Classical CD Reviews

ROBERT GROSLOT: Robert Groslot Conducts his Music for Concert Band = Concerto for Saxophone; Concerto for Euphonium; Concerto for Piccolo; Concerto for Marimba; Achaé, la docile Amie – Royal Symphonic Band of the Belgian Guides/ Groslot – Groslot Music

A good survey of the concert band music of Robert Groslot.

Published on August 19, 2013

ROBERT GROSLOT: Robert Groslot Conducts his Music for Concert Band = Concerto for Saxophone and Concert Band; Concerto for Euphonium and Concert Band; Concerto for Piccolo and Concert Band; Concerto for Marimba and Concert Band; Achaé, la docile Amie – Royal Symphonic Band of the Belgian Guides/ Groslot – Groslot Music 1301 (5/15/13) 74:20 ***½:

Recorded music for symphonic band seems on the decline. The genre reached a peak during the heyday of the revered Mercury recordings, but today some private and university-based labels offer some wind band music, but it is pretty rare.

That makes this new recording of the music of composer Robert Groslot (b. 1951) most welcome. Groslot has been a prolific composer and conductor and currently teaches piano and chamber music at The Royal Conservatory of Antwerp.

The collection under review contains 4 concert band compositions and a piece for Clarinet. Each concerto highlights a wind instrument, so we have works for euphonium, saxophone, piccolo and marimba. The works are modern in character, dissonant in places, with much syncopation. All are ably played by the soloists and the Royal Symphonic Band of the Belgian Guides.

The composer has done 14 concertos for instruments with concert band, and he describes his work as a mix between sonata and symphonic form. The compositions were generally written with a specific soloist in mind.

The two works I most enjoyed were the Concerto for Euphonium and Concert Band, and the Concerto for Marimba and Concert Band. The euphonium soloist is Stephen mead, and his work is precise and lyrical. Carlos Willems performs on the marimba and vibes, and Willems delivers excellent work as well.  Both pieces have lively sonic colors and driving rhythms that makes both a pleasant listen.

None of these works are going to find their way into the standard repertoire, but that doesn’t make them less interesting or musical. The recording is ample, but not a sonic showpiece.

—Mel Martin




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