Now available in discrete multi-channel surround SACD before the release of the CD recording!
The decades between the late 1600s and the early 1700s—commonly referred to as the Baroque Era—were a time of unparalleled pomp and grandeur of the court, church and theater. The Empire Brass Quintet's Baroque Music for Brass and Organ, featuring organist William Kuhlman, provides a generous sampling of the magnificent music of this period.
Producer Robert Woods explains that "When recording this popular repertory, we are faced with the challenge of the brilliance and lightness of the Baroque period while balancing the strength of the brass and organ. In one moment the music can be magisterial, and in the next it must dance."
Johann Sebastian Bach, perhaps the most pivotal figure of the Baroque Era—and indeed, one of the most influential composers in all of classical music—is featured prominently in this recording. Already ambitious and feisty by his teenage years, Bach received his first appointment in 1703 as organist of the New Church at Arnstadt, southwest of Leipzig. Sometime during his tenure at this post, Bach composed his gentle Fantasie in C major.
Toward the end of his life, Bach composed A Musical Offering, the Schübler Chorales, The Art of Fugue, and the B minor Mass—all demonstrations of an aging artist who continued to wield the highest technical skills attainable in the field of musical composition.
In the decades before Bach's creative heyday, Henry Purcell was one of the most prolific and popular composers in England. At the time of his death in 1695, one of Purcell's projects was incidental music for a revival of the gory tragedy Abdelazer, whose well-known Rondeau is recreated here by the Empire Brass Quintet. Seventeenth century poet and dramatist John Dryden attempted to create a heroic national epic in his play King Arthur, and his choice of Purcell to craft the music for a 1691 production of the play was one of the greatest honors the composer ever received. The sweeping Overture and Allegro from King Arthur are beautifully captured in this recording, as is Purcell's high-spirited March from John Crowne's 1694 bedroom farce, The Married Beau.
Other composers featured in Baroque Music for Brass and Organ include Tomaso Albinoni (Fantasie), Georg Philipp Telemann (Concerto in G Major), George Frideric Handel (Sonata da Camera), Marc-Antoine Charpentier (Prelude from the Te Deum in D major), and André Campra (Rigaudon from Idomenée).
This recording is an excellent collection of Baroque music as well as brass and organ music—all captured with Telarc's usual attention to detail.