Friday, March 25, 2016

Familiar Favorite Composer and Performer

We have survived the brief period of cold, rain, and storms and shall proceed with this blog as planned.

Today’s post features a brass septet by a composer I had only recently discovered due to the research of my colleague Megan Small.  The composer’s name is Frigyes Hidas (don’t ask me to pronounce his name) and this is his brass septet in six movements.  Hidas’s concerto for horn and orchestra is a wonderful piece of music and so I was pleased to discover that this is also a very fine piece of music as well.  The performers do this piece justice as well with a good sense of style and cohesion as an ensemble.  I had met the horn player in this recording briefly while he was finishing he up his undergraduate degree at my former college, the University of Dayton, and he is one of the finest players I’ve met.

The full performance can be found with this link.

Monday, March 21, 2016

A Recital Worth Listening To

Out of the wonders of Spring Break, and back into the doldrums of school life brings with us a new post and a new work (several actually).

This has to be one of my favorites so far as the performance is not only well-played and fun to listen to, but it is a professional recital of a variety of works for this ensemble.  The ensemble I am talking about is the Philip Jones Brass Ensemble, and this video is taken from a concert they gave at St. George’s in what I am assuming is England.  

I was searching for appropriate brass ensembles now that I have left the homogenous scene for a bit, and, since we were already talking about the PJBE today in class, I figured I would take a look at this video and I was pretty pleased with the music they performed.  

In order, the works are:

The Arrival of the Queen of Sheba by Handel arr. by Paul Archibald
Five Dances by Praetorius arr. by Peter Reeve
Diferencias by Leonard Salzedo
London Miniatures by Gordon Langford
The King’s Hunting Jig by John Bull arr. by Elgar Howarth

Not only is the playing really good, but listening to the dry sense of humor presented by Mr. Jones as well is a plus.

Friday, March 4, 2016

Back to Mediocrity Homogeny

Happy Friday (if it still is Friday when this is posted).

Back to the homogeneous genres we go with some low brass ensembles.  There will be one video and the ensemble of choice is the University of Wisconsin tuba euphonium ensemble.

The first one is titled Variations on The New World Symphony.  It is an interesting arrangement of the second movement from Symphony No. 9 by Antonin Dvorak and features many changes and additions to this familiar movement.  I can’t say I agree with all, or even most of the changes as this movement is already a masterpiece in my opinion and these additions don’t really add anything worth adding.  It is wonderfully played however, and the soloist in particular was nice and expressive.  

(I would also like to mention that this movement, of all movements in this symphony, was chosen for a tuba euphonium ensemble.  This could be a coincidence or maybe Mr. James Woodward took inspiration from the fact that this is the only movement that features tuba in the entire symphony).

Here is a link to the piece.

Thursday, March 3, 2016

A Brief Break is Necessary to Account for Yesterday's Presentation

Let us say hello again to this snowless-Thursday (thank goodness).

I’ll be breaking up the homogenous theme for just a moment in this post as it is now the day after my listening presentation in ABEL, and I am required to blog about the some of the stuff that I posted.  I will also be sharing links at the end of this post to each of the pieces that I shared in class yesterday.  

I was able to get through five pieces yesterday, all with a wide range of repertoire and styles that I am pretty happy about.  They are Fanfare for a Bowl Concert by Arnold Schoenberg, Sonata Pian e Forte by Gabrieli, Sonata for Brass Quintet and Tape Recorder by Csaba Szabo, Hungarian Schnapsodie by Leonhard Paul, and Triangles by John Stevens.

I would like to make a couple of notes on two of the pieces before presenting the links.  I had mentioned that the Gabrieli was a live recording done in the Festival des Cathedrales in Picardie.  According to a couple of French websites, the festival takes place in September and incorporates the many cathedrals in Picardy as settings for different music concerts.  One of the themes of this festival is early and Renaissance music, which is most likely where this performance comes from.  As for the identity of the performers, I’m still looking into that and I have yet to find any information yet, but I may keep looking or even ask someone who may know their identity.

As for the Sonata for Brass Quintet and Tape Recorder, the name tape recorder is a very important source of information for what this piece entails.  According to a couple of websites reviewing this piece, the tape recorder is used to record certain sections of the piece that is then played back during the piece.  One such source is a review of the CD this recording comes from and states: “Szab√≥ applies a very simple method in the three-section third movement: he tapes the first part and he replays it in the third so that the brass can improvise counterpoints for it.”

Also, here are links for each of the recordings: