> Fanfares and Hunting Music for Brass [JP]: Classical Reviews- February 2002 MusicWeb(UK)

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Fanfares and Hunting Music for Brass (3 discs titled as follows)

(1) Messe Solenelle de Saint Hubert
(2) Ceremonial de la Venerie
(3) Les Echos de la Futaie
Le Debuche de Paris (Discs 1 & 2) and Les Sonneurs du Bien Allé de Compiègne et nos amis du Point du Jour de Soissons (Disc 3)
recorded 1981 in St. Eustace, Paris (Disc 1), 1969 & 1978 in Paris (Disc 2) and 6/96 (Disc 3). ADD – Discs 1 & 2, DDD – Disc 3.
CALLIOPE CAL 9504 – 6 nas [74.08, 73.41 & 52.20]

Available for purchase on-line at a special price or you can download the entire CD or selected tracks. Full booklet notes available. Price includes VAT.

CAL 904

CAL 905

CAL 906

These three discs, sold as a set, are for a very targeted audience, and came as a tremendous shock to the system when I first played them. If you are in the market for three full discs of hunting and other fanfares played in the very French style, you may even still find the experience overpowering and not at all pleasant.

By French style, I am reminded of the trumpets and other brass instruments as heard in the Paris Conservatoire Orchestra in the fifties. These discs are similar only much more so. Very forthright playing, very wide vibrato, and no respite by having different instruments present, makes for a quite uncomfortable listening experience.

What further compounds this is that the discs are only available together, so be warned. Calliope has had the brilliant idea of combining the three into a box, as this means that interested purchasers will have to buy all three discs. If they were sold separately, I suspect not many buyers would purchase the other two, once having bought and heard the first.

Indeed, if these were played in the British House of Lords, I suspect that the ban on fox hunting might carried without dissent, if only to rid the countryside of sounds like this.

I can imagine that this repertoire could be quite interesting to the hunting fraternity, and so I would recommend Calliope to concentrate on outlets such as this rather than on general release dealers.

The improvement in sound quality from the first two discs to the third is quite marked, due no doubt to the digital recording – the improvement is noticeable, so if you do indeed want this repertoire and can buy the discs separately the third one is the one to go for. (It is also the shortest disc in the trio).

When the label has some absolutely superb discs (Isoir’s cycle of organ works by Bach, String Quartet cycles by the Talich Quartet etc.), it would be a shame to drive away enthusiasts coming to the label with a thoroughly bad shock as displayed by these discs.

I must say that in their defence however, that the actual virtuosity of the playing on all three volumes is fine, and there is a very lively spirit present. So, if you want a complete set of fanfares for hunting, called venery on the scanty sleevenote (I am assuming this is correct, as the Oxford Dictionary also defines venery as sexual indulgence). I couldn’t imagine anyone indulging with sounds like this going on in the background.

John Phillips

NOTE • Click on the button and you can buy the disc or read the booklet details • You can also access each track which you may then sample or down load. • Further Information.

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