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Rindfleisch: In The Zone / Meridian Arts Ensemble

Rindfleisch / Meridian Arts Ensemble
Release Date: 04/30/2013 
Label:  Innova   Catalog #: 850  
Composer:  Andrew RindfleischHenry Monk
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Meridian Arts Ensemble
Number of Discs: 1 
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Notes and Editorial Reviews

Top class brass.

The crack brass collective Meridian Arts Ensemble here delivers us the fruits of a collaboration which has been on-going since multi award winning composer Andrew Rindfleisch wrote In the Zone for them in 2009. Horn player Daniel Grabois’s notes for the release describe and express some of the positive vibes which come through so clearly in the music and the performances, something which grabbed me from the start.
 
In the Zone is direct descendent of the Renaissance Canzone, here given contemporary if not avant-garde garb in a pair of movements which are striking in their verve and energy. The trusted techniques of polyphony are all put to good use here,
Read more but as with the best of music from the Renaissance period everything is terrific fun as well as a workout for your ear’s mind’s eye.
 
The Four Fanfares for two trumpets are no less stimulating. These take the duet ‘fanfare’ tradition but entirely avoid stereotype, using the instruments in clever ways which remind me a little of Britten’s Fanfare for St. Edmundsbury, though in no way being derivative of this fascinating little musical jigsaw puzzle which in any case is for three trumpets. These are followed by another fascinating and rather dramatic Fanfare for the entire quintet, and A Little Fanfare Music (by Lady MacBeth), for which the composer includes a little programme note describing how Lady MacBeth’s imaginary (real) deranged creation came to pass. With a feeling of unrelenting obsession and unreality, bending notes and blurred tonality, this is an invention which indeed demands picturesque narrative origins.
 
The remaining tracks are arrangements, showcasing the brass ensemble’s remarkable expressive capabilities as well as Rindfleisch’s facility in retaining the original character of the songs while putting in some delicious personal touches. The final track, Abide With Me, has a special atmosphere, with some alternative harmonisations and all of the instruments muted which to my mind gives the piece a distinctly funereal feel.
 
The Meridian Arts Ensemble has appeared before on these pages in an intriguing programme from Mark Appelbaum. Despite the short playing time, with superlative performances of some top class brass music this Andre Rindfleisch album is another one not to be missed.
 
-- Dominy Clements, MusicWeb International

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Meridian Arts Ensemble recordings are always a lot of fun to hear, and this one is no exception. This brass quintet plays repertoire ranging from early music to contemporary composers, and even transcriptions of jazz and rock music (I especially enjoyed their Zappa cover). In the person of Andrew Rindfleisch, a youngish, Ohio-based composer, they have an artist who covers all of those categories in one package. The opening work, In the Zone , consists of two sections, “Introitus” and “Canons.” Those titles suggest older music, and at first glance, that is what one hears. But quickly enough, the material morphs into a modern sensibility, and with no small amount of subversive glee. That spirit continues with the trumpet fanfares, but by this time the ears are expecting something new, and they get it; this stuff gets into your brain and scratches it, but in a stimulating rather than painful way. Then Rindfleisch pulls back again with the concluding music on the recital, arrangements of four old popular songs (including two by Stephen Foster) and a 19th-century hymn, Abide by Me . This material is lovely and elegant.

That is not a misprint for the timing. This is a short CD, but it packs a good punch into a small package. Meridian Arts Ensemble plays with great panache and sounds totally in sync with the sly temperament of Rindfleisch. The recorded sound is terrific.

FANFARE: Peter Burwasser
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Works on This Recording

1. In the Zone by Andrew Rindfleisch
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Meridian Arts Ensemble
Written: 2009 
2. Fanfares (4) for 2 Trumpets by Andrew Rindfleisch
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Meridian Arts Ensemble
Written: 2011 
3. A Little Fanfare Music by Andrew Rindfleisch
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Meridian Arts Ensemble
4. Vintage Songs (4) by Andrew Rindfleisch
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Meridian Arts Ensemble
Written: 2011 
5. Abide With Me by Henry Monk
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Meridian Arts Ensemble
Notes: Arrangement: Andrew Rindfleisch (2011) 

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