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CD review: Storytelling

Cory Band
Conductor: Philip Harper
Soloists: Tom Hutchinson, Helen Williams, Glyn Williams, Steve Kane
Doyen Recordings: DOY CD371

Cory

Philip Harper’s talent for producing clever thematic entertainment programmes has ensured that Cory tick all the necessary adjudication boxes at the Brass in Concert contest. It also makes them an outstanding concert performer. 

Like all the best storytellers he’s able to weave a narrative thread that links together often rather tenuous chapters of inspiration - and it takes some doing to segue Roald Dahl’s ‘Chitty Chitty Bang Bang’ to Hubert Bath’s tone poem treatise on the meaning of ‘Freedom’.  

This then is a CD deliberately aimed to pack in your bag to enjoy on a relaxing holiday in the sun, rather than a tome to ponder over in dusty scholarly research to win yourself a place on a team for University Challenge. 

It’s also a recording of 2017 Cory at their best. 

Intense confidence

Fresh from their Grand Slam of major titles, they perform with a level of intense confidence and articulate musicality few can match; from the crisp flamboyance of Howard Snell’s sparkling arrangement of Bernstein’s ‘Candide’ overture, to the gallinaceous viciousness of ‘Baba Yaga’ and the glorious triumphalism of ‘The Great Gate of Kiev’.

In between the quartet of soloists are superb: Tom Hutchinson buzzing with waspish brilliance on ‘The Green Hornet’, Helen Williams and Steve Kane eliciting touching emotion to ‘A Little Star Went Out’ and ‘A Little Prayer’, and Glyn Williams evoking the melancholic sadness behind Gene Wilder’s gobstopper eyes as Dahl’s most famous literary and filmatic creation.

It does though leave the rather curious inclusion of ‘Freedom’; polished and brilliantly played without a doubt, but as out of place as finding a special room in Willy Wonka’s Chocolate Factory churning out liquorice all-sorts inspired by Emile Zola’s 19th century novel of labour enslavement, ‘Germinal’.  

Classy refinement

The carefree juvenille fun of ‘Nordic Polska’ and the breathless all too adult drama of ‘The Battle of Athens’ are evocative reminders of chapters of the author’s own remarkable life story. There is also a suave Hepburnesque elegance to the classy refinement of ‘Moon River Cha Cha’ to contrast the scalene dynamism  of the magpie mischief created in Rossini’s famous overture. 

It does though leave the rather curious inclusion of ‘Freedom’; polished and brilliantly played without a doubt, but as out of place as finding a special room in Willy Wonka’s Chocolate Factory churning out liquorice all-sorts inspired by Emile Zola’s 19th century novel of labour enslavement, ‘Germinal’.  

Even Roald Dahl and his oompah lumpahs couldn’t quite get away with that.  

Iwan Fox


To purchase: http://www.worldofbrass.com/22174-storytelling-cd-group.html

Play list:

1. Candide (Bernstein arr. Howard Snell)
2. The Thievish Magpie (Rossini arr. Denis Wright)
3. The Green Hornet (Billy May arr. Alan Morrison)
Soloist: Tom Hutchinson (Trumpet)
4. Nordic Polska (Anders Edenroth & Matti Kallio arr. Philip Harper)
5. The Battle of Athens (Philip Harper)
6. Moon River Cha Cha (Mancini arr. Philip Harper)
7. A Little Star Went Out (Philip Harper)
Soloist: Helen Williams
8. The World's Greatest Storyteller (Philip Harper)
9-11. Freedom (Hubert Bath)
12. A Little Prayer (Evelyn Glennie arr. Robert Childs)
Soloist: Steve Kane
13. Baba Yaga and The Great Gate of Kiev (Mussorgsky arr. Elgar Howarth)



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Howard J Evans

MA (Dist), Mus.B (hons), ARCM (hons), LRAM, LTCL, PGCE
Conductor, composer, arranger, tutor and pianist