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Album Reviews Album reviews with Ben Lunn

Latest releases from Oliver Iredale Searle, A4 Brass Quartet and AVZounds

Oliver Iredale Searle
Pilgrim Of Curiosity
Delphian
★★★★

THIS new album from Delphian showcases not only the breadth of the composer’s music, but also his versatility with a few instruments. The works featured are focused around the traditional wind quintet, with Pilgrim of Curiosity being for the full forces, whereas works like Faith, Hopes and Charity are solely for singular Baroque flute.

In a similar manner to Malcolm Arnold, there is a cheekiness and charm which could be naively brushed off as “wit without substance.” However, when you pay close attention to the melodic lines dance around each other, or rhythmic cells vary there is a cleverness working in the background.

The RSNO Wind Ensemble, and Carla Rees, all handle the music with a skill that gives one the impression they have all come to know and love the works intimately. For those eager to hear music by living British composers, this album will almost certainly charm you.

A4 Brass Quartet
Mosaic
Somm Recordings
★★★★

FOR trade unionists, the brass band hold a special place in our hearts, the brass band tradition in Britain is a wonderful example of what talent and musicianship is there waiting in the working class.

This new album, by A4 Brass Quartet, shows a wonderful intimacy and warmth that comes from four brass players instead of the full band. The album is full of arrangements by members of the quartet. The inclusion of Toccata 2 by Jonathan Bates is hopefully the start of many other composers writing for the group.

The four members of A4 show there is still a lot of life in brass band music, and there is a long way it can go. The variety and skill, just gives me sentimental flashbacks to the last time I played in a national contest with my own brass band, and I must say I am overjoyed. Get a copy.

AVZounds
Manifesto
★★★★

 

THE electroacoustic track, draws direct inspiration from arguably the most tenacious little book — The Communist Manifesto. Musically it drifts well between what is typical of electroacoustic music, and dance/house or grime.

Though not the first piece to draw directly from the manifesto, Erwin Schulhoff takes pride in doing that himself, however what is done skilfully here is shaping it with contemporary sounds and sensibilities.

This may sound like a lazy assessment, however, when we compare it to Schulhoff’s own Komunisticky Manifest, we see both used idioms of their time — with Schulhoff choosing to write for wind orchestra as a more proletarian choice.

The 40-minute track is a fascinating journey and gives a new certain kick to the Marxist classic. Whether it is enjoyable or timely or challenging is hard to see, however it does give its all in the hope it can to reiterate that Workers of the world unite!

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