May 9th 2003
Det var en Aften paa Tivoli - Live at the Tivoli Concert Hall
- from a review by Knud Cornelius
About the time of the opening of the 2003-season in the Tivoli Gardens, a new CD from the opening concert 2001 in the Tivoli Concert Hall is available.
The ensemble Royal Danish Brass performed this night and the concert programme has been collected and edited for a so-called live-CD.
The musicians are used to live performances. Not many ensembles are capable of creating a contact to the audience as immediate and direct as the Royal Danish Brass [..........]
The half of North Zealand are on their toes every New Year to get tickets for the traditional New Year's Concert at Nødebo Kro, and this is the place where fun and games are mixed with the music on a high professional level. The two founders and evergreen men of ideas act as cicerones - the arranger Mogens Andresen and the administrator Keld Jørgensen. Both of them have a nice sense of humour and they make with their narration these concerts so joyful. [..........]
Many ensembles, for instance the military bands, are able to play marches and waltzes and festive music, but none of them come close to the Royal Danish Brass when it's about bringing festivity and celebration into the music.
The numerous solo performances make some of the difference. It starts with the swedish trumpet player Jonas Wiik's "Le Basque", continues with the flugel horn player Nikolaj Viltoft's "Kärleksvals" composed by Ulrik Neumann and culminates temporarily with Lars Ranch's breathtaking solo trumpet in "Karneval i Venedig" (Del Staigers' Carnival of Venice). Jens Bjørn-Larsen makes a brillant feat with staggering tuba playing in Monti's "Czardas". The Tivoli concert contained a lot of popular pieces but also news as Mogens Andresen's "Kongens Lyngby March" from 1999 and his arrangements of three anonymous Russian pieces. While listening to these movements one must realise Royal Danish Brass being a genuine and solid ensemble [..........]
And then the percussionists Per Jensen and Jakob Weber Egholm starts working on the ensemble's hit number one, the arrangement of Joe Zawinuls "Birdland", and the music developes into a furious and tremendous finale with Kasper Thaarup on the alto trombone, Mogens Andresen on the euphonium and Nikolaj Viltoft on the flugel horn.
The recording, which in the beginning seems rather traditional, turns into an exciting, soloistic and deeply coherent publication, that improves on each acquaintance. The repetoire is in the popular style, but the quality is outdoing the lot in it's genre.
The Historic Brass Society
148 West 23rd Street, 2A New York, NY 10011, USA
Newsletter, issue 12 summer 1999
Review by Jeff Nussbaum
Bronze & Brass, Music from the Danish Past and Present
Royal Danish Brass Ensemble, Rondo RCD 8366
This is a unique and wonderful CD. The Royal Danish Brass presents an array of Danish music, some original compositions and some arrangements for large modern brass ensemble, but what will be of special interest to Historic Brass Society members is that it features performances of the lur in solo and ensemble settings. Torbjörn Kroon, Keld Jørgensen, Brian Bindner, Lars Haugaard and Mogens Andresen are all featured playing this early brass instrument that bears a 3000-year history. The pitches of the various instruments are given as G/Gb, Eb and C.
The liner notes, by Keld Jørgensen, relate the story that, in 1797, while digging for peat in a bog at Brudevaelte Moor near Fuglerupgaard in north Zealand, a farmer found six lurs lying in three pairs. Five of these rare instruments are preserved and exhibited at the National Museum in Copenhagen. The sixth lur, through a series of diplomatic maneuvers, ended up in Russia where it is currently housed at the Hermitage Museum in St. Petersburg. Remarkably, these 3000-year-old instruments are played on this recording. The sound is warm yet powerful (not unlike old Burgundy wine!) and might be compared to a blend of a natural horn and trombone. The notes indicate that one piece, Let it Resound Sweetly on High, an arrangement of a traditional Christmas carol, by Mogens Andresen, features not originals but copies of the original Brudevaelte lurs in Eb, made by the Copenhagen firm, I.K. Gottfried.
