Bella Italia, Steven Mead & the Italian Army Band


Staff member
Picked this up last week (having waited to make sure I didn't receive a copy to review :wink: ) and I'd like to recommend it whole-heartedly to anyone who likes to listen to a good melody, sensitively played.

Not much in the way of fireworks or technical hoops to jump through until the last two tracks - although even in the slower numbers the writing uses the full range of the instrument - but some first class bel canto playing throughout. With the (generally first class) wind band acompaniment, the euphonium sound seems to come across more clearly than is sometimes the case with brass band backing. Many of the melodies may be familiar, even if the titles are not, and there are some real gems here, with the two from "La Traviata" being amongst my favourites.

As for the final two tracks - a czardas originally for clarinet and Donald Hunsberger's arrangement of the Arban "Carnival of Venice" - there are pyrotechnics galore, but even then they never seem to be at the expense of the musical line.

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