Occasionally our concerts are reviewed in the daily press.
A couple of abstracts are as follows:
"Seldom or never do you find such a noble control
in the most noisy groups of the wind band. The percussion deserves a share
of the birthday cake for its sober dryness and preciseness, the tuba/baritone/trombone
group for its sweetness. The clarinet group was good all the way to the
last third part.
Moreover, you are convinced that The Danish Concert
Band does not have any weak spots when you have listened to the percussions,
trombones, clarinets and trumpets make great play in four cheery concert
pieces. You will also be convinced by listening to the recent released
CDís by the publishing firm Rondo.
Yes, wind-band music can be inspired, sonorous and
Peter Juel Henningsen, Politiken
"So well do the 75 impressing qualified
young wind players and percussions led by clarinettist Jørgen Jensen,
Danish Radio Symphony Orchestra, play that even the weekest folk music
arrangement gets body and sharpness and even the most non-committal first
compositions - often by composers who only concert bands dare to know -
will get both spirit and rythms. This goes for each of the compositions
at the wide ranging concert in Concert Hall Tivoli.
The closing number Warren Barkerís medley Broadway
Show-stoppers Ouverture was played in a way that would make any musical-theatre
proud of the orchestra - and specially because the music not only was played
for fun, but here as in all the other compositions was taken seriously
by the orchestra and its conductor, precisely played, with a balanced sound
and the solos performed with authority."
Jakob Levinsen, Berlingske Tidende
De Meij: Symfoni No. 1, ("The
Lord of the Rings"). Bernstein: Divertimento. Jørgen
Jensen conducting The Danish Concert Band. RONDO RCD 8346. Produced by
This is a hugely entertaining CD. Two symphonic
band works: one an original on its way to becoming a classic and the other
a transcription of an audience-friendly American original.
The Lord af The Rings is the subtitle of
the Symphony No. 1 (1987) by Dutch composer Johan de Meij (b. 1953). It
won an international wind-band competition in Chicago in 1989 and has already
been embraced into the symphonic-band repertoire. (My younger son played
excerpts from the piece in his high-school band back in 1991.) Based, of
course, on the Tolkien cult favorite, de Meij's five-movement score has
pageantry, uncomplicated rhythms, melodic destinction, and programmatic
and cinematic directness. It is full of variety of moods and instrumental
highlighting - and best of all, it is fun to listen to. For example, in
the third movement, the monstrous Gollum is characterized on a solo saxophone
with marveslously galumphing music that mubles and staggers in mock terror;
the fourth movement is "Journey in the Dark," the journey led by Gandalf
through the dark tunnels of the mines of Moria, and musical actions from
slow-walking to grand chases are colorfully contrasted as monsters and
battles are depicted; the finale, "Hobbits," begins animated and happy
but ends in hymnlike peace, to be faithful in mood to the trilogy's final
chapter in which Frodo and Gandalf sail away over the horizon. Basically,
you come away from The Lord of the Rings symphony with leitmotifs
running through your head - and you know you'll be back.
I've not encountered de Meij's music before (I've
not come across the 1990 first recording of this work), but I'd like to
hear more of it. De Meij has recently written, among other recent works,
a second wind symphony, subtitled The Big Apple, for the U.S. Air
Bernstein's Divertimento is a loose-knit
suite of eight brief dance episodes written in 1980 for the 100th anniversary
of the Boston Symphony. Lite Lenny to be shure, but infectiously entertaining,
with celebratory high jinks culminating in the eighth movement, "The BSO
Forever," weaving in quotations from famous march themes. The Divertimento
was transcribed in 1984 by the great band arranger Clare Grundman and retains
all the bright energy of the original.
The performances are top-notch. The sound is full
and close. (Rondo is a small Danish label with a modest catalog, and the
only other Rondo disc in my collection is a fine mid-1980s LP with trumpet
concerti by Holmboe, Norby and Riisager.) Only for listeners who abhor
the symphonic band as a medium (and I know there are such narrow people)
is a search for this Ring not strongly advised.