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baroque-brass.jpgBaroque Brass of London is without rival as no other major group presents brass music of the 16th, 17th and 18th century on instruments of the period, and it would be difficult to match the experience of Baroque Brass of London's players.
Wind instruments hold a prominent place in British musical tradition, but Baroque Brass acknowledge a particular debt to David Munrow (1942-1976), the musicologist and performer largely responsible for the revival of early wind instruments; several members of Baroque Brass have carried on his pioneering research, investigating technique with the aid of the early brass specialist Peter Downey. The group consists of natural trumpets, sackbuts, bass sackbuts, cornetts, timpani, percussion and continuo.
As migh be expected, grand ceremonial music forms a major part of the repertoire, but the sound is not the sometimes strident 'big band' effect of the modern ensemble. The trumpets, using natural harmonics, are bright and pure; the cornett was always valued for its resemblance to the human voice; the sackbut (precursor of the trombone) is surprisingly mellow, while the timpani tone is fresher and drier than its modern countepart.
Baroque Brass can create a spectacular effect in the open air or in a cathedral, but authentic brass instruments will not assault the eardrums in a relatively intimate hall, of the kind to be found in the palaces where some of the pieces were first performed. Baroque Brass of London presents programmes ranging from solo trumpet fanfares to large-scale polychoral works. The repertoire covers Purcell, Monteverdi, Gabrieli, Frescobaldi, Lassus, Biber, Buxtehude and lesser-known masters of the genre.
The group has performed at many of the world's great music festivals including the York Early Music Festival in the UK, the Flanders Festival in Belgium and the Macau Festival in South East Asia. In 1997 Baroque Brass had the honour of opening Southern Ireland's International Music Festival in Kilkenny in the presence of the Irish President and collaborating with the Leipzig Thomaner Choir on their first visit to the UK. The highlight of 1998 was being invited to give the opening concert at the world-famous Seville International Festival in Spain which was followed by a recital with special guest solo-organist, Ryoko Morooka.
Baroque Brass of London and its members are well established in the recording field with releases on most of the major record labels including Purcell's Funeral Music (Decca), Festival Mass for the Viennese Imperial Court (Pickwick), J. S. Bach's Suites (Deutsche Gramophon) with the English Concert, Carols for Christmas (EMI), Brandenburg Second Concerto and the Haydn Trumpet Concerto (Deutsche Gramophon) with the English Concert, Cantata 118 J. S. Bach (Deutsche Gramophon) in collaboration with Leipzig's Thomaner Choir (conducted by the Cantor of St Thomas's - a position held by Johann Sebastian Bach during his most prolific period).
Baroque Brass's latest recording is released in June to commemorate it's first solo tour of Japan and includes many important solo and ensemble pieces in the brass repertoire plus solo organ pieces.