John Corigliano (1938- ) is one of America’s finest composers. He is to classical music in New York what Woody Allen is to the movies. Corigliano is musical royalty. His father was concertmaster under Leonard Bernstein among others (in fact he apparently worked as assistant to the producer on several of the Young Peoples’ Concerts). His own accomplishments musically are many including a the very first Grawemeyer Award for his first symphony and a Pulitzer Prize for his second. One could hardly find another musician as deserving of being honored.
From the very New Yorker style cover art this album affirms this composer’s iconic status. But the artists here are good Chicago Brass players. As a native born Chicagoan I have become accustomed to assuming that one can find some of the world’s finest brass players there and this album lays testament to that. Gaudete Brass is an ensemble that definitely deserves your attention.
This is a fine tribute album featuring mostly world premieres but also some nice transcriptions. This is effective though not overwhelmingly modern music for brass. It is intended as and functions very well as entertainment and, from the sound of it, is also fun to play.
The original works are welcome as are the transcriptions of Corigliano’s Gazebo Dances. by the long time Chicago musician/conductor Cliff Colnot. (One transcription is by the composer). There are a total of three Corigliano pieces here and 13 by others. One can only imagine the joy the composer will feel on hearing these tributes and the joy that any number of brass players will experience hearing this fine album. As usual the Cedille recording is lucid giving a clear sound image of some truly fine musicianship.
The pieces here are good middle of the road compositions which pose challenges on the players but manage to be entertaining and nothing here sounds like an academic exercise. Rather this disc is about celebration exactly as it purports. Very enjoyable disc.