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On January 24, 1999, the National Philharmonic Hall in Warsaw, Poland vibrated with an unprecedented musical extravaganza as the Canadian Brass and the Warsaw Philharmonic came together in a cultural celebration of the long standing ties that have bound Canada and Poland.This recording commemorates the first visit ever to Poland of a Canadian Prime Minister.

1. Little Fugue in G Minor (Bach/Romm) 
2. Celebration (Foss) 
3. Tribute to Lennon and McCartney [Penny Lane; Blackbird; Come Together] (arr. Dedrick) 
4. Classical Duke [Harlem Sunday Morning; Cotton Tail; Sophisticated Lady; It Don't Mean a Thing] (arr. Henderson)
5. Mostly Fats [Looking Good, Feeling Bad; Handful of Keys] (Waller/Henderson) 
6. Saints' Hallelujah (Handel/Henderson)

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  • 5
    Canadian Brass Live in Warsaw

    Posted by Musical Heritage Society on 11th Mar 2011

    To hear the Canadian Brass tell it, the ensemble was — and I quote — "hijacked by the Canadian Embassy (in Warsaw, Poland) to add culture to a Team Canada delegation" in January 1999. Bearing in mind the Canadian Brass approach to everything its members do, I am inclined to believe their version is a bit heavy on hyperbole.

    Still, whether planned in just a few hours, as the ensemble claims, or the result of slightly more structured planning, the resulting concert was a triumphant, ceremonious affair marking the first visit to Poland by a Canadian Prime Minister. This live recording was cut from that very concert.

    What sets this recording apart from so many others that have preceded it is the group's collaboration with The Warsaw Philharmonic. The concert itself marked the world premiere of a three-movement piece for orchestra and a brass quintet titled "Celebration" by the German-born American composer Lukas Foss. And while the entire work is lovely, it is the last movement, the "March" in which the Canadian Brass truly shine, laying the groundwork for the remainder of the program.
    In a three-song tribute to The Beatles' John Lennon and Paul McCartney, the group interjects whimsy and irreverence into these otherwise respectful arrangements of "Penny Lane," "Blackbird" and "Come Together." From the applause that follows, it is clear the audience truly appreciated their efforts.

    The remainder of the disc features long-time collaborator Luther Henderson's arrangements of works by Duke Ellington and Fats Waller, which have been modified only minimally to accommodate the full orchestra. Of course, no concert is complete without the Canadian Brass's beloved traditional encore, a medley of "When the Saints Come Marching In" and Handel's Halleluiah Chorus, which will leave you laughing, singing and clapping along.

  • 3
    Canadian Brass Celebrate with new music by Lukas Foss

    Posted by All Music Guide on 11th Mar 2011

    The durable Canadian Brass has been among the quickest of small groups to jump on the bandwagon of releasing its own music; various discs have shown that the group's ability to forge a distinctive and seamless combination of classical, jazz, and pop numbers is unimpeded by the appearance of a host of competing groups on the scene. The same stylistic mixture is evident on the present Celebration disc, ostensibly a celebration of Canadian-Polish friendship. While that friendship is undoubtedly lasting and deeply rewarding, the budget prices at which good Eastern European orchestras tend to come these days might have played a role in the planning of the project as well. Be that as it may, this isn't one of the more successful releases of the current Canadian Brass set -- even in spite of the fact that it focuses on the combination of brass quintet and orchestra -- virtually an original Canadian Brass innovation. The centerpiece is a new composition by Lukas Foss, also entitled Celebration. The idea of the work is a good one; like others by Foss, it grafts subtle abstract effects onto easy-on-the-ears neo-Classic concepts. Here, in the outer movements, Foss explores the ways the brass quintet reorients the listener's perceptions of the basic musical material when it repeats that material in a straightforward concerto structure. But the work depends on the kind of peppy syncopations that are common in Foss and in a great deal of other neo-Classic music, and the Warsaw Philharmonic's renderings of these are unenthusiastic. The same problem plagues the segment of the program devoted to Duke Ellington (tracks 8-11). The three Beatles pieces included (tracks 5-7) have a different problem -- limp swing rhythms that distort the melodies and bring to mind nothing so much as Lawrence Welk's attempt to get with the {rock} revolution in the 1960s. Nothing the Canadian Brass does is without exciting features, and here those exciting features include the all-out slow introduction to Come Together and a straightforward Fats Waller medley. The door is open, however, for a younger group to attempt a more refined version of the ideas here.