Monday, February 27, 2017

Class listening assignment from 2/22/2017

Our ABEL class met last Wednesday and had a little listening session where everyone played a movement of a piece they thought was cool. Here is the notes from that sessions

First up, Break Away by David Sampson. We listened to the 1st movement carving stone. This recording featured the trumpets from American Brass Quintet. I really like the electronics in this piece. They are really rhythmically driven and add a dance feel to this movement. On A side note, I was at the concert this piece premiered on for American Brass Quintet's 50th reunion in 2014 at Symphony Space in New York.

Next I played the First movement of Dahl's Music for Brass titled Christ Lay in the bonds of Death. I love the way this movement starts with big loud held chords. It really lets the listener know what kind of piece they are about to get into. Also the fast section is quite nice. I worked on this piece for almost an entire year during my time at Roosevelt University. Those poor trumpet players. HAHA
I also think the other movements are great as well. Really beautiful chorales contrast the loud brash sections as well as fast imitative sections.

We then listened to a holiday favorite, the third movement of Gloria by John Rutter. I have performed this piece a lot over the years, and find the musical lines to be joyous and celebratory. I believe we listened to the Philip Jones Brass ensemble play this and they did a nice job high lighting the polyphonic and cannon like sections.

Next up, Corpendium by Richard Bissill. I have to admit I had never heard this piece, but instantly really liked it. It features a horn ensemble, a group I typically do not listen to in my free time, but maybe this will inspire me to look into other pieces by this composer as well as for horn ensemble. We listened to the Guildhall Horn ensemble recording and I think they sounded great. 

 Another piece I had not been familiar with was the Concerto for Brass Quintet by Mark Rheaume. We listen to the third movement Atto Terzo. I don't know if I cared for this one as much, but I do like it when composers feature brass quintet and ensemble. In this case we listened to the Western Illinois Brass Quintet with their wind ensemble. I believe each member of the quintet is suppose to represent a voice in an opera. For such an interesting medium to compose for I thought the composer was relatively unadventurous and didn't exploit the brass quintets possibility for new sound textures. 

Finally we ended our session with Konzertmusik fur Brass, Two Harps, and Piano op. 49 by Paul Hindemith
III: Massig, schnell, kravtvoll

I really like Hindemith writing and this piece is at the top of the list. I like the tonality he is able to create. It is out of the realm of tonal music, but still very approachable from a listening perspective. This reminded of his other piece Morning Music for Brass. I played it as a quartet but I believe there is also a quintet version. 

Overall is was highly enjoyable to get together with my classmates and each get to show off a piece. I think this is something I did a lot more with my friends in Chicago, but have since stopped doing as much. Sorry for the lack of beer recommendations coming lately. This are getting pretty hectic around here. I will make it up somehow. 

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Beer and Brass music

 So I was going to share this a while ago, but it got put on the back burner when the semester started. Professor Manning sent me a great link to a blog by Stanley Curtis titles Beer and Brass Music.

In this blog post Mr. Curtis points our attention to the fact that it was the beer drinking areas of Europe that produced brass instruments, while the wine drinking areas produced string instruments.

Should this be looked into further? Does wine = snobby = string player, while beer = laid back = brass players?

 While that correlation is nice and tidy, I personally don't believe things are that simple. For one, you can be just as snobby about beer as you can about wine. However, there does seem to be something to this idea. Mr. Curtis makes a fantastic claim that we brass players actually owe our lively hoods to beer.

I also like Mr. Curtis' attempts to give each famous brass ensemble a beer of choice. I have been more or less attempting to do this in some of my earlier blogs and it is turning out to be much harder than I initially suspected. I am imagine my knowledge of beer is not well rounded enough. Further research definitely required. For now though, check out his blog post and let me know if you agree or disagree with his pairings for the ensembles. I think some of them are a little of the cuff. Negro Modelo for Boston Brass? I dunno, to me they should have been paired with Sam Adams due to the whole east coast thing. Catch you guys later.

Friday, February 17, 2017

Beers and Brass

  hey-o, time for another one of these I suppose. I want to talk about what I see is a strong undercurrent of craft beer lovers and brass musicians. (maybe all musicians??).  Lately I have been seeing a lot of concerts advertised as beer and brass events. Which I love. There are three that recently come to mind just in the past few months.

