Posted by jlb on May 25, 2000 at 22:05:19:
If you were in New England this past Tuesday night and did not get to Osmun Music in Arlington, MA, you missed it! I attended the 'soiree' (I think that's how it's spelt) with music by the Epsilon Ensemble, a brass quartet from France. Yep, quartet. Seems they were a quintet and lost a trumpet player somewhere...
Anyhow -- GREAT music. Bach fugue, Mambos, medley from West Side Story, Liebeslied on the tuba! Excellent musicianship and I now have a new tuba hero. Thierry Thibaut was playing a well used Besson 981, and the sound was incredible. Don't get me wrong. The trumpet, trombone and horn were excellent. Especially the horn -- amazing control and beautiful sound. But that Besson... When Thierry played, you could feel the room resonate at every dynamic range.
They finished with a concert piece they put together some time ago which was intended to sound like an American marching band. Very interesting and funny. It had all the elements of tempo, fanfares and dynamics, but it was different. You could hear what almost sounded like quotes from the great march composers, but not quite. And the time seemed more like 4/4 than cut time or 6/8. And the harmonies were subtly different than what you hear in the march masters. But all in all, unmistakably American Band music, just played with a French accent.
Anyhow, I enjoyed their performance immensely. Their musicianship is impeccable and their showmanship is clever and enjoyable, without being intrusive. If you get a chance to hear the Epsilon Ensemble, please do so. You will be well rewarded.