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"Burana in Brass"

Released on October 2, 2007 by Warner Classics, this collection of exciting symphonic maserpieces again consists entirely of original arrangements for the Washington Symphonic Brass by Phil Snedecor. It may be our best yet!

Carmina Burana-Carl Orff (excerpts)

Che gelida Manina from La Boheme-Puccini (featuring Marty Hackleman on Horn)

Habañera & Toreador Song from Carmen-Bizet (featuring Phil Snedecor on Trumpet)

Finale-Organ Symphony-St. Saens (featuring William Neil on Organ)

“Nimrod” from the Enigma Variations- Elgar (featuring William Neil on Organ)

"Nessun dorma" from Turandot-Puccini (featuring Charles Casey on Trombone) "March to the Scaffold" from Symphony Fantastique-Berlioz

Don't listen to us-Read these great Reviews!

American Record Guide
November/December 2006
Vol. 69; No. 6

This spectacular account of much (40 minutes) of Carmina Burana is one of
the all-time great brass ensemble recordings, ranking with or possibly ahead
of Philip Jones's Pictures at an Exhibition and anything Summit Brass ever
released. The arrangement by trumpeter Phil Snedecor is first-rate, and the
soloists (especially horn player Martin Hackleman) are outstanding. The
group may be the best-sounding large brass ensemble I have heard. National
Symphony principal trombonist Milton Stevens is the dynamic conductor.
After Berlioz's 'March to the Scaffold' (Symphonie Fantastique), and
operatic selections by Bizet and Puccini, the program ends with brass - and
- organ blockbusters. Elgar's 'Nimrod' is heartbreaking, the finale of
Saint-Saens's Symphony 3 stupendous.
I applauded Washington Symphonic Brass's first offering (July/Aug
2000; 223), but now I'm completely won over.
Barry Kilpatrick


November 2006

Bold-as-brass arranger horns in on showpiece tunes and arias
Brass players pine to make music beyond the narrow constraints of the
repertoire written expressly for their instruments. They are especially
eager to dive mouthpiece-first into beloved works best known in their
orchestral and operatic guises. The Washington Symphonic Brass explore
those territories to glorious effect on their newest disc, “Voices of
Brass”. Why voices? Among the pieces are arias and, in the case of Orff’s
Carmina Burana, the most popular choral work – after Messiah. Sixteen of
the 25 movements from Orff’s cantata are here in an idiomatic and quite
dazzling transcription by ensemble trumpeter Phil Snedecor. The
arrangements are faithful to the original, which adores brass anyway, in
coloration and character, with many instrumental substitutions that surprise
and delight. The most disarming is “Olim lacus colueram”, wherein the
countertenor is replaced as the roasting swan by perhaps the tipsiest of
brass personalities, the trombone. Delicious.
The other vocal transcriptions won’t prompt your ears to forgo the
likes of Callas, Bergonzi, Pavarotti and friends, but trumpeter Snedecor
does his sensual best in Carmen’s Habañera, horn-player Martin Hackleman
essays “Che gelida manina” with fine ardour, and trombonist Charles Casey is
more than up to the heroic demands of “Nessun dorma”. Conductor Milton
Stevens, the longtime principal trombone of the National Symphony Orchestra,
puts his extensive experience under maestros to superb practice both in the
vocal and the orchestral works. Snedecor’s arrangement of “Nimrod” from
Elgar’s Enigma Variations comes across as a noble reworking, and his
versions of the march from Berlioz’s Symphonie Fantastique and the finale
from Saint-Saëns Organ Symphony emerge from the ensemble’s bells in gleaming
waves of sound. Who needs voices, or the rest of the orchestra, when a
group of such finesse is breathing new life into familiar delicacies?
Donald Rosenberg

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