Reviews - CDs and DVDs

Jewels - Eminence Brass

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Eminence Brass (Quartet)

Featuring: David Childs, Philip Cobb, Owen Farr & Richard Marshall

Doyen: DOYCD296

 

 

“Eminence” is defined as  “fame or acknowledged superiority within a particular sphere” and on this recording this is completely true. Eminence Brass comprises four of the World’s best brass musicians; Philip Cobb, Richard Marshall, Owen Farr and David Childs. Now which MD wouldn’t like that set of players?

The disc is an eclectic mix of music which really shows off the pure virtuosity of these brilliant men.

Marriage of Figaro opens the recording which, in my view follows roughly a template programme for a concert. I was struck immediately by the breadth of sound and the tight ensemble.

Lascia ch’io Planga - a piece adapted from Handel follows before Philip Cobb gets to his feet as soloist in Concert Etude by Goedicke and aspiring players should listen to this as the benchmark of excellence.

Two pieces by Karl Jenkins; Hymn from Songs of Sanctuary and Palladio follow before the group go back in time to Antonio Vivaldi for his Introduction and Fugue. This music works so well for this ensemble, although I have to say with the players here, anything should work!

Choral music next with The Lamb, by John Tavener. This piece will have been written originally in four part and transcribes well.

Owen Farr takes centre stage as soloist in Finale from Concerto No. 1” for ‘Cello by Haydn. This is brilliant playing and the accompaniments are so sensitively woven.

Eminence Brass have a stated intention to champion new music and the pieces following; Simple Reel, Eminence, The Four Musketeers and The Ring of Brodgar are written by contemporary composers – Dan Price, (Christopher Bond and David Harrington having studied at the Royal Welsh College of Music) and the fourth piece from the pen of Derek Kane of the ISB.  These pieces are widely different in character and harmony  and really stretch the players, not beyond their considerable skills though!

Stars and Stripes Forever romps along next and is followed by Richard Marshall in cracking form in Napoli.

Eric Ball has left us with so much great music that we might expect something from his heavenly pen on this recording. Jewels – not one of his best known pieces and I cannot understand why we haven’t heard more of it. It is simply beautiful, lyrical and…..Eric Ball!

JB Arban provides the solo for David Childs in Carnival of Venice. If I said it was technically brilliant and superb you would reasonably say “of course”. It is, nothing more to be said here except “Bravo!”

Pokarekare Ana gives us a pause for breath before The Finale from William Tell is the finale to this ‘concert’. I marvel at the depth of sound in these complex, full-scale works that a quartet can produce. You are struggling to breathe in a full band so as not to leave gaps, so how do these guys do it?

As is right after such a concert, we get an encore in the shape of Tiger Street Rag, no I haven’t got it wrong, this piece is a mix of the two Dixieland classics and is very enjoyable.

This review has been the hardest I have ever had to write, in that I wanted to say “Brilliant, Amazing, Quality, Virtuoso etc….” about every piece but couldn’t in the interests of boredom to the reader. I didn’t say it but I should have. “Bravo again”! Truly Eminant.

 

Tracks:

1. The Marriage of Figaro, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, [4.02]
2. Lascia ch'io Pianga, George Frederic Handel, [1.51]
3. Concert Etude, Alexander Goedicke, Cornet soloist Philip Cobb, [3.07]
4. Hymn from Songs of Sanctuary, Karl Jenkins, [2.35]
5. Palladio, Karl Jenkins, [2.45]
6. Introduction & Fugue, Antonio Vivaldi, [3.28]
7. The Lamb, John Tavener, [3.24]
8. Finale from Concerto No.1, Franz Joseph Haydn, Tenor Horn soloist Owen Farr, [3.57]
9. A Simple Reel, Dan Price, [5.04]
10. Eminence, Christopher Bond, [3.42]
11. The Four Musketeers, David Harrington, [6.40]
12-14. The King of Brodgar, Derek Kane, [6.01]
(i). Spirit of Stones, [2.10]
(ii). Monument, [2.40]
(iii). Dancing Stones, [1.10]
15. Stars and Stripes Forever, John Philip Sousa, [2.16]
16. Napoli, Herman Bellstedt, Cornet soloist Richard Marshall, [5.10]
17. Jewels, Eric Ball, [4.11]
18. Carnival of Venice, Jean-Baptiste Arban, Euphonium soloist David Childs, [4.53]
19. Pokarekare Ana, Paraire Tomoana, [2.06]
20. Finale from William Tell, Gioachino Rossini, [2.59]
21. Tiger Street Rag, Euday Bowman, [4.23] 

 

Gordon Eddison