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Trendsetters: Music For Wind Band

4.0 out of 5 stars 1 customer review

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Audio CD, July 28, 2009
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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

The Peabody Conservatory Wind
Ensemble's 150th Anniversary album
Collage (8.570430) and its acclaimed
recording of the Carmina Burana Suite and
other works (8.570242) have secured its
reputation as belonging 'among the very
top wind bands in the US' (Fanfare). With
this addition to Naxos's popular Wind
Band Classics series the Ensemble explores
the music of four musical trendsetters
Hindemith, whose exhilarating Symphony
convinced other leading composers that the
wind band is a legitimate medium for
serious music; Holst, whose First Suite is
regarded as a cornerstone of the band
repertoire; Schwantner, whose ...and the
mountains rising nowhere calls for
amplified contrabass, piano and 46
percussion instruments; and Grainger,
whose Lincolnshire Posy is considered a
pinnacle among his folk-music settings.

Review

The great American school wind ensembles--especially North Texas, Northwestern, Eastman, and Michigan--have raised the bar very high with amazing, impressive, professionalquality recordings of great band literature. They are better than we would expect from college-age musicians. This album sounds more like what we expect: very good overall but with occasional problems.

It is a compilation. Hindemith was recorded in 1998, Schwantner in 2001, Holst in 2007, and Grainger in 2008. The Hindemith's uneven recorded sound (distant and faint low brass, booming timpani) and occasional intonation disagreements (as at 5:20 in I) make it disappointing. Much improved sound makes the Holst and Grainger more satisfactory, though there are still some bad moments--such as director Parker's ill-advised ritardando before a cadence at 2:40 in I of the Holst and terrible wind-brass ensemble in Grainger's `Brisk Young Sailor'.

The Schwantner shows the Peabody Wind Ensemble at its best, confidently handling extended techniques and modernist harmonies and creating evocative, startling, fascinating sound worlds. -- American Record Guide, Barry Kilpatrick, November/December 2009

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Product Details

  • Orchestra: The Peabody Conservatory Wind Ensemble
  • Conductor: Harlan D. Parker
  • Composer: Percy Grainger, Paul Hindemith, Gustav Holst, Joseph Schwantner
  • Audio CD (July 28, 2009)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Naxos Wind Band Classics
  • ASIN: B002AT46CW
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #631,677 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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Format: Audio CD
Trendsetters, Music for Wind Band presents four standards of the wind band repertorie performed by one of the excellent wind bands in the Naxos stable. Unfortunately, the interpretations are rather ordinary. Hindemith's "Symphony in B-flat" lacks the bite of other performances. The shrill sounds of clarinets playing in the high register are not allowed to cut through the texture as they are in the Eastman Wind Ensemble's classic recording.
Holst's "First Suite for Military Band" is here almost one minute longer than other recordings. The slow performance takes the life out of the piece.
Schwantner's monumental "...and the mountains rising from nowhere" is the best performance on the CD. The percussion is allowed to shine through with out being overwhelming.
Grainger's "Lincolnshire Posey" is given an adequate, but not outstanding, performance.
The Peabody Conservatory Wind Ensemble has outstanding instrumentalists and has two pervious CDs released on Naxos that are five star rated. Their conductor Harlan D. Parker should realize that recordings of standards are the most difficult because reviewers have plenty of other recordings with which to compare.
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