COMPOSERS: Grieg & Nystedt,Rautavaara,Sibelius
ALBUM TITLE: Collection: Playgrounds for Angels
PERFORMER: Brass Partout/Hermann Bäumer
CATALOGUE NO: CD-1054
Brass Partout is a virtuoso group of brass and percussion players drawn from major German orchestras such as the Berlin Philharmonic and the Dresden Staatskapelle. Founded in 1991, the players had all been members of the National Youth Orchestra of Germany. The disc takes its title from the highly imaginative and ingenious piece Rautavaara composed for the Philip Jones Brass Ensemble, whose 1986 recording is still available (Chandos). Rautavaara’s other work here, A Requiem for Our Time, is the one that put him on the map in 1953 and is again available in only one other version.
With the exception of Tiera, which comes from the period of the First Symphony, the Sibelius rarities are from 1889-91, before Kullervo. None of the five Sibelius works is a masterpiece, but all fill in our picture of his growth during those formative years. The splendid Pia memoria, a requiem for nine brass instruments by the doyen of Norwegian music Knut Nystedt, now in his mid-eighties, has nobility and dignity, as indeed has the Grieg Funeral March, to whose strains the composer himself was buried. Not to beat about the bush, the playing is quite superb and the recording absolutely state-of-the-art. Recommended with enthusiasm.