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Steven Mead, Brassband Buizingen & Luc Vertommen | Lyrical Virtuoso

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Lyrical Virtuoso

by Steven Mead, Brassband Buizingen & Luc Vertommen

International Euphonium Soloist Steven Mead and the top brass band in Belgium, Brassband Buizingen, conductor Luc Vertommen team up to make this incredible album, Lyrical Virtuoso, with ten outstanding tracks, covering over 150 years of music.
Genre: Classical: Band Music
Release Date: 

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  Song Share Time Download
1. La Corrida De Toros
Steven Mead, Brassband Buizingen & Luc Vertommen
5:20 $0.99
2. Serenade Napolitaine
Steven Mead, Brassband Buizingen & Luc Vertommen
2:14 $0.99
3. Euphonium Concerto No. 1
Steven Mead, Brassband Buizingen & Luc Vertommen
17:16 $0.99
4. The Auld Noost
Steven Mead, Brassband Buizingen & Luc Vertommen
4:43 $0.99
5. Capriccio Di Niccolo
Steven Mead, Brassband Buizingen & Luc Vertommen
16:10 $0.99
6. Michelangelo
Steven Mead, Brassband Buizingen & Luc Vertommen
5:08 $0.99
7. Mayfly Blues
Steven Mead, Brassband Buizingen & Luc Vertommen
7:42 $0.99
8. In Gardens of Peace
Steven Mead, Brassband Buizingen & Luc Vertommen
5:27 $0.99
9. Violin Concerto No. 2 in B Minor, Op. 7: III. Rondo "La Campanella"
Steven Mead, Brassband Buizingen & Luc Vertommen
6:27 $0.99
10. Rückert Lieder: IV. Ich bin der Welt abhanden gekommen
Steven Mead, Brassband Buizingen & Luc Vertommen
6:24 $0.99
Downloads are available as MP3-320 files.


Album Notes
Steven Mead reunites with Brassband Buizingen and conductor Luc Vertommen,
eleven years after they made their highly successful “Euphonium Virtuoso” album.
Our soloist, well known for his lyrical artistry and outstanding virtuoso technique
has chosen a programme which perfectly shows off the combination of these fine
attributes, accompanied by a brass band at the top of their game, with a brilliant
conductor who also arranged many of these works.

Lyrical Virtuoso
Steven Mead – Euphonium
Brass Band Buizingen
conductor Luc Vertommen

1. La Corrida de Toros - David Bandman/Luc Vertommen* 5.20
2. Sérenade Napolitaine - Ruggero Leoncavallo/Vertommen* 2.14
3. Euphonium Concerto No.1 - John Golland 17.16
4. The Auld Noost - Ronald Jamieson/Anthony Swainson* 4.43
5. Capriccio di Niccolò - Frank Proto/Luc Vertommen*  16.10
6. Michelangelo - Sigvart Dagsland/Frode Rydland 5.09
7. Mayfly Blues - Stan Nieuwenhuis  7.42
8. In Gardens of Peace - Philip Harper  5.27
9. Rondo-La Campanella (from Violin Concerto No. 2) – Niccolò Paganini/Luc Vertommen* 6.27
10. Ich bin der welt abhanden gekommen (I Am Lost To The World) - Gustav Mahler/Luc Vertommen* 6.26

Total time 79.37

*Premiere recording with brass band

Recorded in Stroming Hall, Berlare, Belgium, July 1-3, 2016
Producer/Sound Engineer: Richard Scott (with kind permission from World of Brass)
Production Assistant: Phil Hardman
Produced in the UK by Bocchino Music
Catalogue: BOCC125

Lyrical Virtuoso

As most euphonium enthusiasts know, Steve has recorded many CDs since his first official release, Rondo in 1991. If you include all his albums; solo albums, the education orientated CDs, those with the British Tuba Quartet, and guest appearances, the number is now in the mid-seventies! For him, recording is a passion, and a mark of his true dedication to the euphonium. Over the years he has recorded with various ensembles; brass and wind bands, chamber orchestra, wind quintet, trombone quintet, brass quintet, ten-piece brass ensemble, organ, piano, multitracked Mead and electronics. With each genre he has impressed with his musicality, unique rich sonority and virtuosity. For him this instrument has almost no limits.
In 1995 Steve recorded an album, Euphonium Virtuoso, with the outstanding Belgian ensemble Brassband Buizingen. This album won several international awards that year. He also really enjoys the collaboration and friendship with their conductor Luc Vertommen who is a visionary arranger as well as fine conductor. So it was decided to get back in the recording studio, eleven years on, and make a second album together. Reflecting on the literature to be recorded, the title Lyrical Virtuoso seems to be such an apt title. It includes works from the present day, as well as the marvellous Euphonium Concerto No.1 by John Golland, and then looks back even further to virtuoso works from the nineteenth century, and especially recognises the influence and works of the legendary violinist composer Niccolò Paganini. Six of the ten works are receiving their premiere recording with brass band, and all will be available shortly for performance by those brave enough (especially the highly virtuosic works) to take them on. At the heart of Steve’s musicianship is his singing tone, a feature of his entire career, and here his lyrical approach can be appreciated to the full in some simply breathtakingly-beautiful melodies. We hope you enjoy Lyrical Virtuoso.

