BRASS BAND of BATTLE CREEK
MUSIC FOR BATTLE CREEK
Clifford Brown, Emmanuel Chabrier, Bill Conti, W.c. Handy, Jacques Offenbach, Dmitri Shostakovich, Philip Sparke, Joseph Turrin, Richard Wagner
BRASS BAND OF BATTLE CREEK
Recorded Live in Concert
"In the United States, brass bands are not a commonplace, mostly because of the school band movement, which focuses on full wind ensembles; however, its most distinguished and accomplished American exponent is surely the Brass Band of Battle Creek. Composed of some of the most talented and proficient brass musicians from the United States and Great Britain, the Brass Band of Battle Creek is an ensemble of unbridled virtuosity and considerable musical sophistication and versatility. In the time-honored tradition of bands from the British Isles, its program on this disc is a mix of transcriptions from classical literature, original works specifically composed for brass band, and arrangements of pop and jazz standards... The program gets off to an exhilarating start with a dazzling transcription of the Scherzo from Shostakovich’s 10th Symphony, performed here with jaw-dropping virtuosity. Also included is Joseph Turrin’s poignant and moving Hymn for Diana, a tender, heart-wrenching elegy for the departed Princess of Wales. Though only six minutes in length, for me the work is the highlight of the disc... Philip Sparke has made something of a reputation composing for brass band. He writes in a flashy commercial and highly accessible style that has immediate audience appeal, though the artistic merit of his work might be questioned. His Music for Battle Creek, written especially for the Brass Band of Battle Creek, is a three-movement showpiece that is obviously designed to show off the band’s considerable technical prowess, as well as its musical sensitivity. In this respect, it does not disappoint. The disc is filled out with arrangements of familiar Offenbach and Chabrier, popular jazz tunes by Clifford Brown, Bill Conti, and W. C. Handy, and closes with a transcription of Wagner’s Elsa’s Procession to the Cathedral... This live performance is captured in “up close and personal” sound that reveals a great deal of detail and depth of ensemble sonority... fans of brass music will find a great deal to relish in this release, as will the general music lover. Recommended!"
Merlin Patterson, Fanfare Magazine - September/October 2010
"This is no ordinary brass band. The program here is as varied as its players and covers a wide range of musical styles... Gould begins with a turbulent interpretation of the second movement from Shostakovich’s 10th Symphony. The brasses are spot on, negotiating the difficult running 16th patterns normally assigned to strings and winds with ease. There is a nice depth to the sound of this ensemble. From the brilliance of the highest E-flat cornet to the darkness of the lowest tuba, a full spectrum of colors is achieved. Turrin’s heartfelt Hymn for Diana explores the sonorous and lyrical side of the brass band. The BBBC treats each phrase with care, and the result is beautiful... Chabrier’s vibrant and colorful Espana is expertly performed and captures a variety of textures with its use of brass and percussion. [In] Elsa’s Procession to the Cathedral from Lohengrin, the BBBC sings out with care and subtlety and slowly builds towards the epic climax... This recording of one of the finest professional brass bands in the United States or abroad is a must for any brass band enthusiast"
Buerkle, American Record Guide - September/October 2010
"The performances on this disc are all infectiously lively, the product of performance in front of a live audience, and showcase playing that’s often breathtaking in terms of control and improvisatory freedom... The live recording is exemplary—close up but spacious, timbrally accurate, with pinpoint placement of the instruments. The soundstage is handsomely wide as well. A very fine job all around... this is one for all lovers of brass band music."
Lee Passarella, Audiophile Audition - July 2010
PROGRAM NOTESThe 31-member Brass Band of Battle Creek has been described as an All-Star band of the brass and percussion world’s elite, attracting great musicians from around the United States and Europe. The BBBC plays two annual concerts in Battle Creek, Michigan, as well as a limited number of other engagements in handpicked locations in the U.S. and abroad. Though rooted in the British brass band tradition, characterized by larger ensembles of strictly brass and percussion - no reed instruments or strings - the BBBC also weaves in American elements such as jazz improvisation, pops and swing, resulting in a hybrid style that makes the BBBC truly unique among brass bands. Founded in 1989 by brothers Jim and Bill Gray, podiatrists and amateur brass players from Battle Creek, the BBBC has grown to cult status in that city, where BBBC concerts are regularly sold out and waiting lists are created weeks in advance. Trumpet legend Doc Severinsen, who has twice appeared with the band, said of the BBBC, “This band represents the beginnings of a new music movement in America. It’s one of the most accomplished groups I’ve ever worked with in my entire career.”
Dmitri Shostakovich (1906-1975)
Clifford Brown (1930-1956)
Joseph Turrin (b.1947)
Bill Conti (b.1942)
Jacques Offenbach (1819-1880)
Emmanuel Chabrier (1841-1894)
W.C. Handy (1873-1958)
Philip Sparke (b.1951)
Richard Wagner (1813-1883)