COMMENTS

REVIEW: Sarasota Brass Quintet rocks the house

/

In a weekend overflowing with the cultural activities for which Sarasota is well known, the Sarasota Brass Quintet provided one of the most entertaining chamber music concerts I’ve attended in some time.

Sarasota Brass Quintet

In “Bach to Rock,” the five brass players – Greg Knudsen and Andrew Kemp, trumpet; Laurence Solowey, horn; Brad Williams, trombone; and Jay Hunsberger, tuba – started with a soothing and familiar arrangement of Bach’s Fugue from Trio Sonata in C Major before proceeding to the main features.

Fittingly, Gwyneth Walker’s Circus of Creation, a staged presentation of selected poems by Robert Lax, received its world premiere in the Circus Capital of the World, complete with narrator Cliff Roles resplendent in ringmaster attire.  Walker’s music, evocative, straightforward Americana, neatly set up Lax’s stories and musings on circus life.  Roles is a natural storyteller and, with the added panache of his south London accent, played his part well.

The musicians, including the considerable battery of percussion managed by Keith Carrick, recreated sounds of the circus while nodding, swaying and tapping along for effect.  This is certainly a creation that deserves more play in this town, and elsewhere.

The performance art of Wolfgang’s Frolics by the renegade composer Francis Schwartz  taxed the musicians acting and audience interaction skills even more.  Breathing, engaging and pa-pa-pa-ing their way through the score, a la the Papageno of Mozart’s Magic Flute, we all enjoyed ourselves.  You won’t find a recording of this piece; it’s something you must experience live.

Percussionist Carrick stayed with the ensemble for an exciting run of De Falla’s Ritual Fire Dance from El Amor Brujo before they took a big nostalgia trip to Freddy Mercury and Queen’s big  rock hit from 1975, "Bohemian Rhapsody," and then to an arrangement of Jimi Hendrix’s "Purple Haze."  What an amazing fit!

Being more of a purist with these mid 20th century styles, I was delighted by these arrangements and how well they recreated the spirit of beloved classics.  It’s official.  These boys rocked the house!

CONCERT REVIEW
BACH TO ROCK. Sarasota Brass Quintet. Revewed March 6 at Holley Hall.
Last modified: March 14, 2011
All rights reserved. This copyrighted material may not be published without permissions. Links are encouraged.
COMMENTS