THOMPSON BRASS ENSEMBLE

MUSIC FOR BRASS & ORGAN

MUSIC FOR BRASS & ORGAN


Johann Sebastian Bach, Dietrich Buxtehude, André Campra, Giovanni Gabrieli, Alan Hovhaness, Engelbert Humperdinck, Nicolai Rimsky-Korsakov, Robert Schumann, Richard Strauss

THOMPSON BRASS ENSEMBLE
BARBARA BRUNS, organ

James Thompson, trumpet
Richard Given, trumpet
Kevin Owen, French horn
George Sullivan, French horn
Philip Swanson, trombone
Gabriel Langfur, bass trombone

Fisk Organ: Opus 55 - Old West Church, Boston
Fisk Organ: Opus 97 - St. John’s Episcopal Church, Gloucester
Fisk Organ: Opus 137 - Christ Church, Andover
 

A Candlewood Digital Natural Presence Recording

[MS1481]

$12.95

LISTEN
REVIEWS
"Barbara Bruns and the Thompson Brass Ensemble give dazzling performances full of compelling virtuosity and brilliantly executed musical stunts that never fail to surprise, and the programme has a mesmerizing beauty that keeps you entranced for its hour plus duration. Absolutely enthralling stuff excellently recorded and professionally presented. Strongly recommended."
Gerald Fenech, Music & Vision [May 2017]
“Barbara Bruns...is the fine organist. She selects tone colors judiciously, never allowing organ to overwhelm brass, choosing distinctive timbres for solo passages. Her technical skills are excellent. The big question in brass-and-organ recordings is always about acoustics. They are very good here, with fine balance and natural sound. The Thompson Brass Ensemble is quite good”
Kilpatrick, American Record Guide [March/April 2015]
“...[my] admiration for the imaginative choice of repertoire and the excellent recorded sound. Production values are high—very helpful and informative notes, and a clear perfectly balanced recording.”
Henry Fogel, Fanfare [January/February 2015]
“It's a nice program covering Gabrieli, Buxtehude and Bach as one might expect, but also Strauss, Hovhaness, Schumann, Rimsky-Korsakov--and others you might not typically come across in such an anthology. In truth it all works quite well. The ensemble and Ms. Bruns give us stirring renditions. The three Fisk organs from three New England churches sound regal and dramatic, and the brass is recorded with the spatial staging you would expect. The beauty of the music shines forth in splendor and I find myself in the spirit of the season every time I listen. It is a very good one, with just enough of the unexpected to give your ears new life. Very recommended.”
Gapplegate Review [December 2014]
“... [a] solid CD offering of Music for Brass & Organ from MSR Classics… The CD is very listenable, and there is a variety of music from the baroque to the modern... This is an agreeable CD... The Thompson Brass Ensemble performs well, and the recording offers an excellent balance between the brass and organ. It is not closely miked, so we get a pleasant mix of the recording venue and a lot of audible space around the instruments. It’s not a demonstration disc in the usual sense of the term, but natural-sounding and a good listen... I like the CD because it goes beyond the usual repertoire and gives us some fresh selections as well as some familiar pieces transcribed for the ensemble.”
Mel Martin, Audiophile Audition [November 2014]
“Lovers of organ music and of the mellow, mellifluous sound of well-played brass will enjoy the new MSR Classics CD... This is quite a disparate collection, giving listeners a considerable taste of the way organ-and-brass arrangements of music of many periods sound, and showing off Barbara Bruns’ skills at the consoles of three Fisk organs in Massachusetts... Bruns’ sound mingles pleasantly, and frequently with considerable splendor, with that of the Thompson Brass Ensemble… the disc is a welcome opportunity for organists and organ fanciers to hear the instrument in a combination that is of relatively recent vintage but that carries with it considerable pleasure as a way of arranging music of earlier times.”
Mark J. Estren, InfoDad [October 2014]
PROGRAM NOTES
MUSIC FOR BRASS AND ORGAN: A BRIEF LOOK AT A SHORT HISTORY
The sound of an organ and a brass ensemble playing together strikes us today as having such a natural magnificence that it’s easy to forget that, in its current form, it is quite a new tradition. The earliest original compositions from established composers that are scored specifically for organ and brass ensemble are less than a century old, and those early works are scarce indeed. The vast majority of the repertoire dates from within the past 50 years, and consists either of original works (often by composers specializing in music for organ, for brass, or in church music) or of transcriptions of music originally scored for other forces.

The effect of the transcriptions has been to extend the brass and organ repertoire back four centuries, to the early Baroque. So successful have some of these transcriptions been that some music, in particular the antiphonal works of Gabrieli, but also later pieces such as the Grand Choeur Dialogué of Eugène Gigout, are at least as familiar in their organ and brass versions as in their original scorings.

Although new to the scene as a defined musical ensemble, the combination of brass and organ did not spring from nowhere. The roots are long and many. The history of organs playing with ensembles that included trumpets and horns, such as small orchestras, is ancient; the custom was practically universal in the German city-states of Bach’s time and for at least a generation before. There is also a long history of works for trumpet solo or duo with organ.

Meanwhile, there is a parallel history of brass ensemble music, especially in Northern Europe during the Baroque. These tended to be martial or celebratory works – fanfares in particular – and often included tympani or other drums.

The final tradition that seems to have played a role is rather ad hoc and little documented, yet is perhaps the most ancient and ubiquitous of all, and also perhaps the most important of all these roots. This is the tradition of inviting one or more solo wind or brass players into the organ loft on high occasions, both civic and religious (there having been no clear line between the two throughout most of history). This tradition survives to this day, as freelance brass players can attest by the number of requests they get in advance of Christmas and Easter, not to mention high-profile weddings.

One of the joys of the music on this CD is that it takes us beyond the familiar high-occasion repertoire for brass and organ, revealing a range of mood and versatility of sound and style that most of us have few opportunities to get to hear.

www.thompsonbrassensemble.com
 
PROGRAM
André CAMPRA (1660-1744)
SUITE OF DANCES (from Les Fêtes Vénitiennes)
Marche
Premier Passepied
Air des Musettes
Air des Espagnolles
Air pour les Arlequins
Marche

Alan HOVHANESS (1911-2000)
SENZA MISURA (from Sonata for Trumpet and Organ, Op. 200)

Engelbert HUMPERDINCK (1854-1921)
DREAM PANTOMIME (from Hänsel und Gretel)

Giovanni GABRIELI (1554-1612)
CANZON SEPTIMI TONI NO.2

Johann Sebastain BACH (1685-1750)
Organ solo: SCHMÜCKE DICH, O LIEBE SEELE, BWV 654
(Deck thyself, my soul, with gladness)

Robert SCHUMANN (1810-1856)
ADAGIO (from Four Canonic Studies)

Giovanni GABRIELI
CANZON NONI TONI (from Sacrae Symphoniae)

Dietrich BUXTEHUDE (1637-1707)
Organ solo: WIE SCHÖN LEUCHTET DER MORGENSTERN
(How brightly shines the morning star)

Nicolai RIMSKY-KORSAKOV (1844-1908)
PROCESSION OF THE NOBLES (from Mlada)

Johann Sebastain BACH
Organ Solo: FANTASIA IN G MAJOR, BWV 572 “PIÈCE D’ORGUE”

Richard STRAUSS (1864-1949)
SOLEMN ENTRY OF THE KNIGHTS OF THE ORDER OF ST. JOHN
 



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