CD REVIEW: The Principal Brass - Debut CD 'New York'
REVIEW: The New York Philharmonic Principal Brass new CD: "New York"
Who says classical music can't be fun?
So what does the finest brass section in the world do for fun when it's not playing famous concert halls or making recordings of the world's greatest classical works? They make videos of course! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MNZU-T9M2pM
The Principal Brass of the New York Philharmonic are some of the most serious musicians on the face of the earth and some of the least serious guys you ever met. To say they shatter the stereotype of crusty old classical musicians is to put it too mildly. Recently, my wife and I were en route to a performance of the NY Philharmonic, when we were cut off on 65th street by a man on a Kawaski Ninja motorcycle. The rider? None other than Principal Brass Tuba player Alan Baer arriving for the performance.
Individually, Phillip Smith (trumpet), Matthew Muckey (trumpet), Phillip Meyers (French Horn), Joseph Alessi (Trombone) and Alan Baer (Tuba) are all virtuosi of the highest caliber. Collectively, what sets them apart from other brass quintets is the amount of fun and energy that they infuse in their playing, a kind of energy that is nothing short of infectious. Whether it's a well-worn staple like New York New York or an original piece written and arranged especially for them, there exists a level of craftsmanship that is unmistakable, but also a certain joyful energy that makes the music jump out at you.
Their new CD, New York is a breezy excursion through some of the more popular music written in, around and about NYC; some of it ubiquitous (New York, New York) and some of it unexpected (Duke Ellington and Billy Strayhorn). Despite the more popular leaning in the selection of material, the quintet brings the same level of power, passion and precision that it would to Mahler, Bartok or Strauss.