Mirari Brass Quintet | Spires

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Classical: Brass quintet Jazz: Crossover Jazz Moods: Instrumental
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by Mirari Brass Quintet

This debut recording presents brass quintet standards, premiere recordings of newly commissioned compositions and fresh jazz arrangements.
Genre: Classical: Brass quintet
Release Date: 

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  Song Share Time Download
1. Canyon Run
2:33 $0.99
2. Revecy Venir Du Printans (Arr. Alex Noppe)
1:56 $0.99
3. Contrapunctus IX
2:57 $0.99
4. Spain (Arr. Alex Noppe)
4:41 $0.99
5. Spires
7:31 $0.99
6. Quintet for Brass: 1. Pesante - Allegro con spirito
5:07 $0.99
7. Quintet for Brass: 2. Meditation
6:22 $0.99
8. Quintet for Brass: 3. Vivace
4:18 $0.99
9. Goodbye Pork Pie Hat (Arr. Alex Noppe)
3:43 $0.99
10. Haitian Fight Song (Arr. Alex Noppe)
4:17 $0.99
Downloads are available as MP3-320 files.


Album Notes
Engaging and eclectic, the Mirari Brass Quintet brings a spirit of joyful collaboration and innovation to music spanning many centuries and genres. The commissioners of multiple new works for brass, the group performs a spectacular tight-rope act, balancing intensity with levity and refined virtuosity with pure fun.

The making of Spires has been a long but rewarding process that has seen the Mirari Brass through an exciting first three years of existence: tours from California to New York to the Gulf Coast, compositional collaborations, and the scattering of group members to university faculty jobs across the country. In addition to performing and educating, a foremost goal of the group has been to contribute to the growing body of brass quintet literature. We are thrilled to present a program of almost exclusively original compositions and arrangements in a variety of styles, most especially featuring the music of two great friends of the group: Eric Nathan and Austin Jaquith.

A "canyon run" is an illegal off-road race typically occurring in rocky, dangerous desert terrain. This opening piece calls to mind these races, with twisting and disjunct trumpet lines set off by low brass punches. We continue with the oldest piece on the program, and arrangement of Claude Le Jeune's jaunty motet Revecy Venir du Printans ["Behold the Return of Spring"] that uses flugelhorn and trumpet in bucket mute to achieve a lighter Renaissance sound. Dipping momentarily into traditional brass quintet literature, we present Ralph Sauer's exciting and powerful arrangement of Bach's Contrapunctus IX from The Art of the Fugue. Not to stay in any one genre or century for very ling, we next move to pianist Chick Corea's Spain, from his 1972 jazz fusion album Light as a Feather. In addition to Corea's signature introduction for Joaquin Rodrigo's guitar concerto, our version of Spain includes samba "bass" solos from Glen and Sarah, and some unexpected scat singing from Eddie.

Spires, written by Eric Nathan, draws inspiration from the texture and concepts of Julie Mehretu's ink and acrylic drawing, "Berliner Platze," which depicts a web of layered architectural blueprint drawings of buildings in Berlin as seen from different viewpoints. Just as spires soar from buildings to sky, key pitches and elements of the piece emerge to the foreground from a chaotic musical texture of trills. Like the architectural drawings of Mehretu, the music continually rotates and shifts the listener's view. As the piece continues, the music departs from the drawing as textures change, trills unravel and scaffolding falls away leaving real buildings standing in a city, weathered by time, lived in, and alive with people's dreams and aspirations, spires reaching ever more earnestly for the sky and beyond.

The final commissioned work, Quintet for Brass, was composed by Austin Jaquith in 2010. Its three movements form a symmetrical triptych. The first and last movements both feature driving rhythms and rising figures that bring out the biting and forceful potential of the ensemble. The first movement, however, focuses more on angular melodic figures while the last is built from an insistent repeated-note figure. The middle movement is the emotional focal point, based on one of the composer's favorite Spiritual melodies. Rather than presenting the melody in any obvious form from the outset, its melodic and rhythmic content is abstracted into a number of truncated figures. These haunt the movement from the beginning until the end, where they coalesce and reveal their source.

The last two pieces were written by the great bassist and composer Charles Mingus, and are some the best of his extensive and diverse catalogue. We are thrilled to be among the first brass quintets to perform Mingus' music. Goodbye Pork Pie Hat features Alex and Jessie on his beautiful and bluesy ballad, written in memory of saxophonist Lester Young, who was rarely seen without his signature flat-brimmed fedora. Finally, we close with Haitian Fight Soon, a raucous and wild jam tune with lots of solo opportunities for the entire group.

We hope you enjoy our debut album. We had a great time creating, performing, and recording the music found on Spire, and we look forward to continue adding to the growing tradition of great brass quintet literature.

"It was like someone pressed shuffle on my iPod and it was all my favorite music."
Cynthia Johnston Turner
Director of Wind Ensembles, Cornell University

Album Art - "Berliner Platz" by Julie Mehretu



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