Aureole etc.




Golden Age singers

Nimbus on-line




Faure songs
Charlotte de Rothschild (soprano);

  Founder: Len Mullenger
Classical Editor: Rob Barnett


The Glory of Gabrieli
Giovanni GABRIELI (1553/6-1612)

Canzon duodecimi toni, Canzon septimi toni no. 2, Canzon VII, Canzon IX
ANONYMOUS (c. 1500)

Gloria
Claude GERVAISE (fl. 1540-60)

Pavane di Angleterre
Samuel SCHEIDT (1587-1654)

Galliard
Christopher TYE (c.1505-?1572)

In Nomine XII
Gabriel DIAZ (1590-1638)

Lauda Jerusalem*
Giovanni Perluigi da PALESTRINA (1525/6-1594)

Vos amici mei estis
G. GABRIELI

Canzon XVI*
Adriano BANCHIERI (1658-1634)

Concerto Primo: La Battaglia
Giovanni CAVACCIO (c.1556-1626)

Credidi (Tertii toni)
Orlando di LASSO (1530/2-1594)

Olà, o che di bon echo
G. GABRIELI

Sonate XIII (from Canzone e sonate), Canzon XI
Thomas TALLIS (c.1505-1585)

Veni Redemptor
William BYRD (1543-1623)

Non vos relinguam
G. GABRIELI

Canzon a 12, Canzon a 12 echo*
Empire Brass Quintet [Rolf Smedvig, Marc Reese (trumpets), Gregory Miller (horn), Mark Hetzler (trombone), Kenneth Amis (tuba)] and friends [Robert Sullivan, Thomas Rolfs, Thomas Smith, Philip Smith, Stephen Emery (trumpets), James Sommerville, Jonathan Menkis (horns), Norman Bolter, Ronald Barron (trombones), Chester Schmitz, Gary Offenlock (tubas), J. William Hudgins (percussion)]/Rolf Smedvig, Robert Sullivan*
Recorded 31st August-2nd September 1999, National Music Center, Lenox, Massachusetts
TELARC CD-80553 [58:39]



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The repertoire of original music for brass ensemble is almost all fairly recent, so brass groups in search of an earlier repertoire have to depend on arrangements. Renaissance polyphony has always been a happy hunting ground, since the nature of the music and the vocal ranges mean that transcription is virtually unnecessary; almost the entire range of music written in that period can be played by brass groups exactly as it is, and the results are invariably effective. The Palestrina motet and in particular, I would say, the beautiful piece by the little-known Bergamasque composer Giovanni Cavaccio, certainly testify to this.

Besides, this was a period in which the possibilities of instrumental music were being explored, although composers usually left the actual scoring flexible. So, while nothing on the disc would have sounded to its contemporaries exactly as it does here (these are modern instruments and they do not pretend to be otherwise), the various Canzone by Gabrieli, around which the programme is centred, were all intended for instruments and we know that brass instruments were in use in early 17th Century Venice. Some of these pieces are originally for organ, such as the simple, brief but sublime Veni Redemptor I by Thomas Tallis, which transcribes effortlessly to the new medium without the need to change a note. In some ways the vocal- and organ-derived pieces are the most attractive since the idea of writing pieces for instruments was a new one and the composers’ fascination with hearing a phrase ricocheting down the aisle from one group to the next was such that it hadn’t occurred to them that one could have too much of the effect.

Still, as long as you realise that nothing on this disc sounds as it would have in the composers’ own day, it is difficult to imagine that the composers would not have been thrilled to hear their work played with such security of ensemble and of intonation, as well as brilliance and warmth as needed. The Empire Brass Quintet is one of the best around, and they are also fortunate in their friends. The sound of the whole group playing at full stretch is thrilling, aided by a sumptuous recording in an acoustic which has a long enough reverberation period to suggest an ecclesiastical setting.

If you don’t have a disc of Renaissance music played by brass on your shelves, then you need look no further than this one.

Christopher Howell



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