Meridian Arts Ensemble – Brink – DAVID SANFORD: Corpus; ELLIOTT SHARP: Beyond the Curve; NICK DIDKOVSKY: Slim in Beaten Dreamers – (Brass quintet with drums) – Channel Classics

by | Aug 25, 2006 | SACD & Other Hi-Res Reviews | 0 comments

Meridian Arts Ensemble – Brink – DAVID SANFORD: Corpus; ELLIOTT SHARP: Beyond the Curve; NICK DIDKOVSKY: Slim in Beaten Dreamers – (Brass quintet with drums) – Channel Classics Multichannel SACD CCS SA 23206, 53:37 ****:

Not your usual brass quintet, the Meridians added a drummer since they were doing more contemporary works, often in an art-rock style, and that was more appropriate. All three of these pieces were commissioned by the ensemble, who wanted to construct concert programs out of just a few large scale works. The recording was made outdoors in the town square (named Brink) of a Dutch town, but it must be one of those with fairly continuous building fronts all around, because the ambiance sounds like a large hall and not like the typical dry outdoor sound.  The five brass instruments image cleanly and with great presence, yet blend well when the scores call for that.

David Sanford’s work was so non-tonal that I thought the disc might be challenging auditioning. Its six short movements refer to an underlying chorale theme which is presented most strongly in the fifth movement, De Profundis. Sharp’s work is also cutting edge, from a composer who collaborates with galleries, clubs, museums and theaters as a sound artist.  Somehow I found it more approachable – perhaps just getting initiated into the brassy avant sound world of Meridian Arts.  Either Didkovsky spoke to me more from his avant-rock background, or I was fully trained after a half hour of listening to this ensemble’s brash brassiness, but I found his  15-movement work great fun. His movement titles, like his overall title, are the sort of thing which almost makes sense, but not quite. Some are as short as 26 seconds. The composer has authored a computer music language called Java Music and this composition was the first one ever written in it.

– John Sunier

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