By Nicolai Rimsky-Korsakoff
Rimsky-Korsakov is best known for large-scale works – operas and symphonies, as well as chamber works, which are staples of Russian romantic music. Less-well known, however, is that he initially embarked on a career with the Russian navy.
After retiring from the service, he was appointed Inspector of Music Bands of the Navy in 1873 and held that post until 1884. During that time he familiarized himself extensively with wind and brass instruments, and composed a number of concert pieces to elevate the musical level of navy band performances. One of the pieces he wrote was the concerto for trombone and military band, a 3-movement work first performed in 1878.
The concerto shows off both the lyrical and technical aspects of the trombone. It opens right away with a heroic solo theme; moves to an introspective and lyrical middle movement; and ends in a rousing last movement heralded by trumpets and snare drum.