FROM THE BACK ROW: PITTSBURGH SYMPHONY LOW BRASS SECTION • Peter Sullivan (tbn); Rebecca Bower Cherian (tbn); Murray Crewe (bs tbn); Craig Knox (tb) • ALBANY TROY 1003 (53:37)
DUBENSKY Concerto grosso. BACH Prelude in b?, BWV 867, (arr. Seibert). Toccata and Fugue in d, BWV 565, Read more class="ARIAL12">(arr. Beaudry). DEBUSSY(arr. Beaudry) La fille aux cheveux de lin. GROVLEZ(arr. Barr) Petites litanies de Jesus. RAVEL Bolero: Excerpt. TOMASI Etre ou ne pas etre. J. SULLIVAN From the Back Row. BRUCKNER(arr. Rose) Symphony No. 7: Excerpt. Tantum Ergo: Lento; Solenne; Poco adagio. BEETHOVEN(arr. Auger) Piano Sonata no. 8: Adagio cantabile. FRESCOBALDI(arr. Beaudry) Toccata. HINDEMITH(arr. Griffith) Mathis der Mahler: Excerpts. Morgenmusik
This release, containing a lot of improbable repertoire for the ensemble at hand—the low brass section of the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra—ably displays its virtuosity. I found the Concerto grosso for three trombones and tuba by Arcady Dubensky (1890–1966) of greatest interest. Dubensky was a Russian violinist who for many years played in the New York Philharmonic. This piece was one of the first designed to feature the low brass of a symphony orchestra. It was originally designed as a brass quartet (two tenor trombones, a bass trombone, and a tuba). In 1949, Leopold Stokowski, who liked the piece, suggested that Dubensky compose an orchestration to convert the quartet into a concerto grosso. Dubensky complied, and Stokowski conducted the premiere of that version that same year. Here it is presented, in all its resourceful glory, in its original form.
I’m delighted to report that the whole enterprise (most of which consists of transcriptions of keyboard pieces) works admirably. When I saw Debussy’s “Girl with the Flaxen Hair” on the listing, I had my doubts. The ensemble, however, produced an airy and hauntingly beautiful account of it. At the other extreme, the all too tiny Bruckner Seventh excerpt (from its last movement) was, appropriately granite-like and hair-raising.
These musicians play with the skill, acumen, and sheer musicality of our best brass quartets, once again attesting to the high level of our current American symphony orchestra personnel. Eons ago, while interviewing the members of the Empire Brass for a Fanfare feature article, its then tubist, Samuel Pilafian, stated one of their goals as “achieving total meltdown.” By that he meant, finding the center of the most perfect intonation and balancing their volume and tone production to the point that the individual players disappeared, leaving only one cosmic tone. In this release, total meltdown is a regular occurrence.
Toccata and Fugue in D minor, BWV 565by Johann Sebastian Bach Orchestra/Ensemble:
Pittsburgh Symphony Brass
Period: Baroque Written: by 1708; Germany Length: 2 Minutes 34 Secs. Notes: Arranger: Pierre Beaudry.
This is terrificNovember 29, 2013By Dr. Mitchell Gurk (Spencer, MA)See All My Reviews"Many works on the program repeat a recent recital by Boston SO back row players, having heard once, these astounding conceptions and sonics, promised self i would hear again, which this CD accomplished. Tomasi's is profound, Dubensky's fresh and delightful. Much of the rest unusual brief encore pieces which open the ear to the perhaps too familiar."Report Abuse