CD review: Brukdown

Doyen Recordings: CD418

The Bone-Afide ensemble has quickly established for itself an enviable reputation not only for performance excellence, but for musical inquisitiveness.

Both elements are hallmarked with a deeply ingrained substance on their latest CD release.

‘Brukdown’ explores the global span of the folk music tradition, its variants and fusions; from the central European ethnomusicology explorations of Bela Bartok and Zoltan Kodaly to the creative modern day Belizean manipulations of Errollyn Wallen and the modernist twists of Welsh folk band CALAN.

Potent mix

It’s a potent mix of stylistic creativity; informed, cultured and refined in its expression and virtuosity – right from the opening ‘The Peacock’,  which Kodaly would eventually turn from a kernel of simplicity into a remarkable 25-minute long set of 16 variations and finale.  

Here it performs a serious introduction to the dazzle of Liszt’s famous ‘Hungarian Rhapsody No.2’  which itself contrasts against the Celtic cool of CALAN’s ‘Cariad Caerlyr’  and the idiosyncratic pulses and dislocated funky drive of their clog dancing ‘Big D’

Here it performs a serious introduction to the dazzle of Liszt’s famous ‘Hungarian Rhapsody No.2’ which itself contrasts against the Celtic cool of CALAN’s ‘Cariad Caerlyr’ and the idiosyncratic pulses and dislocated funky drive of their clog dancing ‘Big D’. 

Williams Foster’s compact arrangement of Bartok’s ‘Three Transylvanian Dances’  retains its essential DNA of dark, unsophisticated joyfulness: from the cocky snap of the ‘Bagpipes’  and sadly comic lugubrious step of the ‘Bear Dance’  through to a naïve knees-up finale.  

Five of Manuel De Falla’s seven emotive ‘Siete Canciones Populares Espanoles’  (arranged by Foster from the original for soprano voice and piano) also capture a synthesis mood of rustic, paisano charm – both longing and atmospheric. 

Each is as individualistic in ‘art song’ character of themes of love and chastity as they are in subtle rhythmic regional flavourings – from the Moorish ‘El Pano’  and  ‘Asturiana’  of the north, to the south eastern ‘Jota’.    

Swagger of defiance

The spiritual melancholy of ‘Sometimes I Feel Like a Motherless Child’  speaks just as loquaciously as a big band swagger of defiance, whilst the sweaty back street ambience of working-class Buenos Aires lingers provocatively in the air with the sensual liquidity of ‘Yo Say Maria’  and flamboyant thrustings of ‘Fuga y Misterio’  by everyone’s favourite neuvo tango creator Astor Piazzolla.

Errollyn Wallen’s uplifting ‘Brukdown’  has a joyful wildness about it – energised and vivacious, whilst ‘Loch Lomond’  takes the high road in timbre to close an immensely satisfying release.     

Iwan Fox

To purchase:

CD: https://www.worldofbrass.com/101938

Download: https://www.worldofbrass.com/101938-download

Play list:

1. The Peacock (Zoltan Kodaly)
2. Hungarian Rhapsody No. 2 (Liszt arr. William Foster)

3-7. Siete Canciones Populares Espanoles (De Falla arr. William Foster)
i. El Pano
iii. Asturiana
iv. Jota
v. Nana
vi. Cancion

8. Cariad Caerlyr (Angharad Jenkins arr. Patrick Rimes)
9. Big D (Rimes/Williams-Jones/Humphreys/Jenkins/French arr. Patrick Rimes)

10-12. Three Transylvanian Dances (Bartok arr. William Foster)
i. Dudasok (Bagpipes)
ii. Medvetanc (Bear Dance)
iii. Finale

13. Sometimes I Feel Like a Motherless Child (Tard spiritual arr. Sam Every)
14. Bruckdown (Errollyn Wallen)

15. Yo Soy Maria (Astor Piazzolla) 
16. Fuga y Misterio (Astor Piazzolla)

17. Loch Lomond (Trad. arr. Isobel Daws)

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    

Luton Brass Band - Masterclass with David Daws

Wednesday 27 September • St Augustine's Church, Luton LU3 2JR

South Yorkshire Police -

Saturday 30 September • Sheffield Catherdral. Church Street. Sheffield. S1 1HA

Epping Forest Band - Thundersley Brass Band

Saturday 30 September • Salvation Army Hall, Hadleigh, Essex SS7 20F

Friary Brass Band - guest soloist Tom Smith

Saturday 30 September • Trinity Methodist Church. Brewery Road. Woking GU21 4LH

Contest: Bolsover Festival of Brass

Saturday 30 September • Shirebrook Academy, Common Lane, Shirebrook. Derbyshire NG20 8QF

Ringwood and Burley Band

September 29 • Musical Director required for a friendly, non-contesting band. We take part at various local events and also present two concerts annually. Rehearsals are held weekly in Ringwood, Hampshire. There are vacancies for players to join us.

Harlow Brass Band

September 29 • Seeking a MUSICAL DIRECTOR - We are a friendly, non-contesting band who play to a good standard. We hold our own Spring and Christmas concerts and provide entertainment at various local events throughout the year.

East of England Co-op Band

September 27 • We are looking for an Eb or Bb bass player to fill a vacancy due to a player's relocation. We are a friendly and ambitious Championship section band who rehearse in Ipswich, Suffolk on a Monday evening. We have a healthy concert and contest diary.

David A. Stowell

Conductor and composer


 © 2023 4barsrest.com Ltd