SACD & Other Hi-Res Reviews

* Chicago Symphony Orchestra Brass Live – Works of WALTON, BACH, G. GABRIELI, GRAINGER, REVUELTAS, PROKOFIEV – CSO Resound

******** MULTICHANNEL DISC OF THE MONTH ********

Published on October 19, 2011

* Chicago Symphony Orchestra Brass Live – WALTON: Crown Imperial March; GIOVANNI GABRIELI: Sonata Pian e forte & two Canzons; BACH: Passacaglia and Fugue in c minor; GRAINGER: Lincolnshire Posy; REVUELTAS: Sensemaya; PROKOFIEV: Three Scenes from Romeo & Juliet – arrangements for symphonic brass/Conductors: Dale Clevenger, Jay Friedman, Michael Mulcahy & Mark Ridenour -  CSO Resound multichannel SACD CSOR 901 1103, 64:46 [Distr. by Harmonia mundi] *****:

From the photos of all the members, it looks we there are 19 brass players here. The Chicago Symphony has long been famous for its brass section, and it’s only natural that the section should be going out on its own in this fashion. They are known for their clarity of attack and pure tone. This is world-class brass playing, and the brass musicians are aided as appropriate by some other instruments here and there. Arrangements are by a variety of talents.

Gabrieli was of course the earliest well-known creator of rich music for brass, and one of the first to make use of spatial effects by placing groups of instruments some distance from one another.  The Bach selection is not the first time the master has been transcribed for brass, but the Passacaglia and Fugue work extremely well, spotlighting the composer’s complex counterpoint. A trombonist from the San Francisco Symphony made the transcription of Percy Grainger’s familiar Lincolnshire Posy.  Revueltas’ Sensemaya arrangment adds a clarinet, doublebass and percussion for a version that is just as exciting as the orchestral original. And three popular excerpts from Prokofiev’s great ballet Romeo & Juliet are transcribed for the brass section plus timpani and percussion, making a perfect closing number for this exciting SACD. Joseph Kreines did the fine transcription for this one. The rich timbres of the brass in Orchestra Hall are well-captured by the CSO engineers.

—John Sunier




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