Notes and Editorial Reviews
A brilliant idea not quite brilliantly executed, this disc called Fugue alternates between works composed in that form by Bach and Shostakovich arranged for brass quintet and performed by the Onyx Brass. Written for the most part by members of the group, the arrangements themselves are stylish, idiomatic, and highly virtuosic. The program of alternating composers is fascinating, allowing listeners to compare their different approaches to the form and, just as importantly, their different approaches to their times, Bach's being austere, objective, and monumental and Shostakovich's being intense, subjective, and emotional.
For the most part, the Onyx Brass is up to the demands of the arrangements. With a robust tone and
muscular rhythms, the group makes the most of music's power and energy. Unfortunately, it is not altogether up to the music's most rigorous requirements. The textures sometimes seem clotted in climaxes and the ensemble occasionally goes a bit awry in the most vigorous passages. Recorded in vivid digital sound, this disc may prove enjoyable to listeners interested in the composers, fascinating to listeners interested in brass quintets, and a cornucopia for brass quintets looking for new repertoire.
-- James Leonard, AllMusic.com Read less
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