Best brass ensemble ever?

Best brass ensemble ever?

  • Boston Brass

    Votes: 0 0.0%
  • London Brass

    Votes: 0 0.0%
  • Howard Snell Brass

    Votes: 0 0.0%

  • Total voters
    67

Dave Payn

Active Member
In an effort to make myself a bit clearer, I've re-written my message. Please delete the first one. Ta.

PJBE for me. All the others have taken playing standards technically, but for me, the PJBE had a distinctive sound, Philip Jones, knew how to make however many players at his disposal (but particularly the quintet of himself, Elgar Howarth, Ifor James, John Iveson and John Fletcher) sound like one homogenous unit that I have not heard since in a brass ensemble. The re-issues of their recordings over the years only serves to confirm this for me. All the other 'candidates' I've listed, however, are/were well worth listening to. I've obviously named a few ensembles here, but of course, it's not definitive. Do you have another brass ensemble you particularly like?

I've listed quite a few. Of the 'brass band' variety, both JSVB and Howard Snell Brass were top ensembles (The opening movement of HSB's opening track on their first ever CD - an arrangement of Les Soirees Musicales, still has that 'wow' factor for me
 

neiltwist

Active Member
have to agree, the fine arts brass ensemble are good, but not as good as PJBE in my opinion, unfortunately, due to the fact that they are a quintet, the great gate at kiev sounds more like the miniture gate at (insert small village here)! the playing is superb, but more instruments are needed (PJBE used a ten piece I think, maybe more).
 

horn1

Member
Based purely on the fact that I've heard canadian brass and none of the others! (I know the shame!! :oops: ) Canadian Brass were magnificent and very entertaining, at the time I'd never heard anything quite like it!
 

Aidan

Active Member
definately canadian brass for me.. heard of.. and heard! all of em :p
canadian are DEFINATELY the most entertaining as all of the ensembles play to the same professional standard.. but can brass take it one step further infusing their performances (all from memory) with comedy, in their own distinctive style :) brilliant.
 

Straightmute

Active Member
Canadian Brass have a fantastic sound and stage presence but the best quintet I ever heard was in the early days of PJBE when the line up was as Dave Payn descibed: Howarth, Jones, James, Iveson and the immortal Fletch. Not necessarily the best technicians but oozing musicianship from every pore. I spent a week with them at a summer school at Lancaster University and it was a truly life-changing experience.

D
 

Aidan

Active Member
Darth_Tuba said:
I don't see Brassneck in the options Aidan!!! :shock: It's obvious to me they are the greatest! :wink:
Good point!!! :!:
someone fix this please :)
 

PeterBale

Moderator
Staff member
One of the best live brass chamber concerts I have attended was given by the Albany Brass Ensembel (later to become the English Brass Ensemble to avoid confusion with a similarly-named wind quintet).

Paul Archibald and Richard Martin were the trumpets, with James Gourlay on tuba, but I can't recall off-hand who the horn and trombone were. The piccolo-trumpet playing was phenomenal, as was the breadth of sound.

As for recordings, amongst my favourites are the LSO brass cd of American music, including West Side Story, and the Wallace Collection's Mussorgsky/Khachaturian disc.

I was fortunate to hear Canadian Brass at Regent Hall a couple of years ago and I would agree they were extremely entertaining, but I should have liked to have heard a little more serious repertoire. In that respect, PJBE were at a different level.
 

Seedhouse

Active Member
I also think that the British Tuba Quartet and other tuba quartet's deserve to be in this thread! :lol:

British Tuba Quartet get my vote, they're very entertaining.

But James Sheperds Versatile Brass get my vote because BTQ aren't on the list.
 
me also thinks that BrassNeck quintet should be included in the line-up. we have a huge repetoire ( :? ), quality players ( :? again) and a top website ( :? x3)
haha
 
ha! palmer, he's one of those trumpet loving people, he's got quite an insurance related relationship with his instuments of pleasure
 

Dave Payn

Active Member
PeterBale said:
One of the best live brass chamber concerts I have attended was given by the Albany Brass Ensembel (later to become the English Brass Ensemble to avoid confusion with a similarly-named wind quintet).

Paul Archibald and Richard Martin were the trumpets, with James Gourlay on tuba, but I can't recall off-hand who the horn and trombone were. The piccolo-trumpet playing was phenomenal, as was the breadth of sound.

The horn and trombone would probably have been James Handy and David Whitson but I wouldn't swear to it.

As I said, I'm sure that other ensembles would qualify, like the BTQ mentioned elsewhere. That's why IMHO these 'who's your favourite' polls are useful, not to decide who is actually the best (as that point is still subjective at the end of what is after all, a poll) but maybe in someone, somewhere unearthing a gem of information that others may not have known about before. I haven't heard the BTQ for instance (I have heard OF them, though) so I may well avail myself of any recordings that might still be available, etc. That's why I like this particular forum so much! :wink:
 

PeterBale

Moderator
Staff member
Dave Payn said:
The horn and trombone would probably have been James Handy and David Whitson but I wouldn't swear to it.
Right first time, Dave. I checked my programmes last night, although I also realised that the first time I heard them Graham Ashton was playing trumpet, not Richard Martin.

On the subject of other brass groups, one of my favourite recordings in a lighter vein (I fished it out last night and it's playing at the moment) is "Brassomania", by Blechschaden (a ten-piece group plus percussion formed from members of the Munich Philharmonic under Bob Ross). They play a mixture of familiar and unfamiliar items in first rate arrangements and communicate their enthusiasm through the music very effectively.
 
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