"Working Together with the ASB Is Awesome"

This article is taken from an interview with bass trombone soloist Ben van Dijk about his forthcoming solo recording, accompanied by the Amsterdam Staff Band, as published in the Dutch Salvation Army magazine InterCom. The article was submitted to the Brass Crest by Steef Klepke.

Ben van Dijk is one of the greatest bass trombonists in the world. He plays with the Rotterdam Philharmonic Orchestra and is on the faculty of the Conservatorium van Amsterdam. He travels literally the world over to give master classes and workshops. However, to accompany him on his latest solo recording, he didn’t choose a specially brought-together ensemble nor a professional orchestra. Instead, he chose the Amsterdam Staff Band of the Salvation Army. Why, exactly?

The first joint gig already tasted like more. This was during the Salvation Army’s Spring Festival in 2009 where I was featured as guest soloist, which I enjoyed so much that I instantly agreed to join them for the CD recording Rendez-Vous. During this recording, which happened in March 2011, I got to know the band, their mentality, their enormous “drive”, their great fun and friendship, and the beautiful, warm, clear sounds that they produce. Added to this the perfect cooperation and feeling between them and me, formed an excellent basis for playing together.

Van Dijk’s fifth and newest solo recording is entitled World Concerto.

The idea for this CD came from one of the Amsterdam Staff Bandsmen. He asked me why I never had done a recording with brass band accompaniment. This really got me thinking. There are relatively very few recordings of bass trombone with brass band, so that would be of added value anyway. For the repertoire on World Concerto, I approached the Belgian composer Steven Verhelst to, next to the title track, that is also featured on Rendez-Vous, write other new works for bass trombone and brass band. Steven himself is also a bass trombonist, and one of my former students, and writes since several years music professionally, for brass band, wind band and other combinations. Steven has a completely recognizable way of writing in his compositions. On top of this, he knows like no one else what I can and want in a composition for bass trombone.

Quite remarkable is that, among the track list of secular music, one can find some traditional Salvation Army titles. These include a new arrangement of the Founder’s Song, O Boundless Salvation, as well as the hymn by John Stainer associated with the words “God so loved the world” based on John 3:16.

My personal feelings and emotions are probably a little different than these of the Amsterdam Staff Bandsmen, but I play it with my heart, just because it’s fantastic music. All in all, it’s a beautiful recording; the result of an extraordinary collaboration. You will hear that immediately. The CD is due for around April, and I hope that any listener will enjoy listening as much as we did recording it.

The total repertoire of the recording is as follows (in no particular order). All items were composed/arranged by Steven Verhelst.

1 A Song for Japan
2 O Boundless Salvation
  World Concerto
3       Allegro
4       Andante
5       Allegretto
6       Part I
7       Part II
8       Part III
  Piazolla Medley
9       Libertango
10       Oblivion
11       Escualo
12 God So Loved the World
13 Shenandoah
14 Na Sopkah Manchurri

Article submitted by Steef Klepke