Meridian Arts Ensemble – Timbrando – Channel Classics

by | Aug 18, 2008 | SACD & Other Hi-Res Reviews | 0 comments

Meridian Arts Ensemble – Timbrando [program below] – Channel Classics multichannel SACD CCS SA 25508, 55:54 [Distr. by Harmonia mundi] *****:

This is the ninth disc released by the expanded brass quintet (drums added to the usual complement of two trumpets, Fr. horn, trombone and tuba) and although recorded in the Netherlands by the Dutch classical label, Meridian Arts is based in New York City.  The album is being released in the year of the group’s 20th anniversary and is centered around works that come out of South American culture. Timbrando is Portuguese for “sounding” or “making a tone.”

It gets underway with Ocho por Radio by Mexico’s Revueltas.  Ocho means “eight,” and the work had to be transcribed down to the six members of Meridian Arts, but this version seems to work better for me than any other I have heard for eight players. Next is one of Piazzolla’s loveliest tangos, and with not an instrument in the sextet anything close to a typical tango ensemble, the arrangement still captures the excitement of New Tango. Probably the most avant of the 11 selections is Dafnix Prieto’s Echo-Dimensions.  It is based on the special sounds and textures each of the different instruments create.

Villa-Lobos’ Bachianas Brasileiras Nos. 1 and 5 make a lovely combination, with the part originally sung by a soprano in the latter scored for French horn and marimba. En par de los levantes de la aurora comes from a second Mexican composer – a woman who centered her nine-minute composition on verses from The Song of Songs.  The title tune Timbrando combines folk with jazz and classical influences and has a sparkling vibes solo.  The 5.0-channel surround recording is extremely transparent and places the six performers quite solidly across the soundstage.  Brass fans will have to have this one!

TrackList: REVUELTAS: Ocho por Radio; PIAZZOLLA: Oblivion; TRAD.: Caballito Nicoyano; VELOSO: Michelangelo Antonioni; PRIETO: Echo-Dimension; VILLA-LOBOS: Bachianas Brasileiras Nos. 1 & 5; LEON: Saoko; LARA: En par de los levantes de la aurora; PASCOAL: Timbrando; PIXINGUINHA & LACERDA: Um a Zero

 – John Sunier

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