La Corrida de Toros - David Bandman/Luc Vertommen
Composer David Bandman is a quite outstanding brass player and arranger, currently living in Virginia USA. Following a highly successful career as a military musician David now devotes his time to performing, mainly as a jazz euphonium player. He composed this work for himself and performed it, accompanied by brass septet and percussion on his recent album entitled Mendez. The range for the soloist is quite exceptional, around four octaves, and it’s merciless on its demands on the soloist!
It is a very Spanish-inspired virtuoso composition, highly rhythmic and ebullient, if you excuse the slight play on words with the title! Spanish-style bullfighting is called corrida de toros, literally ‘running of bulls’.

Sérenade Napolitaine - Ruggero Leoncavallo/Vertommen
Ruggero Leoncavallo (1857-1919), the composer of two such popular tunes as Vesti la Giubba and the song Mattinata didn’t have the easiest of lives as a composer. In 1899 Leoncavallo was constantly moving and being hunted by creditors. He returned to Paris to prepare I Pagliacci at the Opéra. While there he sold the editor Choudens, Les deux Sérénades (the Sérenade Français and his Sérénade Napolitaine) for 400 francs (about 2000 euro in current currency) for both songs. The Sérénade Napolitaine is an unadulterated love song that sounds to be an authentic Neapolitan folk song. In the Sérénade Napolitaine the merry troubadour sings for his beloved and begs her to receive his confession and answer his prayers, because life is to love.
Steve very much enjoys the vocal performance of this song by the famous Spanish tenor José Carreras and has sought to imitate with his euphonium some of his vocal characteristics.

Euphonium Concerto No.1 - John Golland
John Golland wrote some extraordinary music in his life, and perhaps none finer than the works he wrote for euphonium, in particular his two concerti. The first was given its premiere in 1981 by Bob Childs whilst on tour in Australia with the Grimethorpe Colliery Band.
Although the music can be divided into three quite separate movements, it is performed without breaks, and each movement has quite clearly defined characteristics. It was written quite autobiographically and the underlying darkness of much of the music reflects the physical difficulties from which the composer suffered all his life. Richard Strauss in his masterwork Ein Heldenleben had showed us the full extent of such self-representation in music, and here with this Euphonium Concerto we are taken on a rollercoaster of emotions, that culminate in intensity at the close of the beautiful slow movement, where the euphonium accompanied by the slow heartbeat of a bass drum seems to represent the very life spirit of the composer hanging by a thread. The final movement is joyous and celebratory, perhaps another life hurdle temporarily overcome. John Golland died shortly after his 50th birthday. Steve’s performance is dedicated to the memory of this outstanding composer, and is also very grateful for the support of the John Golland Trust in the making of this CD.

The Auld Noost - Ronald Jamieson/Anthony Swainson
Noost is the Shetland word for a rocky creek where boats can be pulled up. This exquisite melody was composed for violin, or more correctly, ‘fiddle’, by Ronald Jamieson. The highly respected Scottish brass musician, conductor and arranger Tony Swainson sent his arrangement for euphonium and brass band to Steve a short while ago. After performing it once with a band, also in Belgium, he resolved to record it as soon as possible. This warmhearted work simply oozes charm.

Capriccio di Niccolò - Frank Proto/Luc Vertommen
The second major work on this album is a superb extended piece based loosely on the ‘famous’ Paganini theme. It was originally composed for the famous trumpeter Doc Severinsen and the Boston Pops Orchestra. As soon as Steve first encountered this he was convinced a transcription for euphonium and brass band would work a treat and with the composer’s permission, Luc Vertommen set to work and has created a quite brilliant score. It’s full of Italian drama, exuberance, recitatives and cadenzas. It is at times sultry, highly passionate, and as the piece nears its conclusion develops into an extraordinary musical romp that introduces the music of Rossini, sitting side-by-side fragments of Paganini.
The American composer Frank Proto writes: “In 1993 I was writing a set of variations on the famous Twenty-Fourth Caprice for solo violin by Paganini to use as the music track for the nature video Birds, Birds, Birds. While still in the middle of that project Doc Severinsen asked me to come up with an idea - in the same vein as the Carmen Fantasy for Trumpet and Orchestra that I had written for him a few years before, that would showcase him with a full symphony orchestra. I played him a few of the variations that I had written for the video just to demonstrate how 'willing and able' this simple but captivating little tune is to work in a myriad of styles and settings. He was delighted with the idea and I began work immediately."

