WGBH Radio WGBH Radio theclassicalstation.org

Browns In Blue / The 5 Browns


Release Date: 10/02/2007 
Label:  Rca Victor Red Seal Catalog #: 711322   Spars Code: n/a 
Composer:  Sergei RachmaninovCamille Saint-SaënsAstor PiazzollaClaude Debussy,   ... 
Performer:  Desirae BrownGregory BrownRyan BrownMelody Brown,   ... 
Orchestra/Ensemble:  The 5 Browns
Number of Discs: 1 
Recorded in: Stereo 
Length: 1 Hours 13 Mins. 

In Stock: Usually ships in 24 hours.  

Notes and Editorial Reviews

The spruce and elegant quintet produce an enjoyable album geared to the younger market.

This is the third CD from The Five Browns, talented American siblings who are all studying at the Juilliard. They’ve clearly reached a degree of eminence, for biographical matters such as these are dispensed with in the retro packaging of their disc. I had to do some internet sleuthing to find out a few details, having in fact assumed from the photographs that they were a swinging vocal combo, school of Anita O’Day and Tony Bennett. In fact they all play piano and theirs is a difficult disc to classify. It’s predominately classical with some arrangements and adaptations thrown in. The theme is vaguely to do with “blue” as a look at
Read more the titles will disclose; tristesse and languor seem also to qualify.

Greg Anderson made the Rachmaninoff Paganini arrangement for all five Browns to play – how they were distributed around the keyboards is a little mystery not disclosed. In fact how many pianos were involved is similarly mysterious. They play two movements from The Carnival of the Animals. On the first they’re joined by Gil Shahan in the violin transcribed part – nicely done. The visual aspect of the three female Browns playing the Debussy shouldn’t be discounted though we only have the aural one on disc. Gregory Brown takes on Art Tatum’s arrangement of Aunt Hagar’s Blues and does creditably though his playing is as yet rather book bound and lacking in contrasts.

The Romance (only) from Rachmaninoff’s Suite is an intelligent choice as it’s written for two pianos. Desirae and Deondra Brown do the honours. It’s doubtless unrealistic to compare them with Goldenweiser (the dedicatee) and Ginzburg in their 1948 recording though I did. It conforms to the general slowing up in performances over the years; it’s a bit languid and lateral as well, over-reflective. I note however that one of the Browns – Gregory – has on a previous disc recorded York Bowen’s Op.155 Toccata so they clearly have a penchant for big, rich, ripe romantic composers and their satellite works. There’s also a rather funereally played Chopin Nocturne here, the Earl Wild arranged Embraceable You, and another guest appearance, this time from trumpeter Chris Botti in the adaptation of An American in Paris (as “Home Blues”) arranged by Jeffrey Shumway. There’s a strange old beast in the shape of the sonorously intoned Fantasia on 'Dives and Lazarus' which comes bedecked with what I can only call interpolations by Leroy Anderson and Sibelius. I quite enjoyed the funky workout on John Novacek’s intermittently convincing Reflections on "Shenandoah”, played by all the Browns. The bonus track features all five Browns vamping away behind the late Dean Martin in one of those weird acts of necromancy so beloved of record companies and loathed by everyone else.

The spruce and elegant quintet of Browns have produced an enjoyable album geared to the younger market. If it makes friends for the classical muse that’s no bad thing.

