Jan Bark/Folke Rabe: Bolos for four trombones

In 1962, when still studying at the Royal College of Music in Stockholm, Jan Bark and I were asked by the Swedish Broadcasting Corp. to make a radio program about unconventional playing techniques on brass instruments.  We are both trombone players with a jazz background so many of our examples were compiled from jazz records. In the end of the program we decided to give a demonstration of how these playing techniques could be used in a contemporary composition context, i.e. picked out of their jazz tradition environment and used in a graphic score of the kind we were working with in the '60:ies. We definitely did not want to make any kind of "third stream" mixture between the two traditions.

The radio program caused some sensation and we were asked to perform this new composition live. The piece was given the name "Bolos" and was also given a new ending. When the expression reached a peak of violence where it did not seem possible to continue with sounds only we allowed the form to blast into other means of expression.

We formed an ensemble for performing Bolos, The Culture Quartet. We also composed new works for trombone quartet and performed them internationally in concert and television during the '60:ies and early '70:ies. Bolos has been performed by other trombone quartets as well, especially in the U.S.A.

February 1997

(Jan Bark &) Folke Rabe