Any time that I hear of a new release from the Canadian Brass I wonder what about this CD will set it apart from any other release of theirs. Every time there is something new and different. I could say that this CD is perhaps their biggest step yet. When they first hit the local scene over 40 years ago, brass quintets were almost an oddity and didn’t have the respect that string or woodwind chamber groups enjoyed. How that has changed. The Canadian Brass is now one of the world’s pre-eminent chamber music ensembles. This CD, Perfect Landing, establishes their versatility in a wide variety of genres. For this project they are joined by their former trumpet player, Brandon Ridenour, on harpsichord.
What better way to start than with Bach. The CD opens with a short harpsichord cadenza based on Brandenburg Concerto No.5 and then shifts into the fiendishly difficult third movement of the Brandenburg Concerto No.2 featuring the piccolo trumpet of Caleb Hudson. Then it’s Mozart’s “Spring” Quartet K387 where all members of the ensemble have an opportunity to demonstrate their skills. Having demonstrated their skills in that genre, with the help of arrangements by Luther Henderson, they demonstrate that Bach’s music still has a place in this era with Dixie Bach, Cool Bach and Bebop Bach. There are also a few fine Latin numbers. Perhaps the most outstanding of these is El Relicario which takes the listener through an amazing range of musical skills and emotions. This CD truly has made a Perfect Landing. It will certainly continue to entertain and amaze me in the days and months ahead.