Posted By kerryturner on April 28, 2009
Twelve years ago, during an AHQ trip to Hong Kong, I met up with the Mr. Phil Brink, who was at that time, the bass-trombonist in the Hong Kong Philharmonic. Phil wanted to commission me to compose a concerto for his instrument. It was a strange time for me in my life. I was going through some serious changes. And I was suffering badly from writer`s block. I told Phil as much. But he remained confident and patient, encouraging me to take my time and wait until the muse inspires. We put no dead-line on the commission.
About two years later, I personally handed the score over to Phil during another visit to the Hong Kong Academy of Performing Arts. I really was not terribly sure that I was presenting him with a work that was consistent with the high quality of my other pieces. Phil took the score with gratitude, and I didn`t hear a lot about it after that. I knew that there was some activity concerning the rearranging of the first movement for band and there was even a performance of this in Paris quite a few years ago. But the work, as far as I know, remained unplayed.
Then in 2008, I received an e-mail from Phil Brink informing me that he was planning to perform the Bass-Trombone Concerto with his new orchestra, the Thailand Philharmonic. He had apparently been practicing the part like a fiend and had become totally convinced that the work was indeed worthy of performance. He kept me informed about the progress on scheduling the work and was duly excited when it was indeed programmed on the 2008-2009 season. He even invited me to Thailand for the world premier! Coincidently enough, I had already booked a CD recording project in Warsaw in the very same week. As a matter of fact, my brother Kyle Turner was scheduled to record the tuba version of the concerto. Kyle had seen the score back several years ago and had expressed an interest in performing-recording it. It was by sheer chance that the two performances were due to take place the same week. I sent flowers to Phil Brink for the world premier of the Bass-Trombone Concerto. I heard that it was a success. And I was told that it had been filmed and recorded and would eventually be available on YouTube. And lo and behold, it is! And here is the link:
This is a truly splendid rendition of the concerto. It was really exactly as I wanted it. And it is astonishingly similar to the interpretation my brother had offered in the version for tuba. I am indeed quite proud of the work. And I am very grateful to Phil Brink for having commissioned me and for having not lost confidence in my creative talent. Phil Brink is the instructor of trombone at the College of Music at Mahidol University in Thailand.
The CD recording with my brother Kyle Turner`s version on tuba will be released on the Albany label, within the year on the album entitled “Karankawa”.