American Record Guide
, August 2008
In the euphonium world (granted, a small one), Adam Frey is the man of the moment. He has released several outstanding albums in quick succession (March/April 2008: 234), in the process introducing a number of new works. While not all of the literature is of the highest quality, some of it is excellent, and all of the playing is first-rate. That's the situation here.
Kevin Kaska's 'Majestic Journey' is a loud and rather obnoxious opener, but it does get things off to an energetic start, and it makes for a big contrast with the elegiac quality of John Golland's lovely 'Peace'. The Euphonium Concerto by Vladimir Cosma (b 1940) is a Spanishstyle, virtuoso showpiece that gives Frey the opportunity to unleash his formidable technical skill in III.
Kaska's 'Ballade' is unremarkable, and Peter Graham's 'Brillante' is based on standard brass exercises and 'Rule Britannia'. The program ends with Philip Sparke's Pantomime, sentimental for a while (with touches of Andrew Uoyd Webber) until it becomes a happygo-lucky romp. The ending is over the top, but it fits.
Adam Frey has full and rich tone at all dynamic levels and in all registers, tasteful vibrato, genuinely excellent technique (all notes are distinct, not blurry), and the gregarious nature of a soloist. And since euphonium with orchestra is among the rarest of sonic combinations, this is a special treat. Fine readings by the New Zealand Symphony.