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Ira Novoselsky
BandWorld, July 2009

A pair of well established soloists are featured with an excellent wind ensemble in this addition to the Naxos Wind Band Classics series. Passaggi (Stephen Michael Gryc) is a three movement trombone concerto and the title is Italian for passages. The passages can be thought of as the growth and maturation of the soloist while taking a musical journey through this twenty-two minute concerto. The journey for the percussionist and wind ensemble is via Tales from the Center of the Earth (Nebojsa Zivkovic). This work offers challenges for the multi-percussionist who must also tackle some impressive marimba writing; the wind ensemble must be up to the demands as well. The recording opens with Recoil by Joseph Schwantner, an amplified piano and four very active percussionists work in partnership with the forces of the wind ensemble. The remaining two compositions are both lullabies and serve as ideal contrast from the lengthier pieces; Leslie Bassett’s Lullaby for Kirsten and Joseph Turrin’s Lullaby for Noah.

David Denton
David's Review Corner, March 2009

Four 21st century compositions for wind band that take us into a new and adventurous sound world. Each share a general tendency towards tonality, the most extensive score coming from Stephen Gryc, trombonist and composer, who was commissioned to write a concerto for Joseph Alessi, principal trombone of the New York Philharmonic Orchestra. Passaggi consists of three pictures of musicians who have influenced Gryc, two slow movements preceding a final scherzo. It is a work that showcases Alessi’s silky smooth playing, only in the virtuoso last movement allowing his brilliance to take over. The other percussion ‘concerto’ score comes from Nebojsa Zivkovic, and was composed for Benjamin Toth, the soloist in this performance. In two movements,Tales from the Centre of the Earth reflects the orient, the marimba creating the mysticism and the seductive dance of the opening movement. The second movement features the hyper-active Toth on a battery of instruments with much support from the band’s percussion section. The disc opens with Joseph Schwantner’s Recoil , a high impact strongly rhythmic work that also makes much use of the percussion department. A short Lullaby by Joseph Turin echoes the gentle 1994 Lullaby for Kirsten by Leslie Bassett. Conducted by Glen Adsit, the performers are students at the Harrt School and they certainly lack nothing in enthusiasm. The sound is a bit boxy in the lower frequencies but otherwise clear and punchy.

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