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David DZUBAY (b. 1964)
Antiphonal Fanfare No.2 (2006) [00:41]
Brass Quintet No.1 (1988) [14:54]
Acrostic Variations (1988) [11:31]
Solus I (1990) [8:05]
St Vitus’ Dance (2003) [17:45]
Manhattan Brass (Lew Soloff and Wayne du Maine (trumpets), Ann Ellsworth (horn), Michael Seltzer (trombone), David Taylor (bass trombone))
rec. 7 July 2005 (St Vitus), 20 December 2005 (Brass Quintet), 9 January 2006 (Acrostic Variations), KAS Music and Sound, LLC; 3 January 2006 (Solus), 4 April 2007 (Fanfare), Theater C of the Performing Arts Center, SUNY Purchase DDD
BRIDGE 9230 [53:34] 
Experience Classicsonline

Born, in 1964, in Minneapolis, and raised in Portland, Oregon, David Dzubay studied with Donald Erb, Frederick Fox, Eugene O'Brien, Lukas Foss, Oliver Knussen, Allan Dean and Bernard Adelstein. He earned his D.M. in Composition at Indiana University in 1991. He’s been championed by many of today’s leading musicians and ensembles and has quite a list of recordings to his credit.

This is my first contact with this composer and I’m not sure that a complete disk of music for brass quintet makes such a good introduction. It’s often said that the two most difficult chamber combinations to write for are the wind quintet and string trio – because the sound range within each group is too similar and it takes a great deal of thought and expertise to make music for these combinations work. To this one could add the brass quintet, which is equally severely limited in its sound world. 

The three quintets recorded here – the Fanfare is for horn, trumpet and trombone and Solus is for horn solo – inhabit the same sound world, use the same gestures, are consistently heavily scored with little consideration for light and shade and, in general, it’s all too unrelenting – fast trumpet writing, accompanied by off–beat chords from trombones can, so easily, become tiring. What makes the best works for brass quintet – such as John McCabe’s Rounds – work so well is the variety in timbre, the pacing of the music, the use of different groups of instruments and the interplay between these groups. I find all these things lacking in this music – as well as any discernable melodic interest. Even the solo work Solus containes little to which one can relate. 

There’s every possibility that Dzubay has written some fine music but it’s impossible to tell that from these rather dull and lack-lustre pieces. The performances are, I am sure, excellent and the notes are what you want when listening to music which is new to you, but without music of interest these latter are unnecessary. I really cannot find anything which grabs my attention here and it would be unfair of me to say that this music is worth giving a chance for there is insufficient interest in the pieces to make the listening experience worthwhile.

Bob Briggs


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