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CD review: Da Vinci

Flowers Band
Conductor: Paul Holland
Soloists: Paul Richards, Emily Evans, Lauren Chinn, Iain Culross
Doyen Recordings: CD423


Leonardo di ser Piero da Vinci was a polymath of staggering inquisitive intellect. 

Despite this, on his deathbed in Amboise in 1519 he was said to have asked for repentance for not fulfilling his creative genius.  Few would argue that he had not.

His God given gifts are explored with febrile intensity by Swiss composer Ludovic Neurohr in his extensive test-piece portrait of a man of music, architecture, poetry, painting and engineering, which forms the centrepiece to this high-class release.   

Myriad inventiveness

Commissioned for the 2016 French Open Championships (won by Flowers) his ‘Da Vinci’  is packed with bold challenges and myriad inventiveness, although at times detouring into unresolved cul-de-sacs like a scribbled idea for a flying machine that can’t take off.  

Paul Holland controls the complexities (as he does throughout the release) with a tight rein on the dynamic excess, linking the kaleidoscopic colourings and textures to a formidable stylistic assuredness.

Paul Holland controls the complexities (as he does throughout the release) with a tight rein on the dynamic excess, linking the kaleidoscopic colourings and textures to a formidable stylistic assuredness.  In leaner form it deserves further competitive appreciation. 

Flowers have also worked successfully with several composers who have brought an inventive eye to their entertainment contesting genres, notably at the Butlins and Brass in Concert Championships.  

Sharp cut style 

The highlights are delivered with sharp cut style and balance – opening with Christian Overhead’s, ‘Go!’  from their 2021 Brass in Concert ‘Monopoly’, set followed by Paul Saggers’ lyrical soprano solo ‘Poor Paris… Love was your Achilles’,  played with sublime artistry by Paul Richards. 

Guest cornet soloist Iain Culross is an impressive lead on Christopher Bond’s ‘The Descent’,  as is Lauren Chinn on Richard Taylor’s Iberian infused ‘Tokyo Sunset’  (followed his catchy ‘Bright Lights, Big City’). Emily Evans creates a focal point of classy assuredness on Mike Sheppard’s cryptogrammic ‘Concerto for Tenor Horn’  – a triptych of uplifting motifs, melodies and flourishes. 

The highlights are delivered with sharp cut style and balance – opening with Christian Overhead’s, ‘Go!’  from their 2021 Brass in Concert ‘Monopoly’, set followed by Paul Saggers’ lyrical soprano solo ‘Poor Paris… Love was your Achilles’,  played with sublime artistry by Paul Richards. 

Elsewhere, differing atmospheres are cleverly drawn with Paul McGhee’s ‘Pandemic 1349’  – full of dark anxieties and fearfulness, as is the sense of peaceful sanctity of Jonathan Bates’s ‘St Peter’s Chorale’. Dan Price’s take on Debussy’s ‘La Cathedral Engloutie’,  just lacks the colouring genius of Howard Snell’s take on it, but it still draws you into the resonant depths.  

The dramatic drive of Ludovic Neurohr’s ‘Shout Up!’  has a subversive sense of ironic conviction though – something even God wouldn’t have accused Leonardo de Vinci of lacking.

Iwan Fox


To purchase:
https://www.worldofbrass.com/102077

www.wobplay.com

Play list:

1. Go! (Christian Overhead)
2. Poor Paris… Love was your Achilles (Paul Saggers)
Soloist: Paul Richards

3. Shout Up! (Ludovic Neurohr)
4. La Cathedrale Engloutie (Debussy arr. Dan Price)

5. Concerto for Tenor Horn (Mike Sheppard)
Soloist: Emily Evans
i. Intrada
ii. Aria
iii. Rondo

8. St Peter’s Chorale (Jonathan Bates)
9. Tokyo Sunset (Richard Taylor)
Soloist: Lauren Chinn

10. Bright Lights, Big City (Richard Taylor)
11. The Descent (Christopher Bond)
Soloist: Iain Culross 

12. Pandemic 1349 (Paul McGhee)
13. Da Vinci (Ludovic Neurohr)

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