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Or Notes Brass

Or Notes Brass / Lamatelle / Remoindiere
Release Date: 03/09/2010 
Label:  Indesens   Catalog #: 22   Spars Code: DDD 
Composer:  Vladimir CosmaKerry Drew TurnerAndré LafosseVictor Ewald
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Or Notes Brass
Number of Discs: 1 
Recorded in: Stereo 
Length: 0 Hours 53 Mins. 

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Notes and Editorial Reviews

COSMA Courts-métrages. LAFOSSE Suite impromptue. EWALD Brass Quintet No. 3. TURNER Ricochet Or Notes Brass INDESENS INDE022 (52: 42)

The 20th-century brass repertoire presented here is quite conservative—all unabashedly tonal and unashamedly tuneful, with only the brief Kerry Turner piece being unmistakably in Read more a contemporary idiom. None of the four composers is exactly a household name. Perhaps the most familiar is the Russian cellist and engineer Victor Ewald (1860–1935), whose four brass quintets are staples of that repertoire, with the first (the only one published in his lifetime) being by far the most frequently recorded. The four movements of the third offer a felicitous stylistic combination of Russian romantic melodiousness and sturdy German construction.

Kerry Turner (b. 1960) is a horn player who has composed numerous works for brass and mixed chamber ensembles, with recordings available on several labels, particularly MSR. His compositions often reflect his early Texas environs, employing melodies and rhythms evocative of the Western frontier but avoiding triteness and cliché. Ricochet (a musical depiction of a smooth stone skipping across a watery surface) is a representative piece, with rapid-fire repeated notes alternating with snatches of bouncy songlike phrases.

The other two composers are even more obscure. Vladimir Cosma (b. 1940) is a Rumanian immigrant to France who has penned more than 200 film scores and (according to the liner notes) bases his other compositions on melodies drawn from those works. There were several LPs issued of his film music; at present a few scattered recordings of other works by him can be found on some potpourri CDs. His three-movement Courts-métrages has a bustling opening that conjures up a car ride on a busy Paris boulevard, followed by a quiet late-night interlude at a solitary café table, and concludes with a tango-inflected dance finale.

I cannot find any previous recording of a work by trombonist André Lafosse (1920–95). Some LPs once featured his instrumental playing on the L’Oiseau Lyre and Anthologie Sonore labels; he is on CD in the EMI composer-led recording of the Stravinsky Octet. His Suite impromptue alternates two slow movements with two fast ones; all are reminiscent of film music from a half-century ago and perfectly complement the Cosma.

The French have a tradition of fine brass ensembles, and this quintet, composed of players from Paris and Lyon, is no exception. The sound of the instruments is less weighty and more brilliant than their German and English counterparts. The playing is precise, spirited, and vigorous, with finely focused tone, clean tonguing and articulation, and faultless blend and balance. The playing of the Ewald Quintet is competitive with performances on the BIS and Deux-Elles labels; a new recording is just now appearing from the brass of the Philadelphia Orchestra. The other recording of Turner Ricochet was not available to me, and no alternatives exist for the Cosma and Lafosse pieces. The recorded sound is ideal, clear and focused but not dry, without any resonance that could muddle the instrumental interplay. The only slight drawbacks are the relatively short disc timing and the lack of a booklet; skimpy liner notes (in fractured English translation) are printed on the fold-out wings of the digipak. This is both an unabashed treat for fellow brass-music aficionados, and a fine opportunity for those unfamiliar with such repertoire to become acquainted with some perfectly delightful music that will banish any oom-pah-pah stereotypes. Strongly recommended.

FANFARE: James A. Altena
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Works on This Recording

Courts Métrages, for brass quintet by Vladimir Cosma
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Or Notes Brass
Date of Recording: 06/2009 
Venue:  Temple Saint-Marcel (Paris) 
Length: 14 Minutes 10 Secs. 
Ricochet, for brass quintet by Kerry Drew Turner
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Or Notes Brass
Period: Contemporary 
Written: 1993 
Date of Recording: 06/2009 
Venue:  Temple Saint-Marcel (Paris) 
Length: 9 Minutes 9 Secs. 
Suite impromptue, for brass quintet by André Lafosse
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Or Notes Brass
Period: Modern 
Date of Recording: 06/2009 
Venue:  Temple Saint-Marcel (Paris) 
Length: 9 Minutes 55 Secs. 
Brass Quintet No. 3 in D flat major, Op. 7 (or Op. 11) by Victor Ewald
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Or Notes Brass
Period: Post-Romantic 
Date of Recording: 06/2009 
Venue:  Temple Saint-Marcel (Paris) 
Length: 17 Minutes 21 Secs. 

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