Saturday, December 04, 2010

Welcome Students - Spring 2011

Welcome to Advanced Brass Ensemble Literature, Spring 2011.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Pop Brass Ensemble Music

Today, we heard several recordings of "Pop" music recorded by various brass ensembles. They included:

Brassil plays Brazil
Nimbus Records NI5462
We heard tracks 15-19 (Andrezza, Coletanea '93)

Rhythm and Brass
Sitting in an English Garden
Tracks 3 and 15 (Here, There and Everywhere by the Beatles, and Money/Munchkin Song by Pink Floyd/Wizard of Oz

Boston Brass
Young Fogies
How High the Moon

Empire Brass
Braggin' in Brass
Slap Happy, Braggin in Brass, St. James Infirmary

The Bollywood Brass Band
Mere Yaara Dildara

Frozen Brass: Africa and Latin America
PAN Records 2026CD
2. Highlife Hymm

Atlantic Brass Quintet
By George
Porgy and Bess Suite arranged by Jack Gale

Wednesday, April 07, 2010


Metalofonico - a group founded by Jon Nelson and comprised of members of the Meridian Arts Ensemble, the Atlantic Brass Quintet, and the LA Philharmonic - recorded the CD we heard in class Monday. The piece featured was "Insomnio", by Jon Nelson. I am proud of this recording, not only due to the quality of the sound, but the variety and quality of the repertoire. If you are looking for a brass ensemble for the 21st century, check out Metalofonico.

Here is a note from 8Bells Records:
This collection of Brass Music represents the panacea of compositional innovation in Western Music. With the exception of Charles Ives, all of these composers are contemporaries. With the advent of new technologies and discovery of the past 100 years came many different modes of thought and theories of Art. In tracing the brass tradition from its folk roots to the highest artistic form of expression, an ensemble has formed out of the music contained in this cd. Influences and abilities abound in this group, comprised of musicians who are adept in virtually any style imaginable. To be blunt, these guys can play anything.
In the interest of full disclosure, here is a link to a not-so-good review.

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

The Loudest Brass Recording

Today we had a contest for presenting the loudest brass recording. The winner, at over 100 decibels, was this YouTube video of the sousaphone line from Virginia State.

Monday, March 29, 2010

Brass Quintet by Alvin Etler

This is a YouTube video of the Meridian Arts performing the fourth movement of the Alvin Etler Brass Quintet live in Romania, 2007.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Army Brass Quintet

Last night, the University of Iowa enjoyed a visit by the U.S. Army Band Brass Quintet, from "Pershing's Own" band in Washington D.C.  They presented a wonderful, entertaining, and classy recital - including music of Bach, Haydn, and Glinka. They are on their mid-west tour and we were pleased to be the first stop. After the concert, they generously gave a masterclass for several of our students, and provided some valuable feedback. As a brass musician, a military career is a valid option, especially in this economy, so it was good to hear and see how much these military musicians enjoy their jobs.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Brass in Blue

Last night, the Air Force Brass in Blue gave a fantastic performance at the Englert Theater in Iowa City. This group is comprised of four trumpets, two horns, two trombones, one euphonium, one tuba, one percussionist and one vocalist. Recently, all 60-piece Air Force bands were reduced to 45, which limits the wind ensemble, but has led to this very unique solution - the Brass in Blue. This group, which part of the Air Foce "Heartland of America" band is based at Offut Air Force Base in Nebraska, tours eight months out of the year. Their repertoire ranges from original works for brass choir from composers such as Ewazen and Turrin, to arrangements of marches, orchestral works, and big band style jazz standards. Today, we are honored to have Staff Segeant Matt Erickson, the leader and trombonist with the band.

Thursday, March 04, 2010

Les Miserables Brass Band - "Manic Depression" from d b on Vimeo.

This is a video put out in 1990 by Les Miserables Brass Band. Very innovative and tons of talent and energy in this group which includes Marcus Rojas on tuba, Dave Harris on trombone, and Marshall Seeley on horn.

Preview some of their tracks from their album Manic Traditions on here.

Tuesday, March 02, 2010

Brass Bonanza Audio Link!

Just listen to the Brassy Goodness!

Field Trip!

Let's all go see Mnozil Brass at the Chicago Brass Festival, Sunday March 21st at 3pm at Northeastern Illinois University - I'll drive!

