Ancient Airs for Organ and Brass – Washington Symphonic Brass

8 July 2014

Ancient Airs for Organ and Brass – Washington Symphonic Brass

Like most brass recordings, Ancient Airs for Brass & Organ contains no works originally done for modern brass instruments. What is unusual about this collection is that none of these works (except the Bach) were written for ANY specific instrument.

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Capella Istropolitana of Slovakia

18 July 2014

Capella Istropolitana of Slovakia

The Capella Istropolitana is a Bratislava-based chamber orchestra whose activity in the recording studio places it among the most recorded ensembles of the late 20th and early 21st centuries. Buyers browsing the bins of a record store or shopping online will find this seemingly ubiquitous ensemble on more than 250 CD releases. Actually, by 2008 the Capella Istropolitana had made over 90 recordings, but many of the performances appear on reissues, often in theme-oriented albums or series, like Cinema Classics (12 volumes), Chill with Bach, Chill with Beethoven, Best of Opera, and many others. But the ensemble is no mere peddler of popular or generic music for quick sale; they have been involved in highly successful Haydn and Mozart projects, and have recorded the Bach Brandenburg Concertos, the five Beethoven piano concertos, and large chunks of the output of Vivaldi, Handel, and others. Their repertory reaches well beyond the Baroque and Classical periods, both on recordings and in concert, taking in works by Brahms, Dvorák, Elgar, Britten, Respighi, Prokofiev, Bartók, Stravinsky, and Barber. Most of their recordings have been issued on the Naxos label, but others have appeared on Erato, Brilliant Classics, Bridge, and Claves.

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Wisconsin Brass Quintet

18 July 2014

Wisconsin Brass Quintet

Founded in 1972, the Wisconsin Brass Quintet is a faculty ensemble-in-residence at the University of Wisconsin-Madison School of Music. The quintet’s musical expertise has been acknowledged by Verne Reynolds, Jan Bach, Karel Husa, John Harbison, Daron Hagen and many other composers. In addition to performing with the WBQ, the players have also been members of the American Brass Quintet, Empire Brass Quintet and Meridian Arts Ensemble. Quintet members John Stevens and Daniel Grabois and former member Douglas Hill have also composed many works for the group. With extensive performances throughout the Midwest and nationally, including appearances at New York’s Carnegie Recital Hall and Merkin Concert Hall, the quintet’s educational programs and master classes have been presented in such prestigious settings as The Juilliard School and the Yale School of Music. They perform annual live radio broadcast concerts on Wisconsin Public Radio. Their three CD recordings, on the Summit, Mark and Crystal labels, feature music by John Stevens, Douglas Hill, Verne Reynolds, Daron Hagen, John Harbison and Enrique Crespo. An earlier LP recording features the only recording of Jan Bach’s “Rounds and Dances” and Hilmar Luckhardt’s “Brass Quintet.” Each of these works was composed for the Wisconsin Brass Quintet, in keeping with the WBQ’s commitment to commissioning and performing new music of the 20th and 21st centuries. Barry Kilpatrick writes for the American Record Guide: “I’ve reviewed over 250 brass recordings in the past five years, and this is one of the very best. The WBQ is a remarkable ensemble that plays with more reckless abandon, warmth, stylistic variety and interpretive interest than almost any quintet in memory.”

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