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Brass Quintet of the RAF Central Band

St Clement Danes Church
Thursday 31st October

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The quintet, comprising Cpl Edward Carpenter, SAC Adam Rosbottom, SAC Harry Brownlie, Cpl Matthew Edwardson and SQAC Oliver Brooks opened their recital with the 'Fanfare’ from ‘Le Peri' by Paul Dukas - performed with a rich, full, balanced sound that belied the number, but not the ability of the players.

They continued with the 'Brass Quintet' by Dutch composer Jan Koetsier; a three movement staple of brass chamber music repertoire.

The 'Andante-Allegro' began with sustained playing by the upper four players before the tuba led into the 'Allegro' with downward runs moving into a rather disjointed 'Tango'. Trombone and horn featured, with lively decoration from the two trumpets before a quiet finish.

Equal roles

A trio of two trumpets and a trombone introduced the 'Andantino' in a quasi-baroque style, which also saw some lively tuba playing from SAC Oliver Brooks, who acted as compere during the concert.

All the players took an equal role in the 'Molto vivace', a true 'Galop' that saw the tune bounced around the ensemble.

Some smooth horn playing from SAC Harry Brownie introduced 'Sheep May Safely Graze', with tuba and trombone sharing out the bass line. Quite sparsely scored, it was hard to believe at times that there were only two instruments playing.

All the players took an equal role in the 'Molto vivace', a true 'Galop' that saw the tune bounced around the ensemble.

Jazz classic

A jazz classic followed, with a laid-back performance of 'Ain' t Misbehavin'’. Each player in turn took on the melody with some quite advanced jazz harmonies and impressive tuba pedals at the end.

Michael Kamen is best known for his film scores, but his single-movement 'Brass Quintet' is a fine work. 

Written for Canadian Brass, it is predominantly slow and steady, with its overlapping lines and slowly-evolving suspensions drawing excellent playing from all performers.

They ended with 'Glory Look Away', which combined 'The Battle Hymn of the Republic' with 'Dixie-land', starting in a relaxed style before breaking into an up-tempo finale that saw all five players rising to their feet at the end.

It bought to an end a fine recital by a first class quintet of young players.

Peter Bale

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