Michelangelo - Sigvart Dagsland/Frode Rydland
Frode Rydland is highly respected in the brass band world as an outstanding soprano cornet player. He is also widely respected as a quite brilliant arranger for brass band. His transcription of the Norwegian singer and songwriter Sigvart Dagsland’s Michelangelo is superb, and has already been played by many euphonium players during the last years. Dagsland was born in Stavanger but now lives in Bergen, and is a well-respected artist in Norway. He is famous for his great melodies and strong lyrics, which often have a Christian undertone. In Michelangelo, the lyricist Erik Hillestad describes the Italian’s life as a haunted man, and Dagsland’s beautiful melancholic tune underlines the serious message in the lyrics. The song was first recorded on the album Bedre enn stillhet (Better than Silence) in 1992.
Frode Rydland arranged this for the Bergen Brass Band and conductor Stian Svendsen as part of a presentation of Dagsland’s music for the 2004 Siddis Brass entertainment contest. 

Mayfly Blues - Stan Nieuwenhuis 
Mayfly Blues was commissioned by a former student of Steve’s at the RNCM, the Australian baritone virtuoso Kristy Rowe. It was premiered in Linz, Austria at the ITEC (International Tuba and Euphonium Conference) in June 2012.
Mayfly Blues tells the rather sad story of the short and chaotic life of a mayfly. It’s often called 'one-day' or 'one-day fly' in some languages. Very often the mayflies in a population all hatch at once, and for a day or two in the spring or autumn, mayflies will be everywhere, dancing around each other in large groups, or resting on every available surface. Mayfly Blues starts and ends with a furious blues that evokes the hatch of the mayfly. It’s full of special flying and swooping effects, with big intervals that represent the dancing of the mayfly during the hatch. In the middle of the piece stands a slow and beautiful movement that reflects on the sadness and beauty of the only purpose of the life of a mayfly, the act of reproduction, for which he sacrifices his life.
In Gardens of Peace - Philip Harper 
Here is a very special new composition, composed by Philip Harper, currently enjoying incredible success as the conductor of the Cory Band.
In Gardens of Peace was written to commemorate the life of Henry Nichols, killed during The Battle of the Somme. Henry Nichols is the great-grandfather of Micah Parsons, an excellent young euphonium player based in Coventry, and euphonium student of Steven Mead. He commissioned Philip Harper to compose this piece that remembers his heroic family member one hundred years on. Henry Nichols was also a member of the brass band fraternity, and can be seen here pictured as a member of the Coventry City Salvation Army Band in 1906. The music recreates the unique aura and tranquility which pervades the Commonwealth War Graves Cemeteries on the Somme. The one man remembered here is one of many similar stories representing the human cost of war and the immense bravery shown by our soldiers in years gone by.

Rondo-La Campanella (from Violin Concerto No. 2) – Niccolò Paganini/Luc Vertommen
Niccolò Paganini composed his Second Violin Concerto in Italy in 1826 and performed the premiere himself the following year at La Scala, Milan. The third movement, Allegro spiritoso, owes its nickname, La Campanella to the little bell which Paganini prescribes to presage each recurrence of the rondo theme. The character of the bell is also imitated in the orchestra and in some of the soloist's passages featuring harmonics. This movement has served as the basis of compositions by other composers, such as Liszt and Johann Strauss. La Campanella is renowned for its intricate and technically demanding solo passages with flashy finger work, numerous double-stops and constantly bouncing bow. It was such a crowd pleaser that Paganini often chose to perform it as a stand-alone showpiece. La Campanella has become a popular display piece with transcriptions available for other solo instruments. Luc Vertommen challenged Steven Mead to the impossible by arranging La Campanella as a euphonium solo. For this virtuoso arrangement Luc Vertommen had to convert the multi-octave original full of seemingly impossible acrobatics into an (almost) playable version for a brass instrument. Luc Vertommen was inspired by the shortened version played by Leonid Kogan (1924-1982) one of the greatest representatives of the Soviet School of violin playing. Steve really enjoyed this ultimate workout, and we hope you enjoy listening to it. The sound of a little bell will always remind, even haunt him, of the countless hours necessary to master this work!
Ich bin der welt abhanden gekommen (I Am Lost To The World) - Gustav Mahler/Luc Vertommen We finish this album in a mood of calm reflection, turning to one of the most beautiful of all songs in the history of classical music. Ich bin der welt abhanden gekommen (1901) is one of the five Rückert-Lieder by Gustav Mahler. The Rückert-Lieder are a song cycle based on poems written by Friedrich Rückert (1788-1866). The first four songs of the Rückert-Lieder were premiered on 29th January 1905 in Vienna, with Mahler conducting himself. The poetry’s tone of peaceful resignation is captured and amplified in Mahler’s music. He was a master at composing music to convey complex emotions with seemingly simple melodic lines. The transparent interweaving of the instrumental and solo lines and the subtle fluctuation between inner tension and repose represent one of Mahler’s supreme achievements. In this brass band arrangement Luc Vertommen captures the subtle colours and the fragile Mahlerian orchestration in a colourful version for brass exploring the illuminating colours of a harp, the melodic percussion and muted brass to the full.
Steve sings the romantic solo line with refined sensibility above the band, and with the gentlest of conclusions, the music gently subsides, and we are left with our emotions.

