Gospel Song Fantasy
by Bruce Stark
(trombone and piano)
The beauty, depth, fervor and spiritual message of gospel music has inspired listeners and musicians the world over. In Gospel Song Fantasy the melodies of many well-known African-American spirituals (the roots of gospel music) appear: Amen, Michael Row The Boat Ashore, Joshua Fought The Battle Of Jericho, Amazing Grace, Just A Closer Walk, and Swing Low, Sweet Chariot. While similar to a medley, I chose to call this a fantasy because of the many improvisation-like passages, the atmospheric character of the opening Amen, and the freedom with which I treated the material throughout.
The piece was composed in 2002 for trombonist Megumi Kanda—to whom I am most grateful for advice and encouragement—for her CD Amazing Grace (Victor Entertainment in Japan, Albany Records in the U.S.). It was written with the intention of creating a vehicle of expression for the trombone's unique qualities, from somber lyricism to robust, rhythmic brilliance.
Finally, a deeply felt thanks goes to the many composers and lyricists who gave us these enduring tunes, for the songs have given hope, strength and spiritual nourishment to countless people through the years.
— Bruce Stark