Arnold, Strauss, Glazunov, Schuller, Sibelius, Dukas & Elgar

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5.0 out of 5 star rating 5.0

COMPOSERS: Arnold,Dukas & Elgar,Glazunov,Schuller,Sibelius,Strauss
LABELS: Cantoris
ALBUM TITLE: Collection: A World Tour
WORKS: Works by Arnold, Strauss, Glazunov, Schuller, Sibelius, Dukas & Elgar
PERFORMER: RAM Brass Soloists
When a recording features a large brick building in central London on its cover, it suggests that this World Tour will not be an exotic voyage. But as a recruiting tract for the Royal Academy of Music it works well. The playing is clean-cut and athletic, match fit and hungry for success, bursting with energy and bristling with technical achievement. It probably represents the best recording to date of Gunther Schuller’s Symphony for Brass: long, complex and almost inevitably denied a recording by expensive professional players. That these performances are by students is little short of miraculous, and anyone looking for the highest quality musical training must surely be won over. As a world tour it is rather limited, consisting only of western symphonic music, all previously recorded – this is the world tour of the 19th century, with collar, tie and stiff upper lip. Strangely, the best example of this musical imperialism can be heard at home in the Severn Suite by Elgar, written for amateur brass bands. The warm sonority of colliery bands can evoke working-class Britain as clearly as DH Lawrence, yet here it seems that the inspectors from the RAM have arrived at the pit head to clean the coal-dust out of the music. Christopher Mowat