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Cat. No. CHAN 10462 Price: £0 No. of discs: 1
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CHAN 10462 - Bach/ Shostakovich: Fugues
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Available From: 01 June 2008
200 years of history stand between the two composers, yet these fugues are very closely linked. The fugues of J.S. Bach have come to be regarded as the supreme examples of the form, inspiring composers right up to the present day. Shostakovich is reputed to have memorised the whole of the Well-tempered Clavier by the time he was fifteen, and his 24 Preludes and Fugues, Op. 87 were written following his visit to Leipzig for the bi-centenary celebrations of Bach’s death. His cycle for piano, following the aim of Bach’s Well-tempered Clavier for organ, was written to explore each major and minor key of the chromatic scale. The fugues of both composers have been transcribed for many instrumental combinations, but they are particularly suited to the homogeneous sound of a brass ensemble.

The selection on this recording pairs the composers by key, each pair of fugues showing, even more than usual, the incredible gifts of the composers, as five distinct instrumental timbres beautifully highlight the counterpoint.

"...Onyx Brass has established itseld as one of the finest exponents of brass chamber music and education in the UK and this recording affirms their outstanding ability to communicate and perform."
"... this recording captures the intimate, vocal sound of the Onyx players with consisently refined balance and clarity.

Stuart Watts


The Brass Herald - October 2008

The English ensemble Onyx Brass is a fine quintet. It varies mood and style, sometimes playing in a natural way, sometimes fluidly, sometimes icily, and so forth.
American Record Guide

If one is drawn to a brass quintet medium in such music for its transparent and inscrutable linearity, success has less –as is claimed in the note – to do with intrinsic homogeneity than the age-old principles of fine chamber-music playing… The real achievement, however, is the Shostakovich, already downloaded on my iPod as some of the most thrilling chamber brass-playing of its kind.

The premise of this delightful album builds a dialogue between the fugues from Bach’s Well-Tempered Clavier and Shostakovich’s own studies in the form, orchestrated for theclarion tones of the Onyx Brass Ensemble.
Classic FM Magazine

We know that Bach works brilliantly in arrangement – but s too, apparently does Shostakovich! Bach worked under the constraint of writing most of his fugues for harpsichord or clavichord, Shostakovich likewise for the piano, but the limitation to two hands seems more of a spur than a hindrance: in both cases the part-writing is utterly transparent. All the same it is a great kindness to us lesser mortals to have the part-writing separated out, as here, by a variety of instruments: the wrought miracles seem only more impressive.
International Record Review


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