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The Wallace Collection - Hammered Brass - BBC Music Magazine


03 June 2002
BBC Music Magazine
Christopher Mowat

Trevor Herbert in his accompanying CD notes remarks that the brass quintet is truly modern, without a linear development from early brass groupings, with their ecclesiastical or courtly associations. Hen should have added that the genesis of the brass quintet lies in orchestral players getting together in their spare time, and that their particular disciplinehas been the main influence on the music they commission. This recording is a perfect example. The rich history of brass instruments in a quasi vocal role seems remote. Most of the music seems to be an extension of modern orchestral writing, the obvious influences being Bartok, Stravinsky, Walton and Hindemith. Textural virtuosity and extravagance of timbre are paramount. Differentiations of tone and articulation are highlighted and exploited to their limits, rhythmic figures are bounced between instruments and the quintet divided into smaller groups to provide intriguing new sonorities. Melodic fragments are tense, angular and secondary to the colouristic agenda. The musicians play with quite outstanding skill.


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