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Over the Hills and Far Away - Kristiansand Blåseensemble

Over the Hills and Far Away - Kristiansand Blåseensemble

2L  2L-031-SACD

Stereo/Multichannel Hybrid

Classical


Saint-Saëns: Marche Militaire Française, Grainger: Children's March, Strauss: Militärmarsch, Prokofiev: March Op. 99, Weber: Marcia, Mendelssohn: Trauermarsch, Barber: Commando March, Saint-Saëns: Orient et Occident, Ives: Overture & March "1776", Hanssen: Valdresmarsj, Halvorsen: Bojarenes inntogsmarsj, Bull: Grand March, Grieg: Sørgemarsj

Kristiansand Blåseensemble
Bjørn Sagstad (conductor)


MARCHES — Cymbal crashes, screeching clarinets and harsh trombones. But a march comes in many colours — and not necessarily one to be marched to!

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Reviews (2)
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Review by John Broggio - May 20, 2007

This is a disc of marches that, unlike almost all others of this type, does not outstay its welcome. Indeed I have invited this disc for a return on many enjoyable occasions because of the tremendous playing that is delightful in the playful and unbuttoned response that the Kristiansand Blåseensemble give to the marches.

Some might find that the marches from Richard Strauss and Camille Saint-Seans are a little conservative by comparison with the others on the disc but that is largely because of the musical way that they are played - nothing is imposed upon the music except good taste. Unlike some collections of marches, there is a good proportion of slower music largely owing to the inclusion of some written for funerals such as those written by Mendelssohn and Grieg.

Mainly though, the music is unalloyed pleasure with whimsical beauty from Grainger (which gives the disc its title) to exhilarating rawness from Prokofiev (similar in many ways to melodies from the 5th Symphony). Typically, the Ives steals the show in terms of interest (when wouldn't it) and there are other pieces when one wonders whether the Strauss family was on holiday in Scandinavia.

Throughout the playing is of the very highest standard and causes a smile to creep onto the face, even in the most melancholic sections. 2L's recording is also a joy to the ear and whilst fairly close, is never obtrusively so and allows the full pleasure of the performances to come over.

Highly recommended.

Copyright © 2007 John Broggio and HRAudio.net

Performance:

Sonics (Multichannel):

stars stars

Review by Graham Williams - May 26, 2007

This SACD is a delight from start to finish and is typical of the imaginative programming and choice of music for various ensembles that one has come to expect from this enterprising label.

Here, the Kristiansand Blåseensemble, a military band formed from members of the Kristiansand Symphony Orchestra, play thirteen marches by twelve 19th and 20th century composers in a recording of outstanding realism.

The marches chosen are for the most part unfamiliar, but are in such a wide variety of styles that even playing all thirteen at one hearing never becomes tiring. I particularly enjoyed Orient et Occident, a Grande Marche by Saint-Saens with its use of ‘Turkish Percussion’ while Mendelssohn’s Trauermarsch was an extended piece full of impressive solemnity and typical melodic assurance quite unknown to me and whose acquaintance I was glad to make.

Perhaps the most fascinating piece on the disc, however, is Charles Ives’ Overture and March 1776, a typically quirky piece involving Ives’ characteristic use of polyrhythmic effects. Here 2L have used the surround channels brilliantly, not just for ambience but to position the separate groups of musicians in the band around the listener and in so doing make it easier to identify each of the complex strands in this piece. This is exactly where multi-channel can score over two-channel stereo, both in enhancing listening pleasure and acting in the service of the music.

Throughout, the Kristiansand Blåseensemble play with great assurance and enthusiasm and it would be hard to imagine the music much better played than it is here. As the booklet notes say” This is vitamin C in musical form for children of all ages!”

Copyright © 2007 Graham Williams and HRAudio.net

Performance:

Sonics (Multichannel):

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Comment by threerandot - July 7, 2016 (1 of 2)

Review by threerandot May 7, 2007
Performance: 4
Sonics: 4 (MCH)

I have never been a big fan of Marches, but I think this disc may change that. The Kristiansand Blaaseensemble are a more than capable wind group who play all of the marches in this collection with poise, charm and when called for, great power.

Some of these marches are more traditional in character, like the opening Marche Militaire Francaise by Camille Saint-Saens or the Militärmarsch by Richard Strauss. My favorites were the jocular March, Op. 99 by Prokofiev or the solemn Trauermarsch by Felix Mendelssohn. The Commando March by Samuel Barber featured a dazzling display of virtuosity and I paticularly enjoyed the closing Sørgemarsj by Edvard Grieg with its almost Wagnerian brass. I shouldn't forget to mention the eccentric Overture and March 1776 by Charles Ives with its avant garde approach, filled with dissonance and melodies everywhere in a controlled kind of chaos. Just about the best march on this whole disc.

Throughout these marches you will hear plenty of wind solos by oboes, clarinets, bassoons and horns. There is also the standard "theme and variations" approach with repeats, which is one reason why I've never been a huge fan of marches. It is the marches I mention above with their unconventional approach that I found the most rewarding. I don't see myself playing this a great deal, but it should appeal to march lovers.

The acoustic in this recording seems perhaps a little closer than normal although the big climaxes still seem to have plenty of weight. I think I would have preferred perhaps just a bit more distance from the microphones. Having said that, the sound is far from disappointing and provides deep bass and colorful winds. For lovers of marches this set should please those who are looking not just for something traditional, but also something more challenging. Recommended.

(This review refers to the MCH portion of this disc.)

Comment by hiredfox - January 20, 2022 (2 of 2)

Only one or two of these works have been recorded previously on SACD so a lot of new stuff to interest potential buyers.