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Romantic Brass: Music Of France & Spain Transcribed For Brass

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Audio CD, July 9, 2006
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Product Details

  • Audio CD (July 9, 2006)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Telarc
  • ASIN: B000003CYD
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #336,178 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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This CD features short pieces of French and Spanish music from the late Romantic period of music. All 16 selections were composed in the late nineteenth or early twentieth century. Included are works of two French composers (Debussy and Ravel) and five Spanish composers (Albeniz, Granados, de Falla, Turina, and Rodrigo). As this breakdown indicates, the collection is weighted toward Spanish music, and even one of the French pieces is written in the Spanish mode.

Most of the selections were originally written for piano. They were transcribed for brass quintet by Egil Smedvig, his son Rolf Smedvig (the lead trumpeter), and guitarist Edward Flower. Flower is heard in three of the pieces, and several of them include a percussionist.

About a third of the CD (5 of 16 selections) is devoted to Debussy. One of his better known pieces for piano, La "Fille aux cheveux de lin" (The girl with flaxen hair) appears along with four other less known piano pieces: "Prelude" from Suite Bergamasque, "Des pas sur la neige" (Footsteps in the snow), "Sarabande" from the Suite pour le piano, and "Pour invoquer Pan" (To invoke Pan) from the Six epigraphes antiques for piano duet.

The two selections of Ravel include the much-played "Piece en forme de habanera" and part 1 of "Valses nobles et sentimentales." Each of the Spanish composers besides Turina is represented by a single selection, in each case one of his most popular pieces. From Albeniz we get "Sevilla" from his Suite espanola for piano; from Granados, "Oriental" from his Danzas espanolas for piano; from de Falla, the "Miller's Dance" from his ballet music the Three-cornered hat; and from Rodrigo, the second movement of his guitar concerto "Concierto de Aranjuez.
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Format: Audio CD
There is much more "soft" (e.g. melancholic, romantic, whimsical) brass here than just romantic brass. I purchased this after an exhaustive search for CD with a rendition of Rodrigo's Concierto Con Aranjuez featuring a solo trumpet which was NOT surrounded a bunch of loud, Sousa-like brass pieces. The Rodrigo piece is good, but overall I prefer the rendition on the Brassed Off! soundtrack. The performances are adept and often inspired but the solo trumpet is often more technical than emotionaly fulfilling. In general this album is a bit schizophrenic. Several pieces (e.g. Albeniz' "Sevilla", Ravel's "Vasles nobles et sentimetnales"),are highly spirited and only "romantic" by the farthest stretch of the imagination but a few (e.g. Falla's " Miller's Dance") are restrained in their exubernace and the majority are quite soothing and worthwhile. I am particularly fond of Debussy's "Des Pas sur la Neige" and Granados "Oriental from Danzas Espanoles".
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