-- Jonathan Woolf, MusicWeb International
Read less

Works on This Recording

1. Rhapsody on a theme of Paganini, Op. 43: Variation 18 by Sergei Rachmaninov
Performer:  Desirae Brown (Piano), Gregory Brown (Piano), Ryan Brown (Piano),
Melody Brown (Piano), Deondra Brown (Piano)
Orchestra/Ensemble:  The 5 Browns
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1934; USA 
Venue:  Legacy, New York, NY 
Length: 3 Minutes 11 Secs. 
Notes: Arranger: Greg Anderson. 
2. Carnival of the animals: no 7, Aquarium by Camille Saint-Saëns
Performer:  Desirae Brown (Piano), Deondra Brown (Piano), Gil Shaham (Violin)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1886; France 
Venue:  Legacy, New York, NY 
Length: 3 Minutes 2 Secs. 
Notes: Arranger: Bryan Hernandez-Luch. 
3. History of the Tango: Retrato d'Alfredo Gobbi by Astor Piazzolla
Performer:  Ryan Brown (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1986; Argentina 
Venue:  Legacy, New York, NY 
Length: 3 Minutes 3 Secs. 
4. Suite bergamasque: 3rd movement, Clair de Lune by Claude Debussy
Performer:  Desirae Brown (Piano), Melody Brown (Piano), Deondra Brown (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1890/1905; France 
Venue:  Legacy, New York, NY 
Length: 5 Minutes 5 Secs. 
Notes: Arranger: Greg Anderson. 
5. Aunt Hagar's Children Blues by W.C. Handy
Performer:  Gregory Brown (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1921; USA 
Venue:  Legacy, New York, NY 
Length: 3 Minutes 11 Secs. 
Notes: Arranger: Art Tatum. 
6. Pieces (6) for Piano, Op. 118: no 2, Intermezzo in A major by Johannes Brahms
Performer:  Melody Brown (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1892; Austria 
Venue:  Legacy, New York, NY 
Length: 5 Minutes 53 Secs. 
7. Reflections on "Shenandoah" by John Novacek
Performer:  Desirae Brown (Piano), Gregory Brown (Piano), Ryan Brown (Piano),
Melody Brown (Piano), Deondra Brown (Piano)
Orchestra/Ensemble:  The 5 Browns
Period: 20th Century 
Written: by 2007; USA 
Venue:  Legacy, New York, NY 
Length: 6 Minutes 52 Secs. 
8. Girl Crazy: Embraceable you by George Gershwin
Performer:  Desirae Brown (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1930; USA 
Venue:  Legacy, New York, NY 
Length: 3 Minutes 20 Secs. 
Notes: Arranger: Earl Wild. 
9. Nocturnes (2) for Piano, B 142/Op. 48: no 1 in C minor by Frédéric Chopin
Performer:  Gregory Brown (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1841; Paris, France 
Venue:  Legacy, New York, NY 
Length: 6 Minutes 9 Secs. 
10. Variants (5) of 'Dives and Lazarus' by Ralph Vaughan Williams
Performer:  Deondra Brown (Piano), Melody Brown (Piano), Ryan Brown (Piano),
Gregory Brown (Piano), Desirae Brown (Piano)
Orchestra/Ensemble:  The 5 Browns
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1939; England 
Venue:  Legacy, New York, NY 
Length: 9 Minutes 12 Secs. 
Notes: Arranger: Greg Anderson. 
11. Carnival of the animals: no 13, The swan by Camille Saint-Saëns
Performer:  Melody Brown (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1886; France 
Venue:  Legacy, New York, NY 
Length: 2 Minutes 13 Secs. 
Notes: Arranger: Leopold Godowsky. 
12. Piano Pieces (6) Arranged from Songs, Op. 41: no 3, I love thee by Edvard Grieg
Performer:  Deondra Brown (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1884; Norway 
Venue:  Legacy, New York, NY 
Length: 3 Minutes 14 Secs. 
13. Show Girl: Home Blues by George Gershwin
Performer:  Gregory Brown (Piano), Deondra Brown (Piano), Chris Botti (Trumpet),
Desirae Brown (Piano), Ryan Brown (Piano), Melody Brown (Piano)
Orchestra/Ensemble:  The 5 Browns
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1929; USA 
Venue:  Legacy, New York, NY 
Length: 8 Minutes 1 Secs. 
Notes: Arranger: Jeffrey Shumway. 
14. Everybody loves somebody by Ken Lane
Performer:  Melody Brown (Piano), Dean Martin (Voice), Gregg Field (Drums),
Paul Morin (Double Bass), Gregory Brown (Piano), Ryan Brown (Piano),
Desirae Brown (Piano), Deondra Brown (Piano)
Orchestra/Ensemble:  The 5 Browns
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1949; USA 
Venue:  Legacy, New York, NY 
Length: 3 Minutes 9 Secs. 
Language: English 
Notes: Arranger: Greg Anderson. 
15. Gretchen am Spinnrade (Schubert) for Piano, S 558 no 8 by Franz Liszt
Performer:  Ryan Brown (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1837-1838; France 
Venue:  Legacy, New York, NY 
Length: 3 Minutes 33 Secs. 
16. Suite for 2 Pianos no 2, Op. 17: no 3, Romanze by Sergei Rachmaninov
Performer:  Desirae Brown (Piano), Deondra Brown (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1900-1901; Russia 
Venue:  Legacy, New York, NY 
Length: 6 Minutes 50 Secs. 
Notes: Composition written: Russia (1900 - 1901). 

Sound Samples

18th Variation from Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini
Carnival of the Animals - Aquarium
Retrato de Alfredo Gobbi from History of the Tango
Clair de Lune from Suite Bergamasque
Aunt Hagar's Blues
Romance from Suite No. 2, Op. 17 for Two Pianos
Intermezzo in A Major, Op. 118, No. 2
Gretchen am Spinnrade
Reflections on "Shenandoah"
Embraceable You from Seven Virtuoso Etudes
Nocturne in C Minor, Op. 48, No. 1
Fantasia on 'Dives and Lazarus'
Carnival of the Animals - The Swan
Ich Liebe dich, Op. 41, No. 3
Home Blues from An American in Paris
Everybody Loves Somebody

Customer Reviews

Be the first to review this title
Review This Title
Review This Title Share on Facebook