Concerto 4 Friends

Concerto 4 Friends

Brass Band Oberschwaben-Allgau (Germany)

MD: Ueli Kipfer

Recorded 2016

Released 2017

This CD was produced to celebrate the 25th Anniversary of the band and focuses on 4 friends in the form of 4 soloists who enter into a dialogue with the band, featuring Euphonium, Piano with Percussion, Clarinet and Saxophone which may cause a few raised eyebrows among brass band purists!

We are most grateful to our daughter Ann for this translation, and you may find it useful to have this review to hand whilst listening to the CD,

Pastime with Good Company is attributed to Henry VIII written around 1513 and arranged by Stephen Roberts. A slight imbalance in trombones. to open but then we hear a firm crispness matched with a real sense of majesty, closing with some excellent percussion effects.

Concerto for Piano, Percussion and Band was originally composed for Wind Orchestra and piano, later arranged for brass band and is in typical concerto sequence, fast-slow-fast. Almost haunting opening with piano and percussion delivering some wonderfully descriptive sounds with occasional hints of Rhapsody in Blue and Scheherazade and very ‘orchestral sounds’ at times. Fine accompaniment from band through changes of rhythm, beat and lovely harmonies. The Lament in particular is beautifully portrayed and most effective scoring - very impressive, followed by a lovely lilting opening to the 3rd mvt which then accelerates to a breathless close.

Harlequin by Philp Sparke was composed for David Childs and introduces Euphonium soloist Klemens Vetter who displays a beautiful melancholy opening before developing into a fun interplay with the band depicting comedy and mischievousness – excellent phrasing and technique from this fine player truly enhanced by much outstanding and stylish support from the band- superb track.

Unter Zeitdruck (under time-pressure) introduces a most unusual combination with Soprano Saxophone. Michael Essl the composer describes various reactions to pressure with a dramatic opening followed by an extended obligato section from soloist Christian Segmehi. Although quite abstract sounding in places we hear some extremely detailed playing where the Saxophone and band blend together very well - very different but most intriguing!

Alpine Express by Tom Smith describes the various sounds heard at a travelling circus and the composer portrays the rides, attractions, excitement and dangers. All styles superbly captured through the Saxophone soloist who then takes us on a roller coaster ride to conclude.

Concertino for Klarinette and Band composed by Istvan Hajdu features Dimitri Ashkenazy on clarinet in the first composition for this combination, and although there are some intonation problems in opening bars there are some lovely sounds from the low brass with fine clarinet playing blends so well with the band as we are taken on a musical adventure through many moods and styles; dance, lyricism, ponderous and drama in this excellent scoring and superb clarinet playing with the soloist ending with a humourous touch to conclude.

Symphonic Suite by Leighton Lucas opens in excellent style for the Toccata, all well balanced and precise with outstanding basses here. Beautiful melodic lines in Aria which moves along in a very effective lilting style to a most well shaped close. Fugue a la Gigue is delivered in fine style and syncopated figures well marked together with great cornet section playing with good clarity to fine and how pleasing to hear a ‘good old test-piece’ again.

This has been a really intriguing experience to hear woodwind joining with brass band, yet the outcome was really quite remarkable and pleasing and much credit must go to the sound engineers and mixers in producing such a fine blend and balance.

Tracks:

1. Pastime with Good Company - Henry VIII arr: Stephen Roberts - [2.49]

   Concerto for Piano, Percussion and Brass Band - David Gillingham arr: Klaus van der Woude - Piano Soloist: Kathrin Sturzl

2     i) With Intensity - [6.51]

3    ii) Elegy - In Memoriam of Robert Hohner - [6.04]

4.  iii) With much Spirit and Drive - [7.00]

5. Harlequin - Philip Sparke - Euphonium Soloist: Klemens Vetter - [ 9.33]

6. Unter Zeitdruck (Under Time Pressure) - Michael Essl - Saxophone Soloist: Christian Segmehl -  [7.51]

7. Alpine Express - Tom Smith - Saxophone Soloist: Christian Segmehl  - [11.00]

8. Concertino for Clarinet and Brass Band - Clarinet Soloist: Dmitri Ashkenazy - [15.46]

    Symphonic Suite - Leighton Lucas

9.     i) Toccata - [3.41]

10.  ii) Aria - [4.59]

11.  iii) Fugue a la Gigue - [3.05]

 

 J. Stuart Fawcett

 

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