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Barry Kilpatrick
American Record Guide, September 2013

I’m impressed that [The University of Kansas Wind Ensemble] can play with such fine ensemble precision while sounding so mellow in Torke’s rhythmically intricate works.

Steve Leisring and Margaret Marco are the UK faculty trumpet and English horn soloists in an expressive reading of Copland’s Quiet City. Fine playing by both, and by the student collaborators. © 2013 American Record Guide Read complete review on American Record Guide



Steve Arloff
MusicWeb International, August 2013

This is a disc from Naxos’ Wind Band Classics series and is a total delight from first note to last.

Michael Torke’s…Javelin…perfectly embodies the feeling of excitement that the Olympics creates…I’m now eager to hear it in its original form but this transcription by Merlin Patterson works wonderfully well for wind band. This is thought to be the first recording of it in this version. Its effervescence has all the verve of an opened bottle of champagne.

An American Elegy by Frank Ticheli is a very beautiful and poignant piece. The mixture of sadness and serenity is perfectly captured…A solo offstage trumpet acts as a heavenly voice. The work is a highly successful and moving musical tribute…

Copland’s Quiet City is among his best known works and this version for wind band by Donald Hunsberger only serves to highlight its wonderfully evocative sense of place and atmosphere. The last work on the disc is his Variations on a Shaker Melody which takes the Shaker song Simple Gifts which many know as Lord of the Dance and gives it new life.

It is a measure of the vitality expressed in the compositions on this disc and the supreme ability of this brilliant ensemble that the absence of so many other instruments that make up an orchestra goes almost completely unnoticed. For these works it could be said that ‘less is more’ since these versions work so wonderfully well. It is a long time since I have simply wallowed in a disc. The smile it engendered never left me for the whole time I listened. It makes for a most enjoyable hour of gorgeous music. © 2013 MusicWeb International Read complete review



Dan Morgan
MusicWeb International, July 2013

I’m constantly amazed—and gratified—by the stellar standards of these American college bands…The sound quality of these issues is also very good indeed, and that adds immensely to the pleasure of these varied programmes.

…Michael Torke[’s]…Javelin…is given here in a bold and arresting arrangement by Merlin Patterson. Rhythms are supple, articulation is precise and intonation…is true. Indeed, there’s nothing to criticise and everything to celebrate when the music-making is this polished and professional.

Mojave…[is] a moody, mobile little number, with just enough colour, rhythmic vitality and melodic interest to hold one’s interest.

Frank Ticheli’s American Elegy…gets a heartfelt outing here…these Kansans play with an inspiring blend of strength and solemnity, so much so that I found myself listening to the piece several times in a row.

…in Ticheli’s Four Shaker Songs…The writing is wonderfully transparent…and conductor Paul W. Popiel ensures the delightful, earthy Dance is despatched with precision and point. Indeed, there’s a judicious balance between content and dynamics in this programme that makes it a pleasure from start to finish.

Simply splendid; another fine college ensemble at its best. © 2013 Musicweb International Read complete review



BandWorld, July 2013

This is the fourth recording of the University of Kansas Wind Ensemble on the Naxos label and Landscapes is just as solid as the previous CDs. An interesting aspect of Landscapes is the three featured composers are each represented by two distinctive works. Another impressive program by the University of Kansas Wind Ensemble. © 2013 BandWorld



David Denton
David's Review Corner, April 2013

The fourth release for Naxos from this outstanding college group that here bring together arrangements and original wind band compositions. At the heart of the release are two extended scores from Frank Ticheli, one of America’s most prolific creators of wind band music, both works written in the present century. Stylistically his works sit within the mainstream tonality of the previous century, its tuneful pleasures falling easily on the ears. An American Elegy has the sombre backdrop of those who lost their lives in the shooting at Columbine High School in 1999. Two years later, in 2002, Simple Gifts is a band setting of Four Shaker Songs, Ticheli clothing them in attractive harmonic garb, each one quite short and reflect the happy nature of their respective titles. The most recent of all works on the disc comes with Michael Tork’s Mojave, originallycomposed for a string quartet and the British percussionist, Colin Curry, who started his recording career for Naxos. It is here a virtuoso showpiece for a marimba soloist played by Ji Hye Jung, an assistant professor at Kansas University. The disc opens with Javelin - a piece composed for the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra at the time of the 1994 Olympics - and ends with two works by Copland. We get used to the outgoing and jubilant sound of American college bands, but here we can also value the smooth and beautiful sounds from Kansas with its perfect tuning. Recorded last year in a very pleasing quality. © David’s Review Corner





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