Georges BIZET (1838-1875)
Carmen Suite: Prelude - Les Toreadors - Habanera - Danse Bohème - Chanson du Toréador, originally arranged for ten piece brass ensemble by Roger Harvey [6:30]
Isaac ALBÉNIZ (1860-1912)
Suite Española: Asturias [6:11]
Astor PIAZZOLLA (1921-1992)
Invierno Porteño (Buenos Aires Winter) [6:24]: Verano Porteño (Buenos Aires Summer) [6:25]
Kurt WEILL (1900-1950)
Brass Suite from Die Dreigroschenoper (The Threepenny Opera): 1. Overture [1:52]:
2. Moritat of Mack the Knife [2:07] 3. Instead-Of-Song [2:09]: 4. Ballad of the Easy Life [2:58]: 5. Polly's Song [2:24]: 6. Tango-Ballad [2:52]: 7. Cannon Song [2:33]
Edvard GRIEG (1843-1907)
Bestemors Menuet Op.68 No.2 (Grandmother's Minuet) [2:06]: Gjendines bådnlåt Op.66 No.19 (Gjendine's Lullaby) [1:31]: Troldtog Op.54 No.3 (March of the Dwarfs) [3:40]
Jan KOETSIER (1911-2006)
Brass Symphony Op.80 [13:55]
Grassauer Zwiefacher Op.105 No.3 (folksong) [1:43]
Wolfgang Amadeus MOZART (1756-1791)
Piano Sonata No.11 K.331: III. Rondo Alla Turca [3:25]
Grassauer Zwiefacher Op.105 No.3 (folksong) 1:43
tenthing (brass ensemble)
All arrangements are by Jarle Storløkken, except for Koetsier
rec. July and August 2010, Den Norske Opera and Ballet, Oslo
EMI CLASSICS 0 88326 2 [68:46]
‘tenThing’ is the name of the brass ensemble and ‘10’ is the album title. Rising trumpet star Tine Thing Helseth is the primarius of the group, hence the wordplay and general ‘ten thing’ going down. I suppose it pays to make something, even ten things, of a name like that, but you can’t help feeling that EMI’s marketers are going to have to get cracking on the limited supply of options to get very far with it. It’s all getting confusing.
She, they, and the ensemble have constructed a programme of arrangements, in the main, that will appeal to lovers of the lighter side of the brass ensemble tradition. All arrangements are by Jarle Storløkken, with the exception of the only original works which are the two by Jan Koetsier. Bizet’s Carmen suite was originally arranged for ten-piece brass ensemble by Roger Harvey, so I assume (from the ‘originally’) that Storløkken has added his imprint to the arrangement. The six minute potpourri is a dashing and enjoyable one with plenty of dynamism and energy, and technical suavity, on display. Albéniz’s Asturias from his Suite Española, however, cannot help sounding rather beefy in this brassy context, losing something of its suggestive charm in the process, albeit there’s some fine colour distribution amongst the instrumentation. Piazzolla’s music survives ingeniously, Invierno Porteño having a neo-baroque festive feel whilst Verano Porteño is suffused with the spirit of Miles Davis’s horn in the B section and ends with a witty Vivaldian flourish.
The players dig into Weill’s Threepenny Opera suite with guts and gusto, the bluesy tints more overt than in shellac performances contemporary with the premiere. The three Grieg pieces form a programme-within-a-programme and nicely balanced between lullaby and dwarf marches; the March of the Dwarfs is from the Lyric Pieces for piano and here sports a luscious B section. Jan Koetsier’s Brass Symphony is an original, and this adds ballast to the programme. It’s a tight, breezy and engaging, with a blues-flecked Larghetto and a festive, celebratory finale.
This is a high spirited and engaging album. Less of the ten thing, though, next time.
Jonathan Woolf

A high spirited and engaging album.