One of the most grown-up review sites around
One of the most grown-up review sites around

Search MusicWeb Here


International mailing

Up to 40% off

  Founder: Len Mullenger

Some items
to consider

in the first division

extraordinary by any standards

An excellent disc

a new benchmark

summation of a lifetime’s experience.

Piano Concertos 1 and 2
Surprise Best Seller and now

A Garland for John McCabe


DIETHELM Symphonies

The best Rite of Spring in Years

BACH Magnificat

Brian Symphs 8, 21, 26

Just enjoy it!

La Mer Ticciati








Advertising on

Donate and keep us afloat


New Releases

Naxos Classical

Nimbus Podcast

Obtain 10% discount

Special offer 50% off

Musicweb sells the following labels
Acte Préalable
(THE Polish label)
Altus 10% off
Atoll 10% off
CRD 10% off
Hallé 10% off
Lyrita 10% off
Nimbus 10% off
Nimbus Alliance
Prima voce 10% off
Red Priest 10% off
Retrospective 10% off
Saydisc 10% off
Sterling 10% off

Follow us on Twitter

Subscribe to our free weekly review listing

Sample: See what you will get

Editorial Board
MusicWeb International
Founding Editor
Rob Barnett
Senior Editor
John Quinn
Seen & Heard
Editor Emeritus
   Bill Kenny
Editor in Chief
MusicWeb Webmaster
   David Barker
MusicWeb Founder
   Len Mullenger


CD: AmazonUK

Tea for Two – Dances and Rags with London Brass
Michael PRAETORIUS (1571-1621)
Dances from Terpsichore (1612) (arr. David Purser) [10:25]
Béla BARTÓK (1881-1945)
Six Dances in Bulgarian Rhythm (1926-1939) (arr. Christopher Mowat) [11:22]
Franz SCHUBERT (1797-1828)
Eight German Dances (1823-1825) (arr. Roger Harvey) [9:47]
Vincent YOUMANS (1898-1946)/Dmitri SHOSTAKOVICH (1906-1975)
Tahiti Trot (Tea for Two), Op. 16 (1928) (arr. David Purser) [2:42]
Antonin DVOŘÁK (1841-1904)
Slavonic Dance No. 8 in G minor, Op. 46 No. 8 (1878) (arr. David Stewart) [4:22]
Moritz MOSZKOWSKI (1854-1925)
Danse espagnole, Op. 12, No. 2 (1876) (arr. Chris Hazell) [4:49]
Hans Werner HENZE (b. 1926)
Ragtimes & Habaneras (1975) (arr. David Purser) [14:19]
Heitor VILLA-LOBOS (1887-1959)
Mazurka-Chôro from Suite Populaire Brésilienne (1908-1912) (arr. Roger Harvey) [3:03]
Manuel de FALLA (1876-1946)
Ritual Fire Dance from El amor brujo (1914-1915) (arr. Eric Crees) [3:44]
London Brass
rec. May 1988, Henry Wood Hall, London, UK
TELDEC 2564 68617-2 [60:00]

Experience Classicsonline

As a fan of the much-missed Philip Jones Brass Ensemble – disbanded in 1996 – I’ve been waiting for someone to fill the gap left by that talented bunch. I was always drawn to the urban pep, the metropolitan sophistication, of the PJBE’s playing, which made a change from the earthier – but to me less satisfying – sound of Black Dyke Mills and other colliery bands. Indeed, hearing a brass band in full cry – a rare occurrence these days – is a uniquely thrilling experience, and one with an uncommonly high goose-bump count.

So what does London Brass, formed in 1986, have to offer? The title of this collection, Tea for Two, is a bit misleading as one might be tempted to think it’s all jazzy, 20th-century fare. In fact it kicks off in the 17th, with the dances from Michael Praetorius’s Terpsichore. First impressions are of a light, fleet-footed playing style, sonorities remarkably like the shawms and sackbuts of the time. especially in the Courante and Pavane. The latter is particularly appealing, as it modulates from solemn stateliness to skirts-up good fun and back again. And there’s some nimble playing in the concluding Ballet as well, the music fading most atmospherically at the close.

A good start then, although some might find the high brass a little too acid at times; never mind, that’s easily neutralised with a tweak of the treble control. Perspectives are fine though, with antiphonal effects very well managed. The six dances from Bartók’s Mikrokosmos are rather more trenchant, with some delectable shading in the lower brass and fine control of rhythm throughout. Indeed, there are times when this music reminds me of the fevered world of The Miraculous Mandarin. Full marks to arranger Christopher Mowat for capturing that Bartókian tang so well.

