*
banner

CD review: Ascension

Alexis Demailly and Bastien Baumet
Brass Band Fribourg
Conductor: Maurice Donnet-Monay
Bacem Recording: BE004


Two of the major performers that helped drive the rise of Paris Brass Band over the past decade or more show no sign of being satisfied with cruise control mode with their latest joint release.

‘Ascension’  comes seven years after their well received ‘Portraits’  debut, and rolls off the production line (recorded in January 2020) with playing on nine pieces that showcases facile technique under a richly polished buff of musical bodywork. 

It has been well worth the wait. It is marque class playing of high quality repertoire, aided by the sympathetic, aware accompaniment of Brass Band Fribourg (the lack of repertoire notes though is a disappointment).  

Subtle flair

Demailly, who is the principal cornet at the Paris Opera as well as tutor at the Conservatoire National Superieur de Musique de Paris, is a soloist of subtle flair; considered, cultured and elegant. There is a mature vocal appreciation to be found in the dark sonority to his tone.

Meanwhile, Baumet, who combines his teaching in the capital with a busy freelance career displays a more obvious insouciance, worn with ease; extrovert, explorative and occasionally unexpected.  He is also blessed with a malleable tonality that adds an absorbing chiaroscuro quality to his playing.

The title track, inspired by Felix Baumgartner’s 2012 free fall skydive, sees the pair glides effortless on high before plummeting headlong back to earth in an eyeball popping scherzo. 

Together it makes for an engaging complement in Fabien Cali’s intriguing ‘Ad Astra Overture’  - pulsating with mischievous spikiness, underpinned with intricate flow patterns, whilst the touching ‘Novella’, a short chapter of lyrical reflection, cleverly mixes their intertwining lines.    

The title track, inspired by Felix Baumgartner’s 2012 free fall skydive, sees the pair glides effortless on high before plummeting headlong back to earth in an eyeball popping scherzo. 

Lucid appreciation

Elsewhere, Demailly is a commanding focal point in Peter Meechan’s darkly uplifting ‘Manchester Concertino’  (although the kernel idea in the opening movement is a minor third) - the central ‘Dream’  aching like a sad memory floating on a breeze of sub-consciousness.  

Recall also plays its part in Howard Snell’s ‘Fantasy’, a tender homage to his father seen through the analogy of the passing seasons.

It is shaped beautifully by the soloist, whilst he brings a stark dichotomy of youthful emotions to the Shakespearian figure of Romeo in ‘Fortune’s Fool’  – doomed love pickled by headstrong testosterone.

It is shaped beautifully by the soloist, whilst he brings a stark dichotomy of youthful emotions to the Shakespearian figure of Romeo in ‘Fortune’s Fool’  – doomed love pickled by headstrong testosterone.

Baumet’s commanding interpretation of Philip Sparke’s demanding ‘Euphonium Concerto’  is vibrant and colourful; a lucid appreciation of the stylistic nuance and flowing musicality that makes up each of the movements. 

In addition there is an equally formative understanding of the building tension and ultimate release required in Peter Meechan’s ‘Ascent’, whilst he gulps the contents of ‘Neath Dublin Skies’ as quick as a thirsty navvy downing a pint of Guinness.   

Iwan Fox


To purchase: http://bastienbaumet.fr/teaching/

Play list:

1. Ad Astra Overture (Fabien Cali) 
2. Manchester Concertino (Peter Meechan)
i. Fanfare
ii. Dream
iii. Finale
5. Ascent (Peter Meechan)
6. Euphonium Concerto (Philip Sparke)
i. Moderato Energico
ii. Lento
iii. Vivo
9. Fantasy (Howard Snell)
10. Novella (Ben Hollings)
11. Fortune’s Fool (Stan Nieuwenhuis)
12. Neath the Dublin Skies (Paul Lovatt Cooper)
13. Ascension (Tom Davoren)

Support us for less than a cup of coffee...

4BR wants to ensure that the brass band movement remains vibrant and relevant. We also want to be able to question, challenge and critically examine those who run and play in it, producing high quality journalism that informs as well as entertains our readers.

So if like us you value a strong, independent perspective on the brass band world - then why not consider becoming a supporter and help make our future and that of a burgeoning brass band movement more secure.

So one less cappuccino then?

Support us    



Regent Hall Concerts - Cor8 Horn Ensemble

Friday 16 July • Charlton House. Charlton Road. London SE7 8RE


Regent Hall Concerts - W1 Brass - Brass Quintet

Friday 23 July • Charlton House. Charlton Road. London SE7 8RE


Regent Hall Concerts - j5o brass quintet

Friday 30 July • Charlton House. Charlton Road. London . SE7 8RE


Regent Hall Concerts - Trafalgar Brass

Friday 6 August • Charlton House. Charlton Road. London SE7 8RE


Regent Hall Concerts - Arc Brass

Friday 13 August • Charlton House. Charlton Road. London . SE7 8RE


West Somerset Brass Band

July 27 • West Somerset Brass is looking to strengthen its cornet section both front and back row. We have commenced indoor rehearsals in line with BBE requirements. We are a friendly group and looking forward to commencing performances. All players welcome


Chapeltown Silver Prize Band

July 25 • MUSICAL DIRECTOR, we invite applications from enthusiastic, hardworking, motivated individuals, who will challenge and further develop the success of the band. Based North Sheffield, 5 mins from M1 jct 35/36, with a sensible balance of concerts/contests.


The Cobham Band

July 25 • Conductor - Our existing conductor moved back up north during lockdown but we are now back rehearsing. A fourth section SCABA band, we play bandstands, concerts and contest locally. We meet at 8pm each Monday and look forward to hearing from you


Jenny Gartside

Bsc Hons
Jeweller, brass band themed jewellery and pin badges


               

 © 2021 4barsrest.com Ltd