Monday, February 15, 2010

African Roots of New Orleans Brass Bands

Featured recently in the University of Iowa "Be Remarkable" campaign, Dr. Richard Brent Turner is the author of a new book Jazz Religion, the Second Line, and Black New Orleans. Here is an excerpt from the feature:

The second line is the group of dancers—sometimes thousands strong—who follow the first procession of church and club members, brass bands, and grand marshals in New Orleans jazz street parades, including jazz funerals.
A typical jazz funeral looks something like this: The crowd starts to gather near the close of the church service, often a Catholic mass at a site like the venerable St. Augustine’s in Tremé, the oldest African American community in the United States.
The casket is placed in a horse-drawn carriage, and the brass band leads the second line—members of Black Indian tribes wearing ritual masks, others twirling umbrellas, everyone dancing in rhythm—to the cemetery. The procession can take hours. Later, participants gather at the repast to eat, swap stories, and rest.
“These are multilayered rituals,” Turner says. “They reflect the West African spiritual philosophy that involved the entire community in the funeral ritual and sees the cemetery as a crossroads where human beings interact with the ancestral world of spirits.”
Through it all plays the music, leading the crowd in sorrow and celebration and shifting from one to the other in just a few notes, a power Turner calls “almost magical.”
This mingling of music and spirituality originated in Congo Square, the New Orleans site where slaves performed African drumming and dancing every Sunday from the late 1700s to the mid 1800s. The second line began there, drawing on African culture, Haitian Vodou, and French-Catholic influences.

Monday, February 08, 2010

A Survey of Selected Professional Brass Ensembles

Spanish Brass
American Horn Quartet
Est. 1982; 8 CDs; First Prize Philip Jones 1989; NOTAMUS, Brussels 1991,Tokyo 1992; 1994 NEA Chamber music grant;Rep: Schumann and Hindemith to Bernstein and Ewazen.

Sotto Voce (tuba euphonium quartet) 
Est. 1996; semi-finalists at Fischoff and CAG; 1998 ITEC and Colonial Tuba Quartet competitions; 2 CDs; Rep: Bach and Haydn to Stevens and Forbes.

Est. 1960, Juilliard & Aspen, Stanton Mgmt., + 45CDs? “Serious brass chamber music”, “High Priests of Brass”, +100 commissions; Rep: Monteverdi & Bach to Etler and Ewazen

Est. 1970, over 70 CDs, 12 videos, +100 commissions, ICM Mgmt., Rep: Bach and Mozart to Jelly Roll Morton and Sousa

Brass Quintet plus percussion, Est. 1983, 5 CDs, Rhythm and Brass spinoff

Meridian Arts Ensemble
Brass quintet with drummer; 1990 Concert Artist Guild, (ASCAP/CMA); Adventurous Programming awards; 8 CDs; Rep: Gesualdo and Bach to Babbitt and Zappa.

Brass Quintet; Est. 1977, Grammy Award, +12 CDs, specializes in brass music on original instruments, SMG Artists.

Est.1971, CAMI, Naumberg Award 197?, 18 CDs, Boston University, Tanglewood, Telarc

Est. 1989, Staumvi Trumpets, Romera Brass mouthpiece collection, 9 CDs & 1 DVD, Won Narbonne prize 1996, Academia Spanish Brass

Mnozil Brass (Brass Septet) 
Est. 1990, Austrian, 5 CDs, 100 concerts annually, very unique singing, choreographed entertainment-oriented band.

Other Notable Small Ensembles:

Monday, January 25, 2010

Listening Session No. 1

Today we had our first listening session. I foccused on brass quintets and larger ensembles, and alternated between the two. We heard:

• Giovanni Gabrieli Canzona Per Sonare No. 27 and Canzon quarti toni from the CD "The Antiphonal Music of Gabriel", featuring the brass sections of the Philadelphia, Cleveland, and Chicago Symphonies of 1968. [Sony Classical MHK 62353]

• Alexander Aliabev Quintet from the CD "Russian Music for Brass" by the Montanus Quintett [Fermate FER 20022]

• George Lloyd Symphony No. 10 'November Journeys'. We heard the fourth movement, entitled "Energico". This recording is of the London Collegiate Brass, conducted by James Stobart [Trax Classique TRXCD 114]

• David Sampson Distant Voices, movement IV "Ben and Mark; My Sons". This recording is called "Premier!", by the American Brass Quintet [Summit Records DCD 187]

Rusasca de la Buzdug by the Balkan Brass Band "Fanfare Ciocarlia". The CD is called "Radio Pascani" [Piranha CD PIR 1254]

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Spring 2010

Photo: Old Merry Tale Jazzband from Hamburg, Germany

Welcome students of Advanced Brass Ensemble Literature to the Spring 2010 semester. This blog will serve as the class blog, which I will maintain, and as central hub for all of your student blogs.

Here you can view posts regarding our recent and/or upcoming classes, view links to brass ensembles and student blogs from past semesters, as well as your own. All past posts are archived, so you can review what past classes have covered and get ideas from other blogs. One of your assignments will be to create and maintain your own course-related blog, with a theme you choose, so peruse what others have done to get ideas.

Check out the following ABEL Central posts for blogging help:
Other helpful links: