February 24, 2010

☼ Henry Brant / Gerhard Samuel - 80 Trombones and 30 Basses LP [December 2008 re-post]

Berlioz is said to have exclaimed "No instrument can lift you from the depths of hell to the heights of heaven as can the trombone." Perhaps this was after hearing the sinister unisons of pedal tones on eight trombones in his Requiem, notes previously unknown or thought impossible by trombonists. But what might Berlioz have thought of a complete orchestra of trombones, eighty strong, playing at times in eighty real parts, and spanning a better than five octave gamut, comprising soprano, alto, tenor, bass and contrabass trombones? This is what Henry Brant has undertaken in his "Orbits." Veteran Avant-gardist Brant has long believed that 'space' is just as important an element in composition as pitch or time values, which is why he chose St. Mary's Cathedral in San Francisco to recorded the first performance on February 1979. The scene at St. Mary's was vaguely surreal. In the pews was an audience of 1500, sedate as any church-goers. Ranged about them in a huge semicircle was a gleaming array of 80 trombonists, as if a parade had lost its way and sought sanctuary. But when the music began, the sound was a far cry from Sousa. Separated by staccato commentaries from the cathedral's pipe organ, densely dissonant sonorities clashed and blended over the listeners' heads. Full-throated blares, splintery muted phrases, the crooning tones of the soprano trombone, the rumble of its contrabass relative - all seemed to accelerate in a circular motion, spinning into the cathedral's 190-foot cupola like an earthly echo of the music of the spheres. The premiere of "Orbits" was one of his most ambitious formations yet. Many of the performers belonged to a busy San Francisco trombone choir called the Bay Bones. Reinforcements included the entire trombone sections of the San Francisco Ballet Orchestra, the San Francisco Symphony and the Oakland Symphony. One musician even came all the way from Florida. It was worth it!
Gerhard Samuel became a major force on the American music scene through his continued efforts on behalf of American and European composers. Many distinguished works have had their first performances at his initiative and under his leadership. His works have been performed by the Philadelphia Orchestra, Los Angeles Philharmonic, San Francisco Symphony, Denver Symphony, National Symphony of Mexico, Cabrillo Festival, St. Paul and Los Angeles Chamber Orchestras, LaSalle Quartet, and many others. He has held conducting posts with the Minneapolis Symphony, Oakland Symphony, Los Angeles Philharmonic, and San Francisco Ballet. He is an international guest conductor of symphony orchestras and operas and is an established recording artist. He is professor of Music at the College-Conservatory at the University of Cincinnati. "What Of My Music" was written between March 13 and 29, 1979 at the request of Barry Green on behalf of the International Society of Bassists which holds an annual summer school at the College-Conservatory. It requires a lyric coloratura soprano, two solo double basses, (also two solo basses in the ensemble), twenty-eight tutti basses and three percussion players playing flexatone, vibraphones, marimbas, tam-tams, suspended cymbal, triangle, crotales, snare drum, chimes, thermos-shell and gourd. On a basic level the soprano represents the exterior manifestation of Emily Dickinson's intense guest for reaching "the sole ear I care to charm'; the basses carry the interior monologue. But, as always when talking about music, this is gross oversimplification, since fundamentally "What Of My Music" is, after all, his reaction to Miss Dickinson's poem.

: 1980
: Canada / Germany

01. Henry Brant: Orbits (21:08)
02. Gerhard Samuel: What of My Music (15:11)

Скачать 320k: HERE

No comments: