Site review by mwagner1962 September 17, 2006
|Back in my heyday as a semi professional trumpet player, my first encounter with the Meridian Arts Ensemble came in the form of a now old Channel Classics CD. I bought that CD for the sole reason that it had Jan Bach's wonderful but fiendishly difficult composition, Laudes. As my quintet as going to attempt to play this piece, I thought that a recording might be useful.
Well, the trumpet playing days are passed and over the years, I severely culled my redbook library of many brass recordings. When I was offered the chance to review this particular SACD I was delighted!! I thought that it would be interesting to see how the Meridian Ensemble had fared all these years since I bought that original recording in 1992.
Needless to say, this ensemble (back then as well) is of the highest order. Forget the Canadian or Empire Brass with their standard Baroque or Renaissance fare....this is cutting edge music and playing. The three compositions from David Sanford, Elliott Sharp and Nick Didkovsky offer an amazing sound and color palette, with jazz licks, blues riffs, and downright esoteric sounds (primarily the Elliott Sharp). I particularly enjoyed the Sanford and Didkovsky for the wild and amazing writing, while the Sharp composition ranged from the interesting to the downright bizarre....fun, interesting but not as enjoyable as the other two.
I have to offer the highest praises to the players, from both the standpoint of being a trumpet player and as someone who simply enjoys great music making. In this day and age of an over abundance of super talented players (who lack any musical depth) it is a treat to hear such extremely talented musicians playing with a true virtuoso flare on what must be some intensely difficult music!!
The sound is up to the usual high standards that Channel Classics always achieves. With a group of five brass and one percussion, one would expect there to be all the things that one expects: air, detail, transparency,etc. And I was NOT disappointed as the sound is fine!
I enjoyed the chance to review this most excellent SACD!!