The Webster Cycles
Cold Blue Music
J. A. Deane, trombone
There really isn’t much you need to know about this disc. The sole note on the CD states that “The Webster Cycles (1980-81) is intended for any combination of wind instruments or voices. This realization for six trombones is dedicated with great affection to Stuart Dempster.” But you don’t even need to read that, all you need to do is sit back and listen.
The mellow and serene energy of the piece quickly permeates everything it touches. When listening to the disc, I find myself unable to concentrate on anything but the gorgeous sound pouring from my speakers. The trombone sound echoes through a vast space, the warm tones bouncing around in radiant harmonies. Peace and contemplation ring out with every note. I don’t want to just have this piece on CD. I want sit in the middle of it during a performance. I want to get 5 of my friends and perform it (once I find a suitable cistern for reverb).
This is music that enriches the soul at its most fundamental level. At first, I was afraid that the sensuous sound world of the opening 10 minutes would give way, artificially, to some other texture. There is a recurring motive that could spring into wild action and, around 12:15, the activity starts to boil over. Peters sticks to his guns, though, and lets the music just hang in the air. It doesn’t feel like a composed piece. Instead, it seems like this music has always been there and Peters merely channeled it into a form we can consume. J. A. Deane’s performance is powerful and imposing, but not in a forceful way. He draws every ounce of beauty from the score and lets it fill the space. You have to hear this music.