Reviews - CDs and DVDs

The Art of Brass

The Art of Brass CROPPED 0001

Cory Band

MD: Philip Harper 

Doyen Label: DOY CD382




This new CD illustrates some truly brilliant brass playing as well as demonstrating the enormous influence visual arts have had on music.

An astounding Sandy Smith arrangement of Valero opens this superb programme before leading into one of our favourite old overtures Pique Dame, possibly von Suppe’s most popular concert overture. I’m sure many of us have spent several hours with our local band playing this piece in our Sunday afternoon park concerts; but the playing of this T C Brown arrangement is quite stunning.

Principal Cornet Tom Hutchinson takes up the first solo spot with a spellbinding performance of Debussy’s The Girl With The Flaxen Hair, such wonderful expansive phrasing and sensitive, sonorous accompaniment by the band.

The following pieces are a set of six items premiered by Cory at last year’s Brass in Concert from the Sage, and basically features music influenced by the record sleeve artwork of the   Beatles Sgt. Pepper’ Lonely Hearts Club. The band are also joined by Steven Hamnet from the group Only Boys Allowed, a most enjoyable contrast, and the feeling of fun is transmitted through the next three tracks until we reach a truly sublime laid-back rendition of that famous Duke Ellington’s Mood Indigo, really top quality playing!

In contrast follows Philip Harper’s composition based on Dylan Thomas’s poem And Death Shall Have No Dominion when soloist Glen Williams on euphonium expertly takes us through the initial grieving into a later feeling of having overcome these setbacks.

East Meets West with its rhythmic and pulsating melodies is an excellent Philip Harper composition demonstrating that the high brow and traditional can fuse together to overcome many problems.

Two Scandinavian pieces composed by Peder Karlsson and Jan Magne Forde follow with Gota, almost vocal in effect and Domen which feature Helen Williams on flugel during this very descriptive work as we meander through the hushed atmosphere of the cathedral.

We are immediately into an effective take on Tarot cards as composer Andy Wareham when a misterioso opening suddenly explodes into some exhilarating effects during Tarot, Tortuos, Tarot

Stand by now for some quite electrifying sound as Philip Harper presents his incredible arrangement of Vivaldi’s Four Seasons, played in disco-style (which may not please any purist) but absolutely brilliant playing right around the band, Bravo!

The final work on this C D features Howard Snell’s epic work Gallery. This a six movement piece where, as in Pictures at an Exhibition, each little number is musically described , concluding with a mighty finale.

Cory Band yet again are bang in form and these preceding works really demonstrate the musicality and technique of all the players, together with quite an outstanding musical director.


1. Valero - James Swearington arr: Sandy Smith - [2.26]

2. Pique Dame - Suppe arr: T.C.Brown - [7.40]

3. The Girl with the Flaxen Hair - Debussy arr: Peter Parkes - [2.53]

4. Sergeant Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band - Vocalist: Stephen Hamnett - Paul McCartney arr: Philip Harper - [2.10]

5. With a little help from my Friends - Paul McCartney arr: Philip Harper - [3.46]

6. Captain from Castile - Alfred Newman arr: Philip Harper - [3.36]

7. Mood Indigo - Duke Ellington arr: Philip Harper - [4.26]

8. And Death shall have no Dominion - Euphonium Soloist: Glyn Williams - Philip Harper - [5.08]

9. East meets West - Philip Harper - [5.57]

10. Gota - Peder Karlsson arr: Tina Kvamme - [4.25]

11. Domen - Flugel Horn Soloist Helen Williams - Jan Magne Forde - [4.38]

12. Tarot ! Tortuous Tarot ! - Andy Wareham - [5.28]

13. The Four Seasons - Vivaldi arr: Philip Harper - [3.02]

14. -  20. Gallery - Howard Snell

i) Entrance - [0.34]

ii) Street Market - [2.12]

iii) The Skater's Waltz - [3.16]

iv) The March back to Camp - [3.53]

v) Love Story - [4.46]

vi) Cut-outs - [3.55]

vii) Landscapes - [3.10]

J. Stuart Fawcett