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The First Carnegie Hall Euphonium Recital
Antonio CAPUZZI (1755-1818)
Andante and Rondo [8:41]
Arthur FRACKENPOHL (b.1924)
Sonata for Euphonium and Piano (1973) [13:12]
Walter ROSS (b.1936)
Partita for Euphonium and Piano [9:38]
Samuel ADLER (b.1928)
Four Dialogs for Euphonium and Marimba (1974) [10:12]
John BODA (1922-2002)
Sonatina for Euphonium and Synthesiser (1970) [10:24]
Ermano PICCHI
Fantasia Originale arranged by Simone Mantia [8:46]
Brian Bowman (euphonium)
Marjorie Lees (piano)
Steven Harlos (piano)
Gordon Stout (marimba)
rec. 1978, except Frackenpohl and Picchi, which were recorded in 2008
CRYSTAL RECORDS CD393 [61:25]
Experience Classicsonline

Don’t let the title mislead you. These aren’t live performances from Carnegie Hall. It’s a 1978 recreation of an event given two years earlier by the virtuoso Brian Bowman, though lacking two items. In 2008 he added, for good measure, the missing Frackenpohl and Picchi to bring the disc’s total timing to a respectable hour plus.
 
The first course and dessert are provided by Capuzzi and Picchi. The opener is a jaunty affair arranged for tuba or euphonium by the British player Philip Catelinet, whose recording of Vaughan Williams’s Tuba Concerto is well known. There’s plenty of legato room here and testing of breath control – all surmounted with considerable brio by Bowman. The typically warm, Italianate Andante is followed by an avuncular and virtuosic Rondo workout. Frackenpohl’s Sonata was written in 1973. It sounds perky, humorous and maybe just a touch satiric but the lyric drift in the slow movement is a fine contrast, and takes the euphonium quite high. Articulation is tested in the witty finale – fully tonal and great fun.
 
Whereas Frackenpohl’s is a none-too-serious affair, Walter Ross’s Partita is written in a different vein. Opening as a taut toccata it embraces a Pastorale central movement in which the reflective outer material is strongly contrasted with a fast-as-a-flash B section. The Furiant is not quite the kind of affair that Dvořák knew and espoused but it’s full of verve and a soupcon of bristle – if you can have such a thing as a soupcon of bristle, this is it. Samuel Adler contributes Four Dialogs for euphonium and marimba which was written the year after the Frackenpohl. There are quasi-improvisational moments here and plenty of quirky exchanges between the two unlikely sounding concert bedfellows. In the second movement the euphonium plays Jack Benny to the marimba’s Mel Blanc - or maybe George Burns to the marimba’s Gracie Allen (take your pick). There’s a sinuous third movement and a whiplash finale – as whiplash, that is, as the euphonium can allow.
 
John Boda contributes a Sonatina for euphonium and synthesizer. The 1970 piece is a groovy opus somewhat redolent of kaftans and strange cigarettes. Fortunately I am too young to have experienced the full effects of this kind of thing. The Sonatina soon embraces some more reflective and listlessly lyric moments but the groove is still there – as is the haze of tape noise and the general larking about. And so onto the Picchi, a virtuosic showpiece cast in time honoured theme and variational form. Not much is known about the composer and the work may not even entirely be by him – Simone Mantia of Sousa’s band did much to popularise it and may have had a hand in its composition. But it’s a great way to end this delightfully varied recital.
 
Jonathan Woolf
 

 


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