Over the Hills and Far Away - Kristiansand Blåseensemble
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
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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- Samuel Barber: Commando March (1943)
- Ole Bull: Grand March
- Percy Grainger: Children's March
- Edvard Grieg: Sørgemarsj over Rikard Nordraak (Nordraak's Funeral March), EG 107
- Johan Halvorsen: Bojarenes inntogsmarsj
- Johannes Hanssen: Valdresmarsj
- Charles Ives: Overture & March: 1776 (1904 rev. 1910)
- Felix Mendelssohn-Bartholdy: Trauermarsch in A minor, MWV P 14 Op. 103
- Serge Prokofiev: March in B flat major for Woodwind and Brass, Op. 99
- Camille Saint-Saëns: Orient et Occident, Op. 25
- Camille Saint-Saëns: Suite algérienne, R. 173 Op. 60
- Richard Strauss: Militärmärsche, TrV 221 Op. 57
- Carl Maria von Weber: March in C major, J. 307
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.
Copyright © 2007 John Broggio and HRAudio.net
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