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Bingham, Sandoval, Strauss & Wagner: Deified

Bingham, Sandoval, Strauss & Wagner: Deified

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A must for brass fans.

The National Brass Ensemble (NBE) and conductor Eun Sun Kim present Deified, an album containing music by Wagner and Strauss, as well as world premiere recordings of pieces by Jonathan Bingham and Arturo Sandoval. Bingham won the San Francisco Conservatory of Music and San Francisco Symphony's Emerging Black Composers Project competition with his cinematic composition Deified, while composer/trumpet player Sandoval is a legend in the brass world. The longest piece on this album is Timothy Higgins’s The Ring, a virtuosic recomposition of Wagner’s Ring des Nibelungen scored for brass ensemble. Together, these pieces showcase the exceptional coloristic and expressive range of brass music. Consisting of some of the best players from leading U.S. orchestras, the National Brass Ensemble is one of the greatest brass groups of our times. Eun Sun Kim is Caroline H. Hume Music Director of the San Francisco Opera, and frequents the most important opera houses and concert halls of the world. The NBE and Kim both make their Pentatone debut.


The unusually large brass ensemble format, 31 players in all, allows for an unusually large palette of sounds and textures. This is especially effective in the work that takes up the whole second CD and second part of the program, The Ring, a condensation of Wagner's entire Ring cycle by Timothy Higgins. This hits many of the familiar pieces from those four operas, which of course, contain a great deal of writing for brass in the first place. There are other unfamiliar and intriguing pieces: a rare fanfare by Richard Strauss, the title work by Jonathan Bingham, which is palindromic in several respects, and a pleasing, lightly Latin-accented Brass Fantasy of Arturo Sandoval. Conductor Eun Sun Kim's direction is crisp, and the virtuosity of several of the players is notable although the cohesion of a well-drilled chamber group is impossible. There have been several other instrumental "summaries" of the Ring, but this one is both unusual and engaging. A must for brass fans.

-- (James Manheim)

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    • UPC/Barcode: 8717306260497
    • Item Number: PTC5187049