This is more than a CD – it is an event. The music of Grainger,
already a cause célèbre among fans of wind band music,
is treated here with an amount of respect and scholarship such
as it has likely never seen. Grainger is counted with Vaughan
Williams and Holst as one of the first major composers to write
substantial music for wind band. His greatest work titles the
present disc. While much of this music has been recorded countless
times by bands all over the world, this release is truly something
the band aficionado, there are two reasons to buy this recording.
First and foremost is to hear superior performances of some
of the best music ever written for band – Lincolnshire Posy,
Colonial Song, Irish Tune from County Derry and Children’s
March. The performances are about as close to flawless as
is possible, and the sound quality is astonishing - watch
out for the bass drum. Excellent liner-notes detail the history
of each piece and the efforts that went into making this release
as authoritative as possible.
second reason for band fans to purchase this CD is to hear
some things one hasn’t heard before. I was personally unfamiliar
with the pieces The Merry King and After-Word,
some really lovely music I was glad to become acquainted with.
While the other repertoire was familiar to me, Junkin chooses
some slower-than-usual tempi for some pieces, revealing fresh
interpretive insight into well-worn territory. He also brings
out some details in the music that other performances obscure.
The Dallas group is an army of generals, capable of indulging any of Junkin’s
(or Grainger’s) whims.
of that said, it would be a shame if only “band fans” heard
this disc - though they all need to. It deserves a wide audience,
and I hope it makes many people more aware of the music of
Grainger as well as the fantastic Dallas Wind Symphony. It’s
doubtless one of the best band recordings I’ve ever heard.
see also Review
by Jonathan Woolf