Arnold: Complete Brass Chamber Music / Fine Arts Brass

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ARNOLD Fanfare for Louis. Brass Quintet No.1. Little Suites: No. 1; No. 2; No. 3. Fantasies: for Trumpet; for Horn; for Trombone; for Tuba. Brass...


ARNOLD Fanfare for Louis. Brass Quintet No.1. Little Suites: No. 1; No. 2; No. 3. Fantasies: for Trumpet; for Horn; for Trombone; for Tuba. Brass Quintet No. 2. Symphony for Brass Fine Arts Brass NIMBUS 5804 (79:21)


This recording is a fitting tribute to Malcolm Arnold, who died in September 2006, only a matter of weeks after this music was recorded. An extraordinary trumpeter himself, Arnold knew how to write for brass. His music has color and cohesion, energy and depth. Music for brass can be a kind of narcissistic pleasure, delighting players with the opportunity to show off their chops. Yet its pleasures can be hard to communicate to audiences who might admire the performers while remaining detached and emotionally aloof. But Arnold was able to bridge the gap, sounding both contemporary and timeless, challenging players to the highest levels of their craft yet interesting and satisfying audiences.


Arnold wrote an astonishing array of combinations for brass instruments. Solos for trumpet, trombone, horn, and even tuba. A trumpet duo. Brass quintets. And a symphony for brass, with the Fine Arts Brass augmented by two trumpets and three trombones. The diversity gives this recording balance and freshness. The level of playing is consistently high, but I would single out Sam Elliot, who excels in the four-and-a-half-minute Fantasy for Tuba. As an example of the admirable flow in this recording, the Tuba Fantasy segues nicely into Arnold’s Second Brass Quintet, and then into the Symphony for Brass. It is this kind of juxtaposition that keeps the listener involved, wanting more, waiting to hear what Arnold might think of next.


The symphony clearly is the major work here. Arnold doesn’t assault us with deafening sound but rather surprises us with abundant contrasts, tight pianissimos, and fleet counterpoint. His instrumentation focuses on choirs and constantly shifting combinations of soloists and accompaniment. In the opening moments of the third movement, for example, thrilling trumpets are set against an apocalyptic lower brass choir. A similar combination is heard in the symphony’s final measures, to awe-inspiring effect.


This is glorious music, gloriously played and recorded. The Fine Arts Brass and their colleagues deserve the highest of praise. With almost 80 minutes of music, this is a thoroughly enjoyable disc. Highly recommended.


FANFARE: John E. Roos


Product Description:


  • Release Date: October 01, 2006


  • UPC: 710357580420


  • Catalog Number: NI5804


  • Label: Nimbus


  • Number of Discs: 1


  • Composer: Malcolm Arnold


  • Conductor: Stephen Roberts


  • Orchestra/Ensemble: Fine Arts Brass Ensemble Choir


  • Performer: Angela Whelan, Katy Pryce, Sam Elliott, Simon Lenton, Tim Thorpe



Works:


  1. Fanfare for Louis

    Composer: Malcolm Arnold

    Performer: Simon Lenton (Trumpet), Angela Whelan (Trumpet)


  2. Quintet for Brass no 1, Op. 73

    Composer: Malcolm Arnold

    Ensemble: Fine Arts Brass Ensemble Choir


  3. Fantasy for Trumpet solo, Op. 100

    Composer: Malcolm Arnold

    Performer: Angela Whelan (Trumpet)


  4. Little Suite for Brass Band no 1, Op. 80

    Composer: Malcolm Arnold

    Ensemble: Fine Arts Brass Ensemble Choir


  5. Fantasy for Horn solo, Op. 88

    Composer: Malcolm Arnold

    Performer: Tim Thorpe (Horn)


  6. Little Suite for Brass Band no 2, Op. 93

    Composer: Malcolm Arnold

    Ensemble: Fine Arts Brass Ensemble Choir


  7. Fantasy for Trombone solo, Op. 101

    Composer: Malcolm Arnold

    Performer: Katy Pryce (Trombone)


  8. Little Suite for Brass Band no 3, Op. 131

    Composer: Malcolm Arnold

    Ensemble: Fine Arts Brass Ensemble Choir


  9. Fantasy for Tuba solo, Op. 102

    Composer: Malcolm Arnold

    Performer: Sam Elliott (Tuba)


  10. Quintet for Brass no 2, Op. 132

    Composer: Malcolm Arnold

    Ensemble: Fine Arts Brass Ensemble Choir


  11. Symphony for Brass, Op. 123

    Composer: Malcolm Arnold

    Ensemble: Fine Arts Brass Ensemble Choir

    Conductor: Stephen Roberts