Since the known repertoire for lur is a bit thin, present-day musicians must use original compositions or arrangements. The Royal Danish Brass came up with some interesting combinations of performance including solo lur, lur ensemble and lurs with modern brass instruments. The program starts with a solo written by Mogens Andresen and nicely played by Keld Jørgensen. The sound can be surprisingly delicate. The lur trio playing on the melody, How wonderful on a Summer Night, bears this out, as does the brass ensemble joined by to lurs in The Retreat from the ballet Napoli arranged by Mogens Andresen. Most intriguing in terms of exploiting the tone of the lur is Andresen's quintet Folrisdam & Brudevaelte. Four Brudevaelte lurs (a pair in Eb and a pair in C) are joined in performance by the Folrisdam lur in G/Gb. The intonation is a bit strange, but we must remember that the last time these horns had an overhaul was 3000 years ago! There are several other settings for solo and lur ensemble that further exploit the tonal possibilities of these instruments.
Aside from the novelty of the in-depth focus on the lur, the modern brass performance of the Royal Danish Brass is very fine. The range of repertoire on the program is extensive and offers an interesting view into the musical history of Denmark.
--- Jeff Nussbaum
West Cork, Ireland
november 20th, 1996
Brass Ensemble Tour
NOW for something completely different, a brass band at the premier chamber music venue of Ireland. Paradoxically, this is not as strange as it may sound.
Firstly the generous host, Egerton Shelswell-White is himself a trombone player and secondly, this was no ordinary brass band. It was the Royal Danish Brass Ensemble on a brief tour of the country for the ESB-sponsored Music Network.
The 13-piece ensemble played an extraordinarily varied selection of works, from an early 16th century piece, composed by Henry VIII of England, through the heavy heights of Bach and Mozart, right up to the present day, with an entirely new 1996 composition, 'Viking Lip-Music', written this year by our own Brian Boydell specifically for the RDB's current tour. In addition, there was, naturally, a fair smattering of Scandinavian pieces, from traditional dances to contemporary compositions, most notably by Mogens Andresen.
This is where the RDB has its edge. For not only does the ensemble comprise 13 superb orchestral musicians, two trumpets, two cornets, two french horns, two percussion, three trombones, a euphonium and a tuba, but Mogens Andresen their arranger and composer, is also their euphonium player.
It is his intimate knowledge of each of his musicians which enables him to produce arrangements and original music which exploit the individual virtuosity of each of his players, producing a quite extraordinary empathy and musical inter-action, what-ever work they are playing. The result is a sound which is delicate and mellifluous enough to captivate the hardest heart.
Couple that with charming introductions from each piece of music and the obvious and irresistibly contageous enjoyment of all the musicians and you will understand how they felt able to launch into a full-scale rollicking jazz number for their second encore.
A chamber music audience tapping their feet! Whatever next?
The Irish Times - 19/11/96
Royal Danish Brass Ensemble
Droichead Arts Centre, Drogheda
by Douglas Sealy
The concert opened with grand stentorian chords on all 11 instruments (two trumpets, two cornets, two horns, two tubas and three trombones), enthusiastically backed by the two percussion players. If this was Orologio's Intrada of 1597, as billed in the programme, then King Christian of Denmark must have been a cool cat; it was however, a jazz encore played before the recital and no less extravagantly extrovert than the jazz encore which followed it.
Most of the arrangements for this large ensemble had been made by Mogens Andresen; he also played the tenor tuba, provided some of the spoken introductions and presided benignly over what might best be called a musical party. The players were soberly clothed, there was no drunken misbehaviour, but a spirit of friendly fun was paramount and the players enjoyment of Andresen's jazz-orientated arrangements found a ready echo in the audience in the Droichead Arts Centre recently (05/11/96).
The party was not without its solemn moments; the arrangement of Bach's Fugue in G minor, BWV 578, recieved particularly warm applause and Holmboe's Notater Op. 140 for three trombones and euphonium (tenor tuba), showed a delicacy of approach worthy of a string quartet.
Brian Boydell's Viking Lip-Music Op. 90, specially commissioned for the Irish tour of Royal Danish Brass by Music Network, was introduced by the composer in person. He had risen to the challenge of writing to this group and was confident his work would be enhanced by their skill. It is one of Boydell's most engaging compositions and made excellent use of the available sonorities, from piccolo trumpet to bass tuba, not forgetting the percussion.
There was virtuoso cornet playing, an improvised solo on bass trombone, a colourful use of percussion and much else, but it was the developments and transformations of tunes by Andresen that made the evening most entertaining.