Steven Mead
Whether he’s playing his beloved euphonium on tour, or teaching at the RNCM, giving a masterclass to a band, designing and testing instruments and mouthpieces for Besson and Denis Wick, or even simply practicing, Steven Mead always does it with passion and the utmost dedication. It’s been like this for many many years.
Since his early days in Bournemouth, he’s been passionate about performing music, initially as a young boy soprano, and into his teenage years as a euphonium soloist. He has become a worldwide ambassador for the instrument, travelling the world constantly, introducing audiences to this instrument year after year, constantly inspiring the next generation of young brass musicians to greatness. Full details of Steve’s career and history can be found on his popular website www.euphonium.net. Follow him on media sites Facebook and Twitter (meadeuph). His online webstore www.euphoniumstore.net caters for the specialist needs of many enthusiasts too.

Brassband Buizingen

The band was founded in 1879 as a fanfare band by workers of the local porcelain factory. In 1975 it was amongst the first Belgian bands to convert to the traditional British-style brass band instrumentation. Since then, the band has played a leading role in the Belgian band world, gaining prizes at competitions and recognition for its musical approach both at home and abroad. Over the years it has given notable concerts and contest performances, released numerous CDs and, in 1997, had the particular honour conferred on it of being named ‘Cultural Ambassador of Flanders’.
More recently, BBU won the Belgian National Championships three times, in 2009, 2012 and 2015 and represented Belgium at the European Championships in Stavanger, Linz, Oslo and Lille. In 2011 BBU was runner-up at the World Music Contest in Kerkrade and in 2012 the band was runner-up at the All England Masters. Brassband Buizingen won the Flemish Open Brass Band Championships VOBK) three times. The band was honoured by SABAM (the Belgian Society of Authors, Composers and Publishers) with the prestigious Fugue-Trophy for their contribution to Flemish band music and received the title of Cultural Ambassador of their hometown, Halle which is based in the South of Brussels.

Brassband Buizingen had the honour to play in concert with Steven Mead several times and record the highly acclaimed Euphonium Virtuoso CD in 2005 with Steven Mead and team up with him again 11 years later for his latest solo album. You can find more information on their website http://www.brassbandbuizingen.be.

Conductor Luc Vertommen

Dr. Luc Vertommen was born in Leest (Mechelen) where he made his first acquaintance with wind music through the local fanfare band. He studied cornet, music theory and piano at the music academies in Mechelen and Willebroek. Further musical studies were completed with a triple diploma in trumpet, music history and band conducting at the Lemmensinstitute in Louvain. He also obtained a first prize in chamber music at the Royal Conservatory in Brussels, a master degree for conducting and Doctor of Musical Arts (2011) at Salford University, Manchester, (UK). He has immersed himself full-time in the world of band music as a brass teacher, player, conductor, arranger and writer.
He conducts Brass Band Buizingen (Belgium), Brass Band Nord-pas de Calais (France) and is head of music school in Deurne (Antwerp).
He can be heard on more than 25 highly acclaimed CD recordings and is editor and artistic director of Band Press VOF. He regularly is invited to conduct or adjudicate around Europe and obtained the International Buma Brass Award 2014 for his international work within the band movement.
His interest for the past and for band history started a series of books and CD recordings. For this Anthology of Flemish Band Music, he received the Fugue-Trophy by Sabam (the Belgian authors right association) in 2011. He unearthed many pages and hours of original music by Belgian composers and his interest for the future is shown in his collaboration with many contemporary composers.
As an arranger some of his arrangements (especially those made for fanfare band and brass band) are played worldwide.



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