The eight German dances by Schubert are not drawn from a single work but culled from D783 (1823-1825) and D790 (op. posth). There’s a welcome lift and lilt to these tunes, and plenty of contrast too. I particularly like the way these players shade and shape this music, bringing out the ‘singing Schubert’ so familiar from the solo piano pieces. Really, it’s every bit as polished as anything PJBE have done. And then there’s the winning wit of Vincent Youmans’ Tea for Two, which Shostakovich famously orchestrated in just 40 minutes. As for the Weill-like jauntiness to the playing, it’s entirely apt; what a pity it’s all over so soon.

Dvořák’s ebullient Slavonic Dances will test a player’s skills when it comes to rhythm and articulation, and I’m pleased to say London Brass aren’t found wanting in either respect. There is a joyful pliancy, a burble and bounce, to their playing that is utterly infectious. And although Moritz Moszkowski’s Spanish Dance isn’t that memorable it’s tossed off with a mix of hot-blooded temperament and smoky languor. Then Henze’s Ragtimes and Habaneras simply steals the show with its cocky little tunes and piquant writing. Slinky slides and echoes of Carmen alternate with darker, more dissonant episodes, but it’s the racier music that impresses most. A real treat this, and a fine arrangement by David Purser.

After that the Villa-Lobos Mazurka-Chôro, written for solo guitar, seems rather mellow and dream-like, underpinned by some rich, velvety tuba playing from Oren Marshall. These musicians are just as adept in the flickering sounds and bracing rhythms of de Falla’s Ritual Fire Dance. Not especially fiery, perhaps, but still a rousing conclusion to this most entertaining collection.

In his review of London Brass’s Send in the clowns, Michael Cookson commented on Teldec’s ultra-skimpy booklets; I have to agree, they are lamentable True, this is previously released material at a budget price, but such poor presentation really doesn’t do justice to the premium-priced playing on offer. I will now seek out this band’s other discs – Modern Times, featuring the work of Tippett and Takemitsu, looks especially interesting – but it makes absolutely no sense that a group this good should rely on CDs recorded more than 20 years ago. New discs – perhaps even an SACD or two – would be most welcome. And soon, please.

Dan Morgan


Making a Donation to MusicWeb

Writing CD reviews for MWI

About MWI
Who we are, where we have come from and how we do it.

Site Map

How to find a review

How to find articles on MusicWeb
Listed in date order

Review Indexes
   By Label
      Select a label and all reviews are listed in Catalogue order
   By Masterwork
            Links from composer names (eg Sibelius) are to resource pages with links to the review indexes for the individual works as well as other resources.

Themed Review pages

Jazz reviews


      Composer surveys
      Unique to MusicWeb -
a comprehensive listing of all LP and CD recordings of given works
Prepared by Michael Herman

The Collector’s Guide to Gramophone Company Record Labels 1898 - 1925
Howard Friedman

Book Reviews

Complete Books
We have a number of out of print complete books on-line

With Composers, Conductors, Singers, Instumentalists and others
Includes those on the Seen and Heard site


Nostalgia CD reviews

Records Of The Year
Each reviewer is given the opportunity to select the best of the releases

Monthly Best Buys
Recordings of the Month and Bargains of the Month

Arthur Butterworth Writes

An occasional column

Phil Scowcroft's Garlands
British Light Music articles

Classical blogs
A listing of Classical Music Blogs external to MusicWeb International

Reviewers Logs
What they have been listening to for pleasure



Bulletin Board

Give your opinions or seek answers

Pat and present

Helpers invited!

How Did I Miss That?

Currently suspended but there are a lot there with sound clips

Composer Resources

British Composers

British Light Music Composers

Other composers

Film Music (Archive)
Film Music on the Web (Closed in December 2006)

Programme Notes
For concert organizers

External sites
British Music Society
The BBC Proms
Orchestra Sites
Recording Companies & Retailers
Online Music
Agents & Marketing
Other links
Web News sites etc

A pot-pourri of articles

MW Listening Room
MW Office

Advice to Windows Vista users  
Site History  
What they say about us
What we say about us!
Where to get help on the Internet
CD orders By Special Request
Graphics archive
Currency Converter
Web Ring
Translation Service

Rules for potential reviewers :-)
Do Not Go Here!
April Fools

Untitled Document

Reviews from previous months
Join the mailing list and receive a hyperlinked weekly update on the discs reviewed. details
We welcome feedback on our reviews. Please use the Bulletin Board
Please paste in the first line of your comments the URL of the review to which you refer.