The Many Faces of God | Es-Dur ES2077

The Many Faces of God


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Label: Es-Dur

Cat No: ES2077

Format: CD

Number of Discs: 1

Release Date: 25th October 2019



The British trombonist and inaugural winner of the 2015 ARD Music Competition, Michael Buchanan, releases his first album The Many Faces of God on the Hamburg label Es-Dur.

On his debut release, Michael Buchanan dedicates himself to the various facets of the divine. The key element of his spiritual journey is the trombone, with its broad spectrum of tonal expression. “Despite all our differences, we all look upwards into the same sky” notes Buchanan, focusing on the commonalities between the world’s heterogeneous faiths.

The sound of the trombone in the tradition of Western “classical” art music is associated, possibly more than for any other instrument, with the divine, the beyond and the “otherworldly”. This is proven not only by the Three Equali for Four Trombones, WoO30 - which Ludwig van Beethoven composed at the request of the Linz Cathedral capellmeister Glöggl as funeral music for All Souls’ Day. In Gluck’s Orpheus and Eurydice, the trombones brilliantly represent the underworld to which Orpheus travels; in Mozart’s Don Giovanni, the instrument is used suddenly, in the final minutes of the opera, to accompany Don Giovanni’s descent into hell. Many other examples can also be found in compositions by Wagner, Mahler, Brahms and Schumann.

This tonal content of his instrument is reflected by Michael Buchanan both in original compositions - such as Keren for Solo Trombone by Iannis Xenakis, the Sonata “Vox Gabrieli” for Trombone and Piano by Stjepan Sulek: and the Cantos II and Fantasma for Trombone and Orchestra by the Japanese composer Toru Takemitsu - but also in adaptations such as the composition Kol Nidrei, op.47, by Max Bruch, which is based on two themes of Jewish origin, and the Qawwali Sufi Folk Song, which originates in the islamic Sufi mystic movement.

Michael Buchanan, multi award-winning trombone player, is 26 years old (25 at the time of recording) and based in London. At the age of 22 he was awarded the first prize and audience prize at the 2015 Munich ARD International Music Competition. This launched a solo career that lead to accolades such as the 2017 BMW-Publikumspreis at the Festspiele Mecklenburg-Vorpommern in Northern Germany and an official “debut” concert - together with the Deutsches Symphonie-Orchester Berlin - in the Berlin Philharmonie.

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