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True North Brass

True North Brass
Release Date: 10/16/2007 
Label:  Cd Baby   Catalog #: 181572  
Composer:  Vittorio MontiJ. Scott IrvineCalixa LavalléeJohann Sebastian Bach,   ... 
Performer:  Raymond TizzardJ. Scott IrvineStuart LaughtonAlastair Kay,   ... 
Orchestra/Ensemble:  True North Brass
Number of Discs: 1 
Recorded in: Stereo 
Length: 1 Hours 1 Mins. 

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Notes and Editorial Reviews

A few years ago, I unreservedly included a fine disc on my annual Want List by the Hannaford Street Silver Band called Canadian Impressions (CBC SMCD5136). If someone were to ask me for an example of what a brass band recording should be, it would be one of the first discs I would reach for. So it was a pleasant surprise to receive this debut disc by True North Brass on Canada's Opening Day label and see that it had the same goal of promoting Canadian music and that three of the quintet's members—trumpeters Stuart Laughton (director of Opening Day and a former, founding member of the Canadian Brass) and Raymond Tizzard, and tubist/composer J. Scott Irvine played on the CBC disc. The ensemble's other members are Alastair Kay on trombone and Read more Joan Watson on horn, and everyone in the group has deep roots in the Canadian brass and music scene.

The works on the disc are a varied lot, and most have a connection to Canada, through either the composer or the arranger, or both. Two one-minute works by Irvine bookend the program. The opening Ceremonial Fanfare, more lyrical than most fanfares, kicks things off with a festive splash, while the closing The True North will surely serve in years to come as the ensemble's trademark tune with its shades of Canada's national anthem, O Canada. Irvine's pastoral Morning Song is an adaptation for brass ensemble of the original work written for Laughton's solo recitals with organ. With an airy melody that lightly wafts above subtle chord changes by the rest of the ensemble, the work effectively evokes the majesty and awe of a sunrise near Ontario's Georgian Bay that it aims to depict. Irvine also contributes two arrangements. The first is a transcription of Bach's St. Anne's Fugue, originally written for organ, that gives the group a chance to show off its keen sense of ensemble. The second is the brief Clarinet Polka, which brass fans should recognize as Tuba Polka, the name of Irvine's old arrangement for the Canadian Brass. As one might guess from the original title, the hyperactive lead part goes to the tuba, played by Irvine, and the players have a ball with it, as is evidenced by their outburst of laughter preserved by producer and engineer Anton Kwiatkowski at the end of the piece. The only thing missing is a dancing—actually, make that sprinting—elephant! Not to be outdone, trombonist Alastair Kay, who also plays lead for Rob McConnell's The Boss Brass, comes to the fore on his arrangement of Vittorio Monti's Czardas, which, testing the limits of man and instrument, gives the demanding solo violin part—at the same pitch!—to the slide trombone. Man, can this guy soar! My embouchure and diaphragm wince at the very thought. As mesmerizing as his recorded performance is, I'm told that it's even more captivating live. Kay, as arranger, also brings us the disc's most pop-oriented fare, Duke Ellington's Don Ì Get Around Much Anymore and Hoagy Carmichael's Stardust. While the arrangements and performances are expertly done, the two works are definitely the disc's odd ducks (or should that be Canada geese? Loons?). Howard Cable's Ontario Pictures here is twice removed from it's original concert band version, which was then adapted for brass band—for Hannaford, actually—before being reconfigured for brass quintet. The three-movement, nine-minute work—the longest on the disc—is highlighted by Watson's sumptuous horn solo in the second movement, "Point Pelee, " which provides a musical bridge for the jaunty outer movements, "Downbound from Thunder Bay" and "Old Fort Henry." Kay shines again in the Cable-transcribed La Rose Nuptiale, an eight-minute overture originally written for orchestra by the composer of O Canada, Calixa Lavallée. The achingly beautiful folk song Ho Ro, My Nut Brown Maiden, popularized in a vocal version by Nova Scotia's Rankin Family and adapted here by Gary Pattison, features Laughton on tin whistle and bodhran drum, to good effect. The inclusion of Herbert L. Clarke's cornet and trombone feature, Cousins, arranged by Tizzard, is justified by the fact that the famous Sousa Band cornet soloist spent some time in Canada as a band director. Canadian composer Gary Kulesha's Divertimento, written in 1977 when he was 22, is a six-minute work whose second movement recalls his Romance for Brass Band from the Hannaford disc. In all, this is a welcome release, with a great hook to its programming and outstanding playing throughout. Thank you, Opening Day, for giving me another demonstration-class brass CD. There may be a more famous brass ensemble that hails from north of the border, but True North is the real Canadian brass.

