The Locke Brass Consort has gone through several remarkable transformations since its 1966 founding. The group spawned a larger brass and percussion ensemble in 1975, while also retaining its original chamber size for some of its concerts; then, owing largely to funding woes, the LBC shed its larger, symphonic counterpart, retreating solely to the world of chamber music, from whence it came. The group also rose for obscurity in its early years toRead more become one of the better known British brass ensembles only to fade from the public eye, from about the early '90s. Though the group has not made a new recording in years, several of its more popular early efforts have been reissued in the 2000s. These recordings are available on several labels, including Chandos and CRD.
The Locke Brass Consort was founded in London, England, in 1966 by Leslie Lake. Lake has played the bass trombone in the English National Opera Orchestra since 1965. Initially, Lake brought together four other brass players to form a quintet, and the group typically gave concerts in schools and music organizations.
For about a decade the ensemble enjoyed modest success but remained relatively little known, especially beyond British borders. In 1975 the LBC took on additional personnel to function, for certain concerts, as a symphonic brass and percussion ensemble.
The conductor was James Stobart, who would go on to lead the larger group in numerous concerts in Queen Elizabeth Hall and other major venues in England. Often he conducted -- and later recorded -- famous symphonic works, like the Grand March from Verdi's Aida and the March of the Priests from Mozart's Die Zauberflöte, in arrangements by Lake.
In 1977 the group appeared on its first major recording, Fanfare: British Music for Symphonic Brass Ensemble, on the Chandos label. It contained music by Elgar, Bliss, Tippett, Walton, Simpson, and other popular British composers. Additional recordings followed, including Jubilant Brass (1980) and Richard Strauss: Music for Symphonic Brass (1988), which included the previously unrecorded Festmusik der Stadt Wien. (It should be noted that the group is called Locke Brass Ensemble on some of its recordings.) From about 1990 the LBC began to fade, the larger group becoming defunct. The quintet, however, remained active and is still led by its founder Leslie Lake. One of the larger group's signature recordings, Symphonic Marches for Concert Brass, was reissued in 2009 on the CRD label. Read less