The Brass of the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra with Ivan Meylemans (2007)
FLAC (tracks) 24-bit/88,2 kHz | Time – 01:21:03 minutes | 1,19 GB | Genre: Classical
Studio Master, Official Digital Download – Source: Qobuz | Digital Booklet | © RCO Live
Recorded at Concertgebouw Amsterdam in November and December 2006
The Brass of the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra ensemble was formed more or less by chance in 2003 when the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra decided to skip its annual American tour; the American Friends of the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra saw their chance and invited the brass players of the orchestra to give concerts and master classes in the USA. After a successful tour to New York and Philadelphia with master classes at the Curtis Institute of Music in Philadelphia and the Juilliard School in New York, the players decided to continue giving concerts as a complete section.
The aim of the Brass of the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra is to demonstrate the versatility of brass instruments in terms of repertoire and instrumental combinations to both the general public and to music students by means of concerts and master classes. The forces used vary from small groups to large ensembles of around twenty players, with percussion also being used on occasion.
The original idea for this CD came from the Prix de Salon, an incentive prize for young musicians from the Concertgebouw Orchestra that must be used for their further musical development. The prize was initiated in 2005 by the Salon, a group of young professionals from prominent firms who wished to support the younger members of the orchestra in particular. Ivan Meylemans was the first winner of this prize and saw it as a way of planning a recording of lesser-known repertoire by well-known composers for the Brass of the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra as well as of providing further encouragement for the ensemble and its good internal relations.
This is an amazing recording, one of the highlights of my listening experience in recent months. Here is fresh repertoire, inventively chosen. These are contemporary compositions, with one exception, the Gabrieli, played here with confidence and clarity, even sounding natural in the context of these modern masterpieces.
The contemporary pieces are challenging, yet mostly tonal and tuneful. Willem van Otterloo’s Serenade proves to be the perfect opener with its big, bold first movement. A highly melodic second movement features particularly lovely horn and trumpet solos, and a subtle celesta accompaniment. In the fleet, rhythmically charged third movement, percussion and trombones set the tempo, contrasting nicely with trumpet, tuba, and horn solos. The concluding fourth movement begins with rich ensemble writing, building to a triumphant finale. The Call by Nick Woud (solo timpanist of the Royal Concertgebouw) takes listeners through a kaleidoscope of emotions, ranging from a traditional march to moments of romanticism. Hans Werner Henze’s 11 short pieces in ragtime style provide a lighter touch. The RCO’s trumpets play with astonishing intonation and blend in William Schmidt’s Variants.
Derek Bourgeois’s Concerto grosso literally left me speechless. It would be impossible to state all the highlights. Here are a few: remarkable, virtuoso solos, in particular from the French horn, trumpet, and tuba (who shows astonishing range); tightly blended trombone and trumpet choirs; a memorable trombone-tuba duet; and ensemble playing never less than glorious throughout the full range of dynamics and tempos. Wow!
Ivan Meylemans allows the music and the musicians to shine, without radical or unnecessary interjections. A trombonist himself, he has an instinctive understanding of brass musicians and brass music. Both he and the players here sound like they had a great time. The playing was brilliant. I listened to this Super Audio CD on conventional gear, but the sound was spectacular. With more than 81 minutes, it hardly needs to be added that listeners get their money’s worth. Listening to this disc was a great experience. Strongly recommended. –John E. Roos, Fanfare
WILLEM VAN OTTERLOO
Serenade for Brass and Percussion
1 I. Marsch 1:57
2 II. Nocturne 6:28
3 III. Scherzo 6:21
4 IV. Hymne 4:56
5 The Call 13:59
6 Sacrae symphoniae (1597) 3:55
HANS WERNER HENZE
Ragtimes and Habaneras (version for 10 brass instruments)
7 I. quarter note = 112 1:38
8 II. Tempo di Foxtrot 0:21
9 III. Tempo di Son 0:53
10 IV. Tempo di Tango 2:26
11 V. quarter note = 100 1:40
12 VI. Tempo di Rumba 1:17
13 VII. Ragtime 1:17
14 VIII. Tempo di Tango 2:06
15 IX. quarter note = 120 0:21
16 X. eighth note = 112 0:50
17 XI. Allegro vivace 1:58
18 Variants with Solo Cadenzas 7:54
19 Concerto Grosso for 10 Brass Instruments, Op. 61 19:57
Brass of the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra
Ivan Meylemans, conductor