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BandWorld, October 2008

This piece is one of the landmark compositions written for Robert Austin Boudreau’s American Wind Symphony…a worthwhile addition to your listening library.

Phillip Scott
Fanfare, September 2008

The long-established “President’s Own” U.S. Marine Band displays discipline, fine blend, and tight ensemble, even though it is not the last word in blazing excitement, and Serebrier ensures that the performances are authoritative. The live recording is well balanced and clear; applause is included. This CD is a must for Villa Lobos completists, and contains much else of interest besides. An enjoyable addition to this series.

Daniel Foley
The WholeNote, May 2008

It’s nice to see Naxos including this fearsomely expert ensemble in the Wind Band Classics series, and it’s nice to see Naxos becoming more directly involved with this legendary band.

Robert Cummings
Classical Net, April 2008

This is an unusual recording: the repertory suggests Latin- or Spanish-flavored music, while the performing ensemble is an American wind band (the United States Marine Band, no less) led by conductor, Jose Serebrier, who is generally associated with orchestral performances. Serebrier is also a composer in his own right and on this disc is represented by his work Night Cry and two arrangements: the Carmen Symphony (drawn from orchestral interludes and other famous numbers from the opera) and the Revueltas Mexican Dance (based on music from Revueltas' film score for Redes). The other pieces here are the Ginastera Estancia Suite (drawn from the composer's ballet Estancia) and the Villa-Lôbos Concerto Grosso. The Carmen Symphony and Ginastera Estancia Suite are further transformed here, since they were originally conceived for orchestra. The wind band transcriptions for this pair were done by Msgt. Donald Patterson.

The Carmen Symphony was fashioned by Serebrier to follow the action in the opera chronologically, unlike the two famous orchestral suites drawn from Bizet's classic. The music is imaginatively conceived and works quite well here. While this is the marquee item on this CD, it is the Ginastera and Villa-Lôbos works that are of the greatest interest, as far as I'm concerned. The Ginastera is colorful, with more than a hint of Stravinsky here and there, and with a wild, rhythmically-charged ending that's sure to get your adrenaline flowing. The Villa-Lôbos, with its mostly chipper demeanor and cosmopolitan character, is colorful and brilliantly scored, once again with the voice of Stravinsky evident.

Night Cry is the most modern-sounding work and doesn't quite catch the ear with its dark, slow character and gloomy atmosphere. The concluding piece The Stars and Stripes Forever is a Sousa favorite, of course, and on the night of this concert drew quite enthusiastic reaction from the audience, deservedly so.

Everything here is well played by the Marine Band and its numerous talented soloists, especially the Ginastera and Villa-Lôbos works. The sound is vivid and powerful. Strongly recommended!

David Hurwitz, April 2008

José Serebrier recorded his suite from Carmen, called "Carmen Symphony", for BIS. This wind band version works perfectly well, and the arrangement is as effective as ever. But Serebrier's job as arranger doesn't end there. It includes Revueltas' Mexican Dance (worked up from a bit of the film score to Redes, or "Nets"), and a rather less interesting original composition based on Edvard Munch's celebrated painting "The Scream", called Night Cry. I have to confess that I have never found the notion of hearing Munch's painting particularly appealing, and Serebrier's desultory piece does nothing to change my mind.

The two remaining works, however, are splendid. Ginastera's Estancia Suite does seem to miss its strings, especially in the gentler movements, but the concluding Malambo is sensational as played here. Villa-Lobos' Concerto Grosso for Wind Quartet and Wind Orchestra is an important late work, and it's great to have it readily available. Serebrier brings the program to a close with a rousing encore: The Stars and Stripes Forever, and the audience goes predictably crazy. The sonics are good for a live band concert, without too much extraneous noise, though a touch limited on top. This was fun!

David Denton
David's Review Corner, March 2008

It is surprising that no one has had the bright idea of creating a symphonic suite from Bizet’s opera Carmen, the concert hall seemingly happy with the familiar orchestral interludes. With a blank musical canvas Jose Serebrier set to work on a score that relates the story, leaving the interludes as they were, while giving arias to instruments of the orchestra. The result is a synthesis that occupies well over half an hour. Already recorded in orchestral format, it is here transcribed by Donald Patterson for concert band, and in all truth I often find compromises that detract from the orchestral score. Still it finds some good playing, the many soloists more than capable of creating the vocal parts. We go up a gear when Serebrier is writing an original score for band in the Mexican Dance based on music for the film Redes by Silvestre Revueltas, while Ginastera’s suite from the ballet, Estancia - one of my favourite works - equally lends itself to a band arrangement. We have an original score from Villa-Lobos in the Concerto Grosso for Wind Quintet and Wind Orchestra, with Serebrier’s Night Cry, inspired by Edvard Munch’s painting of that name. A blistering account of Sousa’s Stars and Stripes Forever, completes the disc. The playing, as one would expect from ‘The President’s Own’ United States Marine Band, is both vivacious and cultured, the solo piccolo in Stars and Stripes bringing a show of virtuosity. The recording was a band product made at a concert in Strathmore, Maryland. It has a dry acoustic, but packs plenty of punch, Serebrier creating tremendous impact as Estancia pounds out its thrilling finale.

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