The Wallace Collection - The Golden Section - Classic CD

The Wallace Collection, a brass quintet founded by trumpeter John Wallace in 1986, has always embraced a wide range of twentieth century music. This CD contains a characteristic selection.

John Tavener's Trisagion, written for Philip Jones's ensemble, was pronounced unplayable by Jones, whose chops one imagined capable of executing anything. It was premiered in 1985 by Equale Brass, led by Wallace. Though it contains some Stravinskian flourishes it is not an obviously difficult piece, balancing fanfare-like passages with solemn chorales. Doggerel,one of a series begun in 1970 in reaction to the fashion for improvisation, is precise and punchy. Jim Parker's music for Betjeman's 1970s albums perfectly complemented the poems though much of The Golden Section shows off the brass rather than evokes the spirit of the painters cited in the movement titles. Michael Nyman's piece is reworked (and somewhat improved) from material originating in Prospero's Books. Matthias's Dances are lively and bright-textured.

James MacMillan's piece tops off the programme impressively, from its eerie, subliminal opening, through the dark fire of the central fanfares to the final isolated muted trumpet calls.

06 September 1999