Onyx Brass with guest players ● Cond. by John Wilson
Chandos CHSA 5221 (59.03)
This is a somewhat left-field release but recommendable nevertheless. It features an augmented Onyx Brass comprising six trumpets, five horns, six trombones, flute, tuba, timpani, and percussion (tubular bells, suspended hand bells, bass and side drum, glockenspiel, and cymbals) under the baton of a Farnon Society favourite, the charismatic John Wilson.
There are 58 tracks from 14 composers: Arnold (5), Bliss (13), Coates (2), Tippett (2), Haydn Wood (7), Imogen Holst (7), Ketèlbey (7), Curzon (3), Bax (7), and single tracks from Howells, Bantock, Harty, Lutyens, and Horovitz- [who was one of John’s tutors at the RCM – ed.]
The occasions, people and places celebrated include The Air Force, Graduation, Heroes, Kingston, Naval, Railway, Royal, Shakespeare, Show Business, Sydney,and Victory. The pieces ranging from solemn to exultant are nearly all short – most less than two minutes – and are magnificently played.
John says that it is the loudest group he has conducted !
Although probably not an album you are going to listen to at one sitting, it is an imaginative issue, with 48 premiere recordings and the customary fine Chandos sound quality and booklet notes.
Peter Burt © 2018