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



The Bay Brass
Harmonia Mundi - HMU 807556 (63' • DSD)

Williams Sound the Bells, Fanfare for a Festive Occasion, Aloft...To the Royal Masthead Puts Elegy for Brass Tilson-Thomas Street Song Hiltzik Spirals Lauridsen Fanfare for Brass Sextet, O Magnum Mysterium Broughton Fanfares, Marches, Hymns, Finale

A worthy project is finally realized with gleaming magnificence aplenty!

       Featuring some of northern California's finest brass players and friends, drawn primarily from the San Francisco Symphony and the San Francisco Ballet and San Francisco Opera orchestras, and with Michael Tilson Thomas conducting his own piece, this Harmonia Mundi SACD release is a brilliant showcase for the thrilling beauty of tonal brass music in the new century, and the splendid virtuosity of the Bay Brass.

The musical results and the imaginative repertoire will sound indescribably delicious to brass players, especially in the Bay Brass's brass choir configuration: Morten Lauridsen's popular 0 Magnum Mysterium (more than 50 recordings in many different adaptations and arrangements), three John Williams world-premiere recordings (of which Aloft...To the Royal Masthead, commemorating the quincentenary of Columbus's voyage to the New World, is the most notable) and Michael Tilson Thomas's endearing Street Song in the version MTT made for full brass ensemble.

Beyond these more or less well known pieces, Bruce Broughton's high-flying 18 minutes of Fanfares, Marches, Hymns, Finale is the spectacular tour de force it was commissioned to be, while shorter pieces by Kevin Puts (a heartfelt elegy) and Scott Hiltzik (a striking series of momentum building figures and energy) and a new fanfare from Lauridsen, all written for Bay Brass, capture not only the ear but the heart.

The recordings were made in sessions held at Skywalker Sound in 2004, 2007 and 2009, and as good as the conventional stereo sound is, with its impressive space, dynamic range and brass detailing, everything opens up substantially in the surround-sound mode to produce the kind of audiophile effect that is as natural as it is stunning. Book notes by the composers complete a landmark project which bears the dedication to "our spouses and supporters who have patiently waited for this project to be completed."

Laurence Vittes




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