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CBSO Brass Concert review

NORMAN STINCHCOMBE RAVES ABOUT THE CBSO BRASS CONCERT


ENGLISH BRASS
CBSO at the CBSO Centre, Birmingham ★★★★★

"A masterpiece...fiendish...Paganini for valved instruments", was how CBSO trombonist Anthony Howe described Sir Malcolm Arnold's Symphony for Brass to us. Arnold knew brass playing at first hand, as the London Philharmonic's principal trumpet. This four-movement work combines his familiar fluency with great technical sophistication. He surely wore an impish grin when composing the finale's fugue. Arnold, like his musical idol Mahler, often put popular and profound together to disconcerting effect. Arnold begins the third movement in film score mode but then splices in an ominous Wagnerian descending figure. Was that Wotan's spear? The CBSO's eleven players rose to all its challenges: the opening flashes and scintillations; the high-lying staccato lines really pinged out; the aching, melancholy opening of the allegretto for two trumpets. The concl…

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