“Music for Brass & Organ” = J.S. BACH, BUXTEHUDE, CAMPRA, G. GABRIELI, HOVHANESS, HUMPERDINCK, RIMSKY-KORSAKOV, SCHUMANN, R. STRAUSS – Thompson Brass Quartet, Barbara Bruns, organ – MSR

“Music for Brass & Organ” = J.S. BACH, BUXTEHUDE, CAMPRA, G. GABRIELI, HOVHANESS, HUMPERDINCK, RIMSKY-KORSAKOV, SCHUMANN, R. STRAUSS  – Thompson Brass Quartet, Barbara Bruns, organ – (Fisk Organs – Christ Church, Andover; Old West Church, Boston; St. John’s Episcopal Church, Gloucester) MSR Classics MS1481 (11/11/14) 67:00 [Distr. by Albany) ****:

I’ve grown up with a love for organ and brass music never realizing until now that it is a fairly recent invention. Of course in Germany, brass playing with organs was not unknown, but it was never widespread. In my early listening to classical music when I was young I loved the genre on Columbia LPs with E. Power Biggs and the New England Brass Ensemble, but these works consisted of transcriptions of generally older music.

Organ and brass music is still popular so the transcriptions keep coming, and in the last several decades we have had music written especially for brass ensembles with organ.

That brings us to this solid CD offering of Music for Brass & Organ from MSR Classics. It’s 11 selections from transcribed music, and music written specifically for the genre. The CD is very listenable, and there is a variety of music from the baroque to the modern. The organ is a Fisk Organ, recorded at three different venues by organist Barbara Bruns.

This is an agreeable CD. Some of the music is familiar, like the Procession of Nobles by Rimsky-Korsakov, and more contemporary, like the lovely Senza Misura by Alan Hovhaness. There is Bach, Buxtehude and of course Gabrieli. My favorite tracks on the album were the Hovhaness and the Suite of Dances by Campra. I also liked the transcription for the Procession of the Nobles.

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.

TrackList:

1. Andre Campra: Suite of Dances I. Marche
2. Andre Campra: Suite of Dances II. Premier Passepied
3. Andre Campra: Suite of Dances III. Air des Musettes
4. Andre Campra: Suite of Dances IV. Air des Espagnolles
5. Andre Campra: Suite of Dances V. Air pour les Arlequins
6. Andre Campra: Suite of Dances VI. Marche
7. Alan Hovhaness: Senza Misura (from Sonata For Trumpet And Organ, Op. 200)
8. Engelbert Humperdinck: Dream Pantomime (from Hansel and Gretel)
  9. Giovanni Gabrieli: Canzon Septimi Toni No.2
10. Johann Sebastain Bach: Schmücke Dich, O Liebe Seele, BWV 654
11. Robert Schumann: Adagio (from Four Canonic Studies)
12. Giovanni Gabrieli: Canzon Noni Toni (from Sacrae Symphoniae)
13. Dietrich Buxtehude: Wie Schön Leuchtet Der Morgenstern
14. Nicolai Rimsky-Korsakov: Procession Of The Nobles (from Mlada)
15. Johann Sebastain Bach: Fantasia In G Major, BWV 572
16. Richard Strauss: Solemn Entry of The Knights of the Order of St. John

—Mel Martin

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