1. Orchestra Iowa brass quintet plays two shows a year at the Lions Bridge Brewery where they play mostly entertaining transcriptions for a high energy crowd. I tried to find a fun video I had seen recently of the whole bar singing along with the quintet. It was cool.

2. The low brass section in Des Moines played a pre-concert event in January called Brahms and Beer before they joined their colleagues on stage to play Bruckner's fourth symphony.

3. Gaudete Brass Quintet recently did a recital that was sponsored by a Brew company where they played their new music repertoire.

4. Temperance Brass (a brass quintet in Chicago) is also doing an upcoming concert at Empirical Brewery May 14th. ( I know I said three, I set the bar low and then over deliver.)

To me this is heaven. What more could one want than to be among the brass loving public, witnessing brass music performance, while drinking a beer???

But seriously, I think the reason this works so well for me, brass players, and maybe my generation, is that is takes some of the stuffiness out of classical music scene. I think a lot of people get turned of by a lot of the concerts we present, because we are asking too much out of them.

Asking someone who is not an avid listener of classical music, to sit still, not talk, and clap only when appropriate for two hours can be a daunting task to the uninitiated, and even for those of us that know the drill. Adding beer to the mix, I think not only adds something loved and familiar, but also can form a connection between the musicians and the audience. Plus it'll get you where you want to go regardless of the performing act!

Do string players put on beer centric concerts? I don't seem to see as much of these. I bet we'll see more string players jumping on this band wagon. Peace everyone!

Wednesday, February 8, 2017

Special Talents

As I have been sharing my love of beer and brass with my friends and colleagues the suggestions for upcoming posts have been pouring in.

Have you ever googled "Man playing trumpet while balancing beer"??? Well if you haven't you are in for a treat. This my friends is dedication meets talent in a nutshell.

This is a one man trumpet ensemble. Happy Beer drinking friends!

I will say that apart of me really likes what this guy is doing. I think it is easy as music students and professional musicians it is easey to get caught up in taking everything too seriously. I've seen many talented players put their horns away the day they graduate because they lost sight of why they went into music in the first place. They get burned out on all the pressures of attending school for a music degree. 

 I find it refreshing when I talk to people that have no other ambitions in their brass playing but to have fun and enjoy playing. 

Due to the German, polka type vibe happening in this video I feel it is appropriate to throw out one of my favorite German beers

Image result for hofbrau beer

Hofbrau! I went to Germany in 2012 with Axiom and was introduced to how Germans drink their beer. I loved the glasses you order your beer in have lines indicating where the glass should be filled up to. (I think this is actually required by law) We would order beer by the liter. Either .3, .5, or 1.

New Chicago Brass

Hey there friendos,

 This post is about yet another Chicago brass ensemble, the New Chicago Brass. In their own words:

 "A fresh take on the classic style, New Chicago Brass (NCB) represents the cutting-edge generation of high-quality brass performance in Chicago. Since its inception in 2012, the ensemble – in various combinations of trumpets, horns, trombones, and tuba – has amazed audiences throughout the Chicagoland area with its resplendent sound and virtuosic playing." 

New Chicago Brass is taking the torch from the another Chicago based brass ensemble, the Millar Brass and carrying on the tradition of brass ensemble to the next generation in a fresh, more hip kind of way. New Chicago Brass was originally made up entirely of Civic Alumni, but has since had some members move out of the area. They are not afraid to put on a concert of modern works by composers such as Sampson, Premru, Berezowsky, Plog. 

They have not produced much in the way of recordings yet but you can check out a cool promo video of them and their story at:

speaking of upcoming events; your beloved author will be joining the New Chicago Brass on March 5th for a great concert of brass ensemble music in Arlington Heights, Il. 

you can check out the events page on FB at this link

The New Chicago Brass has regularly exploits peoples love of brass music and want of beer. They have held fund raisers at Revolution Brewery in Logan Square, and regularly through beer centric receptions post concerts when allowed. I love both ideas. Nothing seems to go better than world class brass playing and fantastic beer. Cheers to Revolution Brew, and to the New Chicago Brass!

I use to be obsessed with IPA's when I first moved to Chicago and often turned to Revolution Breweries flagship IPA when I felt the need to quench my thirst with something more hoppy and less stouty. So here ya go.

 Image result for anti hero ipa 

This is the one and only Anti- hero IPA. It's tasty... on a side note this is also the beer my girlfriend's mom orders when we go out. BOLD.