Does anyone happen to know why it is that several major trombone solos (Rimsky-Korsakov's Russian Easter Festival Overture and Scheherazade for example) are indicated in the 2nd Trombone Part rather than the Principal? By that point, alto trombones were no longer in general use, right?
This has long been a subject of discussion among trombone players.
Here's an attractive theory: "I just have read in magazine that why the solo was on 2nd... Because Russian Empelor at the Rimsky age loved music and he played the trombone on the 2nd position in certain Russian(Sankt-Peterburg?) orchestra. So you can guess the ansewer easily, Rimsky dedicated for him play such a solo."
I was just talking about this with a student this week. The answer is very straight forward and logical. The 2nd trombonist in the St Petersburg Orchestra was generally known to be having an affair with his wife. Rimsky’s way of taking revenge was to write very difficult solos for the gentleman who was not particularly skilled and humiliate him on a regular basis each concert season!