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Then: Renaissance Airs and Dances Arranged for Brass Quintet
Francesco de la Torre, Tielman Susato, Carlo Gesualdo, John Dowland, Claudio Monteverdi
see end of review for track listing
Stockholm Chamber Brass
rec. March 2012, Johanneskirche, Völksen, Germany
BIS-SACD-2017 [59:36]

The Stockholm Chamber Brass here presents a well-played program of Renaissance music arranged for modern brass, with the pluses and caveats that implies. The music’s fantastic and very well-selected: Susato, Dowland, Monteverdi, Gesualdo. The program itself smartly combines these, moving from lively dances and martial airs to arias and slow works of great beauty. Many tracks add percussion to the mix. The Monteverdi ‘moresca’ (track 25) is irresistible. The brass ensemble plays marvelously throughout, especially in slower, more introspective selections. Only the very first track, ‘La Spagna’, features a trombone solo that I think sounds hurried. Thoughtfully, one trumpet is on the far left and the other on the far right, and even more thoughtfully, the booklet tells you who’s who.
 
My reservation simply comes from the fact that in music like this, I prefer a more authentic instrumentation. It’s frequently apparent that these composers were not writing for these instruments, and that they had no idea what a trombone or tuba would even be. Arrangements are done by one of the players, a sibling, and the composer-conductor-trombonist Christian Lindberg. They’re good as far as they go, but whether that’s far enough depends largely on your own taste. This is a highly polished modern brass quintet playing Renaissance arrangements with solemn precision and occasional dancing exuberance. The recorded sound’s terrific and the project is well-documented. I suppose it’s just not my cup of tea.
 
I’ll be seeking out this ensemble’s recordings of more contemporary music with enthusiasm.
 
Brian Reinhart
 
Full track listing
1. Danza alta sobre ‘La Spagna’ (Francisco de la Torre)
2. Basse danse ‘Mon Desir’ (Tielman Susato)
3. Gaillarde II – Allemaigne VIII – Recoupe – Recoupe aliud (Tielman Susato)
4. Tu m’uccidi, o crudele (Carlo Gesualdo)
5. The Earl of Essex Galiard (John Dowland)
6. Semper Dowland semper Dolens (John Dowland)
7. Danse du Roy (Tielman Susato)
8. Pavane ‘mille regretz’ (Tielman Susato)
9. Bergerette ‘sans Roch’ (Tielman Susato)
10. Lachrimae (John Dowland)
11. The Frog Galiard (John Dowland)
12. T’amo, mia vita (Carlo Gesualdo)
13. Tourdion (anon.)
14. Je l’ayme bien (Orlando di Lasso)
15. Branle double, La Vielle (Claude Gervaise)
16. Vous me tuez si doucement (Jacques Mauduit) – Au joly bois (anon.)
17. La, la, la, je ne l’ose dire (Perre Certon)
18. If my complaints should passions move (John Dowland)
19. Sir John Smith his Almain (John Dowland)
20. Passe et Medio (Tielman Susato)
21. Gaillarde XV ‘Le Tout’ (Tielman Susato)
22. The King of Denmarks Galiard (John Dowland)
23. M. Giles Hobies Galiard (John Dowland)
24. Dolcissimia mia vita (Carlo Gesualdo)
25. Sinfonia and moresca from L’Orfeo (Claudio Monteverdi)
26. Pur ti miro (Claudio Monteverdi)
27. Sinfonia a 7 from L’Orfeo (Claudio Monteverdi)
28. Damigella tutta bella (Claudio Monteverdi)


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