During the past few years the Philip Jones Brass Ensemble has travelled a great deal giving concerts in many parts of the world. For itinerant musicians there are at least three main priorities – enthusiastic audiences, good concert halls and comfortable hotels. Switzerland has them all, and this record is intended as a light-hearted appreciation of many pleasant hours spent there.
Six popular Swiss melodies from various regions have been specially arranged for the Ensemble by Elgar Howarth. To these ‘fun tunes’ we have added four of our own ensemble pieces which combine good humor with brilliance of execution. The Music Hall Suite of Joseph Horovitz was written for us in 1964 and has become almost a ‘classic’ in brass quintet repertoire, while the Tarantango of Alan Civil (one of the finest horn players in the world) has been a favourite encore at many of our recitals. Jan Koetsier’s Suite was originally written for members of the Concertgebouw Orchestra of Amsterdam.
Scored for two trumpets, horn and trombone, this quartet shows the composer’s skill and understanding in writing for bass instruments. Finally a word about Elgar Howarth’s Variations on that most popular of airs ‘The Carnival of Venice’. Like ‘Lucerne Song’ it was written as an encore piece for the Ensemble. But whereas ‘Lucerne Song’ is designed as a ‘farewell symphony’ with each member leaving the stage one by one until only Fletcher our tuba player is left playing all by himself.
‘Variations’ is a ‘Show Band’ piece. The solos are played by Ifor James, john Iveson, Elgar Howarth and John Fletcher with suitable comments both musical and otherwise from the rest of the Ensemble. In India and Japan where it had its premiere in 1974 it caused quite a stir!
Au début des années 50, le trompettiste anglais Philip Jones eut la bonne idée de réunir les meilleurs solistes des pupitres de cuivres des grands orchestres anglais pour créer une formation inédite : The Philip Jones Brass Ensemble. Constitué de 12 musiciens (trompettes, cor, trombones, tuba et percussions), cet ensemble de cuivres a très vite développé un vaste répertoire allant de la musique de la Renaissance au XXème siècle et a enchainé les tournées mondiales jusqu’à la disparition de son fondateur en 2000.