One of the Best Brass CD's ever? - 'Principals'

Discussion in ' User Reviews' started by johnflugel, Aug 18, 2004.

  1. johnflugel

    johnflugel Active Member

    Not a review as such but must recommend a CD to you.

    It might not be that familiar to the majority of people on TMp as it was recorded nearly 15 years ago and is perhaps now out of mainstream view.

    The CD is called 'Principals' and features in my view two of the finest Brass musicians ever, Phillip Smith (Trumpet) and Dudley Bright (Trombone). To my knowledge, these gentlemen are Principals with the New York Phil and LSO respectively and perform the following pieces:

    Philip Smith - trumpet, cornet *
    Dudley Bright - trombone +

    *Song of Exultation (cornet)
    +A Never Failing Friend (trombone)
    *Schon Rosmarin (cornet)
    +The Noble Trombone (trombone)
    *Intrada (trumpet)
    +Immortal Theme (trombone)
    *I Love Him Better Every Day (cornet)
    +Elegie (trombone)
    *Blessed Assurance (flugel/ trumpet)

    This to me is an ideal crossover band/orchestral brass CD. The backing from the New York Staff Band is excellent (TMP Friend Brian Bowen is to thank for that!) and the playing is well....awesome. My favourite tracks...Song of Exultation, Never Failing Friend, Blessed Assurance (with fat super F at the end to cap it off).

    CD is available from in the recordings section. I own a manky old cassette so decided to order the CD of it. I got mine direct from New York in about 5 days and it cost me $16 including p+p..bargain. Buy it, I promise you will not be disappointed...unless you have a passion for listening to bad playing!
    Does anyone else own this CD? There are a couple of people on TMP who will have a particular interest in this thread...Brian Bowen, Julescornet (Dudley's brother).
  2. PeterBale

    PeterBale Moderator Staff Member

    This was actually one of the first cds I purchased (from the Manchester branch of SP&S :shock: ) as it's release coincided with me getting my cd player. I recall being particularly impressed with "The Noble Trombone" (written by Brian Bowen) and I don't think Philip's rendition of "Blessed Assurance" has been bettered on disc.

    Overall it certainly stands the test of time, although it could be said that the music is not as "involving" as others you may hear, despite the undoubted quality of the playing.

    Incidentally, watch out for Dudley Bright's performance of the Leidzen "Concertino" on the second volume of Grimethorpe's survey of brass music, devoted to SA repertoire.
  3. johnflugel

    johnflugel Active Member

    I find Phillip's 'Song of Exultation' very involving! Nine minutes of absolutely top drawer, exciting playing.

    I sat in for an hour or two to listen to Dudley record the 'Concertino' with Grimethorpe...the level of consistency over the 60 or so minutes he took to do it was staggering.
  4. John Brooks

    John Brooks Well-Known Member

    I couldn't agree more. I have had this in my collection since it was released and it's one that I keep going back to. The playing of both soloists and band is consistent throughout. It's hard to believe it was recorded 15 years ago. This is a world class CD.
  5. Jules Cornet

    Jules Cornet Member

    Can't agree more, even as a brother of one of the feautured artistes I am a little biased.

    Superb playing by two amazing soloists and a really bright 'live' recorded sound captured by engineer/producer Ted Marshall.

    Dudley's trombone playing was immaculate as ever, but Song of Exultation and Blessed Assurance played by Phil Smith literally blew me away. Blessed Assurance should have had a preservation order slapped on it immediately as every subsequent performance has been a pale imitation.

    Two other fantastic Phil Smith/NYSB recordings that deserve mention are an earlier one, entitled 'Bravo' with a most wonderful performance of Songs in the Heart, and a more recent recording 'My Song of Songs' all of which should be in any cornet/trumpet student's collection.

    Abundant Blessings

    Jules Cornet
  6. craigster

    craigster Member

    Noble Trombone is the item on the CD that I keep coming back to. Although I think it must be the number that had the preservation order slapped on it because you just don't hear it used very much.

    The cadenza lip slurs in "I Love Him Better Everyday" blew me away when I first heard them.

    Maybe Mr. Bowen or Jules can set us straight, but didn't Dudley do his portion after just having some sort of major operation?

    Great thing about these two players is that on top of their awesome playing, they are very approachable and personable guys. Have had the privilege to play under/with both of them (Phil at SA music school, Dudley with the CSB a year or so ago) and you just can't get better blokes.

    I agree whole heartedly with all the recommendations herein.
  7. carlwoodman

    carlwoodman Member

    I've got a copy but admit to not having played it recently.
    All my CDs are packed away due to a house move but will promise to play it as soon as possible once we're unpacked!
    I enjoyed doing Immortal Theme with Andrew Justice and ISB some years back so look forward to hearing Dudley do it again on the Principals disc.
  8. Brian Bowen

    Brian Bowen Active Member

    It's true, Dudley's contributions were made very soon after he had major surgery. In those circumstances many players would have backed out but we had a window of opportunity and Dudley wanted to continue with the project.

    "The Noble Trombone" was written for him to play on this CD. Sadly for me, Craigster is probably correct about a lack of subsequent performances even though the music is published by Rosehill Music with band or piano accompaniment.
  9. johnflugel

    johnflugel Active Member

    Shame on you Mr Woodman...unpack those boxes and enjoy :wink:

    Interesting to hear some of the comments posted since the start of the topic. I would encourage anyone who has not heard it to get hold of a copy. I listen to alot of CDs in my car but the 'Principals' CD has not been removed from the player for a week!
  10. Razor

    Razor Member

    I too was blown away by the playing on this CD! Particularly Song of Exultation, I Love Him Better Every Day and Blessed Assurance. When first purchased, this disc and these tracks in particular were played again and again and again!

    If I remember right, Phil Smith played Blessed Assurance at Enfield Band's Pre-Contest Festival @88/89 at Regent Hall and just blew everybody away with the switch from the lush flugel sounds to the power of his high register trumpet playing. Don't think many people if any had heard the number prior to this occasion so the impact of the piece( not knowing what to expect) and it's performance was greatly enhanced.
  11. Gorgie boy

    Gorgie boy Member

    Nothing much to say, just to add that it remains one of my favourite CD,s and also one of the first I ever bought. It's amazing quality playing, and heartening that it's played by two such genuine (Christian) gentlemen. Met Dudley for the first time last year at a SA music school in Scotland, and his playing and teaching were an inspiration.

    Little lad came to me half way through the week and said and I quote....... "so is Dudley one of the best trombone players in the Army in this country?".

    "something like that and a little bit more!" was my reply.

    Paul Drury

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