-- Randy A. Salas, Fanfare [1/1999]
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Works on This Recording

1.
Csárdás by Vittorio Monti
Performer:  Raymond Tizzard (Trumpet), J. Scott Irvine (Tuba), Stuart Laughton (Trumpet),
Alastair Kay (Trombone), Joan Watson (French Horn)
Orchestra/Ensemble:  True North Brass
Period: Romantic 
Date of Recording: 1997 
Notes: Arranged: Alastair Kay  
2.
Morning Song by J. Scott Irvine
Performer:  Joan Watson (French Horn), Raymond Tizzard (Trumpet), J. Scott Irvine (Tuba),
Stuart Laughton (Trumpet), Alastair Kay (Trombone)
Orchestra/Ensemble:  True North Brass
Period: 20th Century 
Written: Canada 
Date of Recording: 1997 
3.
La Rose Nuptiale by Calixa Lavallée
Performer:  Joan Watson (French Horn), Stuart Laughton (Trumpet), J. Scott Irvine (Tuba),
Raymond Tizzard (Trumpet), Alastair Kay (Trombone)
Orchestra/Ensemble:  True North Brass
Period: Romantic 
Written: Canada 
Date of Recording: 1997 
Notes: Arranged: Howard Cable 
4.
Prelude and Fugue in E flat major, BWV 552 "St Anne": Fugue by Johann Sebastian Bach
Performer:  Joan Watson (French Horn), Alastair Kay (Trombone), Stuart Laughton (Trumpet),
J. Scott Irvine (Tuba), Raymond Tizzard (Trumpet)
Orchestra/Ensemble:  True North Brass
Period: Baroque 
Written: 1739; Leipzig, Germany 
Date of Recording: 1997 
Notes: Arranged: Scott Irvine  
5.
Don't Get Around Much Anymore by Edward "Duke" Ellington
Performer:  Alastair Kay (Trombone), J. Scott Irvine (Tuba), Stuart Laughton (Trumpet),
Joan Watson (French Horn), Raymond Tizzard (Trumpet)
Orchestra/Ensemble:  True North Brass
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1942; USA 
Date of Recording: 1997 
Notes: Arranged: Alastair Kay  
6.
Stardust by Hoagy Carmichael
Performer:  Stuart Laughton (Trumpet), Raymond Tizzard (Trumpet), J. Scott Irvine (Tuba),
Alastair Kay (Trombone), Joan Watson (French Horn)
Orchestra/Ensemble:  True North Brass
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1927; USA 
Date of Recording: 1997 
Notes: Arranged: Alastair Kay  
7.
Ontario Pictures by Howard Cable
Performer:  Stuart Laughton (Trumpet), J. Scott Irvine (Tuba), Raymond Tizzard (Trumpet),
Joan Watson (French Horn), Alastair Kay (Trombone)
Orchestra/Ensemble:  True North Brass
Period: 20th Century 
Written: Canada 
Date of Recording: 1997 
8.
Ceremonial Fanfare by J. Scott Irvine
Performer:  Stuart Laughton (Trumpet), J. Scott Irvine (Tuba), Joan Watson (French Horn),
Raymond Tizzard (Trumpet), Alastair Kay (Trombone)
Orchestra/Ensemble:  True North Brass
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1994; Canada 
Date of Recording: 1997 
9.
Ho ro, my nut-brown maiden by Traditional
Performer:  Raymond Tizzard (Trumpet), J. Scott Irvine (Tuba), Joan Watson (French Horn),
Alastair Kay (Trombone), Stuart Laughton (Trumpet)
Orchestra/Ensemble:  True North Brass
Period: Romantic 
Written: Scotland 
Date of Recording: 1997 
Notes: Arranged: Rankin Family, then Gary Pattison  
10.
Divertimento for Brass Quintet by Gary Kulesha
Performer:  Joan Watson (French Horn), Raymond Tizzard (Trumpet), Alastair Kay (Trombone),
Stuart Laughton (Trumpet), J. Scott Irvine (Tuba)
Orchestra/Ensemble:  True North Brass
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1973; Canada 
Date of Recording: 1997 
11.
Cousins by Herbert L. Clarke
Performer:  Raymond Tizzard (Trumpet), Alastair Kay (Trombone), Joan Watson (French Horn),
Stuart Laughton (Trumpet), J. Scott Irvine (Tuba)
Orchestra/Ensemble:  True North Brass
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1904; USA 
Date of Recording: 1997 
Notes: Arranged: Raymond Tizzard  
12.
Clarinet Polka by Traditional
Performer:  Alastair Kay (Trombone), Stuart Laughton (Trumpet), J. Scott Irvine (Tuba),
Raymond Tizzard (Trumpet), Joan Watson (French Horn)
Orchestra/Ensemble:  True North Brass
Date of Recording: 1997 
Notes: Arranged: Scott Irvine  
13.
The True North by J. Scott Irvine
Performer:  Joan Watson (French Horn), Alastair Kay (Trombone), Raymond Tizzard (Trumpet),
Stuart Laughton (Trumpet), J. Scott Irvine (Tuba)
Orchestra/Ensemble:  True North Brass
Period: 20th Century 
Written: Canada 
Date of Recording: 1997 

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