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CD: Crotchet

Fanfare: British Music for Symphonic Brass Ensemble
see end of review for track listing
Locke Brass Consort/James Stobart
rec. 1976? ADD
CHANDOS COLLECT CHAN6573 [38:42]

Experience Classicsonline

I have known this collection since buying its first version - an RCA LP: RL 25081. The collection’s LP origins are pretty obvious from the shortish playing time. 

“Symphonic Brass Ensemble” signifies the traditional orchestral brass benches plus, in this case, timpani for Elgar’s lavish Hereford fanfare. While pandering to grand civic pride this fanfare manages to threads in some tragedy as well, Hereford did well with this commission. Bliss’s Fanfare for the Lord Mayor of London is splendid and perhaps pays passing tribute towards the end of its 1:31 to Janáček. It’s one of the most substantial of fanfares. Walton’s smashingly effervescent DNA imbues his Fanfare as arranged by Sargent. Havergal Brian’s Festival Fanfare is full of striking gestures, slashes and ascents. It’s alive with curmudgeonly character and in touch with the world of his enigmatic, angry and noble symphonies. Just as thrawn - and very much a symphonist - was Robert Simpson. While Simpson has had all his symphonies recorded by Hyperion Brian still awaits this accolade. It seems as far off as ever. Simpson was a granitic champion of Brian’s music and was responsible for the effort that resulted in the BBC studio-recording most of the 32 Brian symphonies for broadcast. His Canzona is the longest musical paragraph here. It’s also the most earnest and even the most beautiful in its evolutionary bloom. It dates from 1958 - the among the earliest years of Simpson’s long stay as a producer with the BBC. Tippett’s Fanfare is as distinctively Tippett as the Brian is pure Brian. His crunching and clashing harmonic ramparts leave one in little doubt as to the composer’s identity.

Bliss’s Fanfare for Coming of Age is adroitly regal with the suggestion of terraces and battlements - I wondered if it was intended for the Investiture of the Prince of Wales - no such thing. It dates from 1972 and was written for the Santa Barbara Symphony Orchestra. Bliss’s six Royal Fanfares include side-drum and cymbal. They’re very inventive. The Bliss Fanfare for Heroes looks back to the 1930 masterpiece Morning Heroes but only passim. Bliss’s Homage to Shakespeare is self-consciously antiquarian but with plenty of magniloquent Purcellian ‘attitude’.

Rubbra’s Fanfare for Europe has a slow and grand gait built and is around the notes EEC. It was written for the UK’s entry into the EU. Rather like the Bliss sequence, which also sports a central interlude, Jacob’s Interludes for trumpets and trombones is inventive but unlike the Bliss it has something of Rubbra’s Farnaby Improvisations about it. It dates from 1951. The three Benjamin microscopies are imperiously clamorous. Walton’s arrangement of a Queen’s Fanfare starts in with reminiscences of the Prelude and Spitfire Fugue. Michael Coe piles the dissonance and complexity high for his uniquely disquieting arrangement of the national anthem. It’s bound, playfully and magnificently, to disorientate any audience.

The programme notes are by Noel Goodwin.

Elite brass playing superbly recorded in 1977 and all at bargain price.

Rob Barnett 

Track listing

Arthur BLISS (1891-1975)
Fanfare for a Dignified Occasion (1947) [0:23]
Arthur BENJAMIN (1893-1960)
Fanfare for a Festive Occasion (1947) [0:37]
Edward ELGAR (1857-1934)
Civic Fanfare (1927) [1:41]
Arthur BLISS
Fanfare for the Lord Mayor of London [1:31]
William WALTON (1902-1983)
Fanfare (arr. M. Sargent) (1947) [0:55]
Havergal BRIAN (1876-1972)
Festival Fanfare (1967) [1:43]
Arthur BLISS
Fanfare for a Coming of Age (1973) [1:40]
Robert SIMPSON (1921-1997)
Canzona for Brass (1958) [5:15]
Michael TIPPETT (1905-1998)
Fanfare for Brass (1971) [2:22]
Arthur BLISS
Royal Fanfares 1-6 (1953) [7:41] (I Sovereign's Fanfare [1:14]; II Fanfare for the Bride [0:32]; III Interlude [0:36]; IV Royal Fanfare [0:39]; V Wedding Fanfare [1:11]; VI Royal Fanfare [0:45]); Fanfare for Heroes [1:41]; Homage to Shakespeare [1:03])
Edmund RUBBRA (1901-1986)
Fanfare for Europe (1972) [1:37]
Gordon JACOB (1895-1984)
Interludes for Trumpets and Trombones from Music for a Festival (1951) [7:58] (I Intrada [1:30]; II Round (of seven parts) [1:20]; III Interlude [1:18]; IV Saraband [2:13]; V Madrigal [1:37])
Arthur BENJAMIN
For a State Occasion (1953) [0:52]; For a Brilliant Occasion (1953) [0:31]; For a Gala Occasion (1953) [0:33]
William WALTON
A Queen's Fanfare (1959) [0:47]
The National Anthem (arr. M. Coe) (1964) [1:10]

Note from the Classical Editor
I am rather hoping that one of these days a certain short-lived CD will be reissued. It is Twenty Fanfares for the Common Man and came out on Koch International Classics in 1990, with Jorge Mester conducting the London Philharmonic Orchestra (CD 3-7012-2). Copland’s Fanfare for the Common Man was among a series commissioned by Eugene Goossens one year after the USA entered the Second World War. They were given their first airings at Goossens’ symphony concerts in Cincinnati in 1942-43. They are:-

1. A Fanfare for Airmen, Bernard Wagenaar
2. A Fanfare for Russia, Deems Taylor
3. A Fanfare for the Fighting French, Walter Piston
4. A Fanfare to the Forces of our Latin-American Allies, Henry Cowell
5. A Fanfare for Friends, Daniel Gregory Mason
6. A Fanfare for Paratroopers, Paul Creston
7. Fanfare de la Liberté, Darius Milhaud
8. A Fanfare for American Heroes, William Grant Still
9. Fanfare for France, Virgil Thomson
10. Fanfare for Freedom, Morton Gould
11. Fanfare for Airmen, Leo Sowerby
12. Fanfare for Poland, Harl McDonald
13. Fanfare for the Medical Corps, Anis Fuleihan
14. Fanfare for the American Soldier, Felix Borowski
15. Fanfare for the Common Man, Aaron Copland
16. Fanfare for the Signal Corps, Howard Hanson
17. Fanfare for the Merchant Marine, Eugene Goossens
18. Fanfare for Commandos, Bernard Rogers

I wonder if any of you have a spare of this disc or would be prepared to let me have a CDR. 

 


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