Europeana

Our rating 
4.0 out of 5 star rating 4.0

COMPOSERS: Mike Gibbs
LABELS: ACT
PERFORMER: Michael Gibbs with Joachim Kühn and the Hannover Radio PO
CATALOGUE NO: 9220-2

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Orchestrator Mike Gibbs relishes the big canvas and ACT has given him his head with a sweep around the folk music of Europe. Subtitled ‘Jazzphony No. 1’, this extraordinary project takes tunes like ‘Londonderry Air’ and ‘The Shepherd of Breton’ and inflates them into vast, moody musical landscapes.

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The pungent piano playing of Joachim Kühn predominates, as do the elevating strings of the orchestra. But soloists Django Bates (tenor horn), Albert Mangelsdorf (trombone) and Markus Stockhausen, son of the composer (on flugelhorn), add intrigue to the often bombastic arrangements. Europeana swings, dazzles and puzzles – its roots are most certainly in folk, but Gibbs’s cinematic arrangements defy categorisation. Garry Booth