I was about to say a 'hypothetical' situation, but technology allows these things now, but let's imagine you could choose, from all the brass recordings you own, individual tracks to mix and match and stick on a truly 'Best of Brass' compilation CD. What would you choose? Making it slightly easier, a double CD's worth. No more than 160 minutes (still, tricky, isn't it. What do you leave out?) Brass band/ensemble only, I suggest. I'm sure we could pick another double CDs worth of solo items and the like! Here, for what it's worth, is my 'list' (with no particular desire to put them in a specific order) Les Soirees Musicales - Howard Snell Brass, from 'Premiere' (17 mins) Utterly blew me away when I first heard this. I thought JSVB were excellent in the brass band ensemble field but the closing descending arpeggios in the first movement (amongst other things) absolutely took my breath away. Repeated listening detects a few 'flubs' but the overall picture over the four movements is that of a truly outstanding ensemble. Festmusik der Stadt Wien - Royal Academy of Music Brass Soloists from 'A World Tour' (11 mins) Eulogised elsewhere (mainly by me!) RAM students produce (to my ears) the definitive recorded version of the Richard Strauss Festmusik der Stadt Wien (amongst very good competition - Locke Brass, PJBE, London Brass Virtuosi) and Gunther Schuller's Symphony for Brass. Also try their hand (successfully) at the brass band repertoire. Difficult to believe they're students! Cloudcatcher Fells - Black Dyke Mills from 'The Complete Champions' (18 mins) A band at the very top of their form of the day. I really could have picked any one of the tracks from this recording, but as a piece of music, this is my favourite. Also eulogised elsewhere. One of the very best brass band recordings around. Pictures at an Exhibition - Britannia BS -from 'Pictures at an Exhibition' (34 mins) To my humble ears (!) the playing on this (albeit without some of the instruments of the brass ensemble version, like piccolo trumpet) just edges PJBE's marvellous recording. David King on sop is outstanding on this. Prokofieff: Ten Pieces from Romeo and Juliet. English Brass Ensemble from 'Russian Brass' (30 mins) A CD now sadly deleted. I was going to pick the Widor Symphony no. 5 from the same group's album 'Toccata' but I've listened that almost to the point of boredom! Not all the EBE's recordings for ASV were successful but this one definitely was, and in particular the excellently arranged and played Rome and Juliet selection. Superb ensemble, technique and colour all round. Winter: from the Four Seasons. London Brass; from 'Christmas With London Brass' (9 mins) Worth getting the CD for alone, lyrical in the slow movements and technically astonishing in the outer movements Connotations: Black Dyke Mills from 'Champions of Brass' (12 mins) A strange choice? Maybe, but though there may be better recordings from a technical standpoint. This recording from 1977 oozes musicianship from start to finish Four Outings for Brass. PJBE from '20th Century Album' or 'Divertimento' (16 mins) For me the pick of the famous PJBE quintet of Jones, Howarth, James, Iveson and Fletcher, with John Fletcher in particularly staggering form. Not everyone's cup of tea music wise perhaps but for me, the best example of a truly great brass quintet. Brandenburg Concerto no. 3 PJBE from 'Music from the Courts of Europe' (9 mins) Arguably the most successful brass transcription of a Bach work for brass, and the typical PJBE homogenity is on evidence in what was their last recording for Decca before Jones retired. Well, that's my little lot. Just an opinion from my brass CD collection! Any other offers?