Performed by the young German brass ensemble, 10forBrass, this new Genuin CD titled "Portrait" offers some of the finest brass playing I've heard for some time. The group was founded in 2010 by young musicians from across Germany while they were in attendance at various music festivals. Most of the players are or have been members of major orchestras such as the Munich State Opera Orchestra, the Berlin Konzerthaus Orchestra and the Berlin Philharmonic.
I'm not usually drawn to brass programs that mix time periods and genres as this one does, moving from Gabrieli, Handel and Bach to Irving Berlin and Duke Ellington (or even to Shostakovich and Mahler for that matter), but I enjoyed this program immensely. All the composers just mentioned are represented, as well as Dukas, Crespo, Debussy and Victor Young. I've provided the opening two tracks as samples, which are the Fanfare to "La Péri" by Paul Dukas and Canzon XIV of Giovanni Gabrieli. The exciting Dukas is standard fare for brass ensembles and is the only work here that is not a transcription. You can view the contents of this varied and enjoyable program by clicking on the back cover graphic above and listen to samples of about a dozen tracks on the HBDiret.com website.
If you're a brass player or brass ensemble fan, this is not to be missed. If not, it's a perfect point of entry to the exciting body of music for brass. One caveat: the running time is rather short at just under 47 minutes. If this doesn't bother you and the program and audio sample are appealing, you should dive in. The impeccable musicianship and ensemble playing, superb programming and first-rate engineering add up to a release that could hardly be more enthusiastically recommended.
What could be warmer, rounder, more illuminating, fuller – to put it briefly: more beautiful! – than a large brass ensemble. This is the impression one has from the GENUIN debut CD of 10forBrass, an ensemble that has won a number of prizes. From the first bars until the end, it is filled with wonderful arrangements! These young brass players, wildly popular with the public, really let themselves go: from the Renaissance to jazz, from the Dukas Fanfare to the Ritz in New York. And they flatter our ears: from Debussy's tender sounds to the enraptured Mahler lied. A magnificent disc, and not only for brass fans!
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10forBrass plays: "Jesus bleibet meine Freude" by J.S. Bach