Lake Wobegon® Brass Band | Bravura!

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Lake Wobegon® Brass Band

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by Lake Wobegon® Brass Band

A traditional British brass band with an American twist.
Genre: Classical: Contemporary
Release Date: 

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  Song Share Time Download
1. Firework!
1:19 album only
2. March Bravura
3:44 album only
3. Prelude '49th Parallel'
2:48 album only
4. The Hill Called Vøerbjerg
9:40 album only
5. Fanfare For The Common Man
3:01 album only
6. Summertime
3:54 album only
7. Purcell Variations
14:37 album only
8. Intrada (Ein' Feste Burg)
4:51 album only
9. Overture to Mack and Mabel
6:39 album only
10. Army of the Nile
3:12 album only
11. Spiritual
2:55 album only
12. Death or Glory
3:25 album only
13. Ad Optimum
7:13 album only


Album Notes
The Lake Wobegon® Brass Band, Michael Halstenson, conductor, of Anoka, Minnesota, was formed to showcase the unique sound and style of the British brass band's instrumentation, and by performing those compositions written, arranged or transcribed for this unique instrumentation. The LWBB has recorded four CDs, been engaged by Minnesota Public Radio (MPR) for three consecutive years to be part of MPR's annual, live broadcast from the Lake Harriet Bandshell, and made a "pilgrimage" tour of England and Wales in mid-July 2001. The LWBB is comprised of music educators and professional musicians and many of the original members are still with the band. The Lake Wobegon® Brass Band is sponsored by the Anoka Brass Band Association, Inc., and Anoka-Ramsey Community College, Coon Rapids, Minnesota.

What better introduction to Bravura! Than Jan Van der Roost's Firework!, a spectacular piece bursting with musical energy. In less than one and a half minutes the composer features the entire band, so that the listener can feel the overwhelming powerful sound of a brass band in a very short time. Hence, a musical firework!

William Himes' March Bravura continues the display of energy. Well known for his contributions to brass band literature and as conductor of the Salvation Army Chicago Staff Band, Himes has incorporated brilliant flourishes in 6/8 time with a lyric melody in 4/4 time, thus creating a true concert march for brass band.

In 1940 Ralph Vaughan Williams was asked to compose the score to the film 49th Parallel, the first of many successful screen scores. The film was a tale of a German U-boat crew trying to escape from Canada into the United States. Originally scored for orchestra, the stunning Prelude "49th Parallel" is Vaughan Williams at his lyrical best.

The Hill Called Vøerbjerg describes a more ancient time, that of the Vikings of northern Denmark. Lake Wobegon® Brass Band conductor/composer Michael Halstenson describes his composition: "During a trip to Denmark I visited a Viking graveyard outside the city of Aalborg. It was discovered in the middle 1900s by a farmer's wife, who, while walking the sand swept hill, encountered covered rocks, most aligned in the design of a ship's hull. When uncovered, some 700 grave sites were exposed and insights into one of northern Europe's largest Viking villages, originally called Vøerbjerg, took shape. The music is based on the seven tones played by the chimes at the conclusion of the piece. It is angular and brutal, full of fanfare and confidence. Yet, it ends in a serenity of sound depicting the souls of the Viking warriors rising out of the ashes of their fiery graves."

Aaron Copland's Fanfare for the Common Man was composed for the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra as a musical accolade to America's World War II Armed Forces. Copland wrote about the fanfare, "The challenge was to compose a traditional fanfare, direct and powerful, yet with a contemporary sound." Ultimately, it has become the world's most well known piece for brass and percussion.

George Gershwin became a part of the groundbreaking influence of American music in the 1900s. From his opera, Porgy and Bess, the Lake Wobegon® Brass Band presents Eb cornet soloist Richard J. Perkins playing Summertime.

Kenneth Downie's Purcell Variations has been used as a brass band test piece. While all test pieces achieve success in the "Realm of rigor," few achieve the musical audience appeal of the Purcell Variations.

Intrada (Ein' Feste Burg) is a glorious adaptation of A Might Fortress Is Our God, based on Psalm 46. Ray Farr has used the cathedral setting of antiphonal cornets in brilliant fanfare surrounding the sanctuary where a pious chorale is rendered, building to a dramatic and daring presentation of this famous hymn.

The Overture to "Mack and Mabel" is filled with the slapstick musical humor of the Keystone Cops and tender moments between director and leading lady. This overture from the Broadway musical of the same name is about the heartbreak love affair between silent movie director Mack Sennet and actress/comedienne Mabel Normand.

Kenneth Alford's arresting title, Army of the Nile evokes the past with his dedication to a time in history when British soldiers were gathered in Africa. The marvelous bass-lines, simple scales, flashing attacks make this one of the classic marches in the brass band literature.

Don Gillis' Symphony No. 5 1/2, subtitled A Symphony for Fun is strongly influenced by jazz and folk music. This brass band arrangement of the second movement, Spiritual, by LWBB member Richard J. Perkins, transforms the spirit of the singing voice into the beautiful sound of brass instruments.

In 1900 Robert Browne Hall wrote Death or Glory, evoking the past and future into a piece that is as fresh today as it was 100 years ago.

Peter Graham's 1999 symphonic overture Ad Optimum is a work in which he pays tribute to the "high" purposes, motivations and intentions of Salvation Army music and it's bands: to glory God and proclaim the Christian Gospel. This fitting end to Bravura! not only glorifies God, but through driving rhythms, lyric melodies and intense dynamic contrast, glorifies the overwhelming and powerful sound of brass and percussion.

Bravura! was recorded at Studion M, located on the 4th floor of the Minnesota Public Radio building, St. Paul, Minnesota. This project was recorded over a two day period, March 6 & 7, 2004.

"Lake Wobegon®" is used with the permission of Garrison Keillor and Minnesota Public Radio and has no official affiliation with "A Prairie Home Companion."



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The Lake Wobegon Brass Band's recording is wonderful! The musicianship, tone quality and varietal music selections are all SUPERB!