazzling!

It means SO much to a composer to have their music played and recorded with such care, such fantastic attention to detail, and such beauty!!! 

All my best to you from New York City! “

Eric Ewazen, composer

La Fiesta!

the sizzling splendour of Spain 

Rossini - Overture to 'The Barber of Seville'

Anon. - Three Pieces from the Spanish Renaissance

Christian Lindberg - Vivencies (2004)

Albeniz - Tango from ‘España’

Gimenez - Intermedio from ‘La Boda de Luis Alonso’

Bizet - Suite from ‘Carmen’

Torroba, Llobet, De Falla - Suite Para Guitarra

Dan Jenkins - Señoras (2010)

Latinolé: songs by Chick Corea, Consuelo Velásquez and Victor Youmans

 

Yule Love This!
Christmas with Bones Apart

Prokofiev - Troika from 'Lieutenant Kijé’

Leontovych - Carol of the Bells

Berlioz - Shepherds' Farewell 

Tchaikovsky - Suite from 'The Nutcracker'

Fauré - Il est né, le divin Enfant 

Holst - In The Bleak Midwinter

Hely-Hutchinson - The First Nowell

Gruber - Silent Night

...and some Swinging Christmas favourites!

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