Finally, the historic 1971 recording is available on CD! Jay Friedman, Frank Crisafulli, Ed Kleinhammer, Jim Gilbertsen and Arnold Jacobs play Orchestral Excerpts by Berlioz, Brahms, Bruckner, Gliere, Holst, Mahler, Smetana, Tchaikovsky, Verdi, and Wagner plus Tomasi’s To Be or Not to Be with Arnold Jacobs as the soloist and more.
Wagner- Ride of the Valkyries from Die Walkire (full ensemble). Well-known as an orchestral showpiece, and difficult to play with rhythmic accuracy, good intonation and tonal control at extreme volumes.
Holst-Mars from The Planets (full ensemble). A fine example of brass choir sound with an important part for the tenor tuba (euphonium).
Mahler- Fifth Movement excerpt from Symphony No.2 (Resurrection) (full ensemble). A chorale-like passage featuring rich harmonic texture and wide dynamic range, showing Mahler as perhaps the most imaginative composer of brass orchestral writing.
Tchaikovsky-Excerpt from 1812 Overture (3 trombones, tuba). A good example of the big full-sounding Tchaikovsky. Note the marcato style, which should be clearly articulated but never edgy-sounding.
Verdi-Introduction to Nabucco Overture (3 trombones, tuba). Simple but beautiful harmony, setting a noble, eloquent mood.
Wagner-Excerpts from Wotan's Farewell and Magic Fire Music, from Die Walkure (full ensemble). These were the most difficult of all the excerpts. A demonstration of soft, sustained passages requiring the ultimate in control, finesse and musicianship.
Mahler-First Movement excerpt from Symphony No.3 (full ensemble). A martial, heroic episode emphasizing the dramatic power and intensity of the brass.
Gliere-First Movement excerpts from Ilya Mourometz (Symphony No.3) (full ensemble). This track provides the contrast of very soft and loud versions of the same music in a majestic setting.
Bruckner- First Movement excerpts from Symphony No.4 (Romantic) (3 trombones, tuba). These, and the excerpts on track 12 are among the best examples of the chorale-like epic style of Bruckner's brass writing. Particular attention should he paid to the style of attack and the overall sound-concept which are essential to producing the correct musical results.
Tchaikovsky-Fourth Movement excerpt from Symphony No. 6 (Pathatique) (3 trombones, tuba). One of the most beautiful soft-chord passages, requiring great care in attacks, release and balance.
Wagner-Prelude to Act 3 of Lohengrin (3 trombones, tuba). A challenge to any brass section for precision, clarity and balance.
Bruckner-Fourth Movement excerpts from Symphony No.8 (3 trombones, tuba). See note for track 9.
Smetana-Excerpt from The Moldau (3 trombones, tuba). A famous passage demonstrating the wonderfully mysterious aspect of soft-brass sound. This excerpt requires clarity and firmness of rhythm despite the soft volume.
Berlioz-Rakoczy March Finale from The Damnation of Faust (3 trombones, tuba). This well-known passage provides plenty of technical challenge and it also demands accurate rhythmic placement and good control of sound.
Wagner- Finale of Tannhauser Overture (3 Trombones, Tuba). One of the most impressive orchestral climaxes is also a fine vehicle for both unison and chordal sounds by the low brass choir.
Brahms-Chorale-Prelude No. 8, Es Ist Ein Ros 'Entsprungen (arranged by Fate, published by Kendor Music Co.) (Full Ensemble). Originally for organ, this beautiful rich-textured work has been well-transcribed for trombones and tuba. It is particularly demanding in terms of phrasing and feeling of the long line.
Tomasi-Etre Ou Ne Pas Etre (To Be Or Not To Be) after Hamlet's monologue (published by Alphonse Leduc). A fascinating, rather unusual work with a recitative-like solo tuba line against a trombone-trio accompaniment, providing the tuba with an opportunity to show its capacity for a vocal-like style.
Kreines-Chorale Variations (published by Kagarice Brass Editions) (Full Ensemble). An original work especially composed for this group, using Jesu meine Prelude as the theme, with five variations on contrasting moods and tempi (a lyric, flowing line; a toccata; a funeral dirge; a cadenza-like variation with solos for each player) and a coda.
Bozza-Three Pieces for trombone quartet (published by Alphonse Leduc) A very difficult and demanding work with much virtuoso writing for all four players, but highly enjoyable to work on.
"A little over 30 years ago, Educational Brass Recordings issued a rather unusual album. The first side of the LP consisted entirely of musical fragments, while the second side was made up of music for trombone quartets, of all things. At times, a tuba was added, making a quintet of instruments, and in one case, that tuba was the solo voice! The album didn't go to the top of the charts, but among low brass players, it caused quite a stir. Those music fragments on the first side were orchestral excerpts played by what is arguably the finest section that has ever played together for any significant length at time.
Quite impressive here is the range of dynamics and the balance of sound within the section. Here is the core of what came to be known as the Chicago sound that so many of us try to emulate. The finale of Bruckner's Symphony No. 8 gets the adrenaline pumping, and yet the delicacy with which Verdi's Nabucco is played is unsurpassed. All of this gives the young aspiring orchestral player a chance to witness the nuances of playing in such a section that could only be experienced by sitting next to the players themselves in concert.
The quartets are also fine examples of ensemble playing and served as inspiration for an entire generation of low brass players, this reviewer included. Mr. Jacobs' work on the Tomasi Etre Ou Ne Pas Etre (To Be Or Not To Be) convinced us of the viability of the tuba as a solo instrument. His performances throughout the recording are flawless.
For several years, the need to make this recording available in CD format was discussed, but the master tape was lost some time ago. Finally, with the encouragement and financial support of Brian Frederiksen of WindSong Press, Verne Kagarice, trombone instructor at North Texas University, found a mint copy of the recording and transferred it to CD. You can hear, if you listen very carefully, the needle moving along the record, along with that "pre-sound" of the trombones just before the actual sound starts. Another clue that this was not remastered is that Mr. Kleinhainmer's valves are heard prominently in the Bozza Three Pieces.
My one complaint would be that the booklet included with the CD has most, but not all, of the original notes. Brian has made the original notes from the LP available at http://www.windsongpress. com. "
-- Michael Short, Drake University
(Excerpted from ITEA JOURNAL, Volume 30, Number 1, Fall 2002)