CD review: Brukdown

Doyen Recordings: CD418

The Bone-Afide ensemble has quickly established for itself an enviable reputation not only for performance excellence, but for musical inquisitiveness.

Both elements are hallmarked with a deeply ingrained substance on their latest CD release.

‘Brukdown’ explores the global span of the folk music tradition, its variants and fusions; from the central European ethnomusicology explorations of Bela Bartok and Zoltan Kodaly to the creative modern day Belizean manipulations of Errollyn Wallen and the modernist twists of Welsh folk band CALAN.

Potent mix

It’s a potent mix of stylistic creativity; informed, cultured and refined in its expression and virtuosity – right from the opening ‘The Peacock’,  which Kodaly would eventually turn from a kernel of simplicity into a remarkable 25-minute long set of 16 variations and finale.  

Here it performs a serious introduction to the dazzle of Liszt’s famous ‘Hungarian Rhapsody No.2’  which itself contrasts against the Celtic cool of CALAN’s ‘Cariad Caerlyr’  and the idiosyncratic pulses and dislocated funky drive of their clog dancing ‘Big D’

Here it performs a serious introduction to the dazzle of Liszt’s famous ‘Hungarian Rhapsody No.2’ which itself contrasts against the Celtic cool of CALAN’s ‘Cariad Caerlyr’ and the idiosyncratic pulses and dislocated funky drive of their clog dancing ‘Big D’. 

Williams Foster’s compact arrangement of Bartok’s ‘Three Transylvanian Dances’  retains its essential DNA of dark, unsophisticated joyfulness: from the cocky snap of the ‘Bagpipes’  and sadly comic lugubrious step of the ‘Bear Dance’  through to a naïve knees-up finale.  

Five of Manuel De Falla’s seven emotive ‘Siete Canciones Populares Espanoles’  (arranged by Foster from the original for soprano voice and piano) also capture a synthesis mood of rustic, paisano charm – both longing and atmospheric. 

Each is as individualistic in ‘art song’ character of themes of love and chastity as they are in subtle rhythmic regional flavourings – from the Moorish ‘El Pano’  and  ‘Asturiana’  of the north, to the south eastern ‘Jota’.    

Swagger of defiance

The spiritual melancholy of ‘Sometimes I Feel Like a Motherless Child’  speaks just as loquaciously as a big band swagger of defiance, whilst the sweaty back street ambience of working-class Buenos Aires lingers provocatively in the air with the sensual liquidity of ‘Yo Say Maria’  and flamboyant thrustings of ‘Fuga y Misterio’  by everyone’s favourite neuvo tango creator Astor Piazzolla.

Errollyn Wallen’s uplifting ‘Brukdown’  has a joyful wildness about it – energised and vivacious, whilst ‘Loch Lomond’  takes the high road in timbre to close an immensely satisfying release.     

Iwan Fox

To purchase:

CD: https://www.worldofbrass.com/101938

Download: https://www.worldofbrass.com/101938-download

Play list:

1. The Peacock (Zoltan Kodaly)
2. Hungarian Rhapsody No. 2 (Liszt arr. William Foster)

3-7. Siete Canciones Populares Espanoles (De Falla arr. William Foster)
i. El Pano
iii. Asturiana
iv. Jota
v. Nana
vi. Cancion

8. Cariad Caerlyr (Angharad Jenkins arr. Patrick Rimes)
9. Big D (Rimes/Williams-Jones/Humphreys/Jenkins/French arr. Patrick Rimes)

10-12. Three Transylvanian Dances (Bartok arr. William Foster)
i. Dudasok (Bagpipes)
ii. Medvetanc (Bear Dance)
iii. Finale

13. Sometimes I Feel Like a Motherless Child (Tard spiritual arr. Sam Every)
14. Bruckdown (Errollyn Wallen)

15. Yo Soy Maria (Astor Piazzolla) 
16. Fuga y Misterio (Astor Piazzolla)

17. Loch Lomond (Trad. arr. Isobel Daws)

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