American Record Guide
  by Buerkle

The Horn Call
  by Calvin Smith
  May 1, 2011
  by Jim Lochner
  Feb. 24, 2011
  by David Vernier
  Feb. 02, 2011

The Arts Desk
  by Graham Rickson
  March 26, 2011
  by Joshua Kosman
  March 6, 2011

SF Classical Voice
  by Jeff Dunn

Fanfare Magazine
  by Ronald E. Grames
  June 10, 2011

Audiophile Audition
  by Steven Ritter
  June, 2011

  by John Miller
  March 15, 2011

  by Laurence Vittes
  May 2011


Brass & Organ Christmas
  by Kilpatrick
  Nov/Dec 2000



Sound the Bells! American Premières for Brass: music by John Williams, Michael Tilson Thomas, Morten Lauridsen, Bruce Broughton, Kevin Puts and Scott Hiltzik
The Bay Brass (Harmonia Mundi)
featured in
The Arts Desk
Graham Rickson
Saturday, 26 March 2011

       Listening to this glorious CD of American brass music after the Ives/Copland disc reviewed above got me thinking about what gives so many of these works their unmistakable flavour -- something to do with the wide intervals, the syncopated rhythms, the melodies which so often curve upwards rather than down. The oldest work on this disc dates from 1980, the most recent from 2009. The language is unashamedly tonal and defiantly, unapologetically positive. Brass ensemble music can easily become dull; there's little chance of that here when each work is so imaginatively and idiomatically scored. Michael Tilson Thomas's Street Song seems at times to channel the spirit of the composer's mentor Leonard Bernstein, and Tilson Thomas knows exactly what a good brass group can do -- check out those wonderful slow trombone slides in the second movement.

The three John Williams works are high-octane easy listening, technically brilliant showpieces. Parts of Bruce Broughton's Fanfares, Marches, Hymns and Finale recall B-movie soundtracks and Shostakovich-style manic energy. Kevin Puts's Elegy offers much-needed repose before the percussive handclaps of Scott Hiltzik's Spirals. The playing by San Franscisco-based Bay Brass is phenomenal and spiritual uplift is guaranteed.




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