Judging how my grandchildren may react to this diverse collection for
brass quintet, recent experience suggests that they would wander away with
barely a flicker of interest. The
record's title - Childrens' Circus - from the first track cannot
be taken at face value. The majority of children, who are neither madly
musical nor indifferent to lively tunes, mostly need a regular injection
of action to hold interest.
This programme is good for adults to pick over for single movements.
Apart from a transcription of Suppé's Overture Poet and Peasant
(excellent in both transcription and performance) and an uneventful suite
from the Armenian Arutjunian transcribed for brass, the pieces are colourful
and superbly played by this group.
The opening suite by Jan Koetsier, Childrens' Circus, is the spur
for assembling this programme, but is not matched elsewhere in suitability.
American William Schmidt's Latin Rhythms for tuba and percussion
conjures a much livelier picture than the reality of the mostly quiet interweaving
of instruments [click to listen]. How sad and
lonely the tuba can sound when deprived of its brassy neighbours.
Sandor Balogh's unpretentious group of dance movements in modern style
bows out the programme, with listeners responding to the beat however hard
they may try to avoid it. One piece is based on Shenandoah (ignored
in the liner notes) with a counter tune like a chorale prelude even
to a Bachian outline [click to listen].
A curious collection of pieces, but undoubtedly for brass fans who appreciate
the potential of a quintet.
Copyright © Basil Ramsey, October
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