After a hiatus of two long years, PhilBrass will make a comeback recital on 19 August that will continue its tradition of bringing brass classics to the audience.
With a number of its illustrious members that have ventured overseas; such as Chong Loo Kit and Lewis Poh, and others who have moved onto professional careers like Lau Wen Rong in SSO, it took PhilBrass some time to regroup as they tried to ensure the same level of quality in brass ensemble music.
“From our inception in 2011, we had annual formal recitals, with the last one – Jive for Five, in 2014. We took quite a long break since then, dabbling a lot into music education and Singapore heartland music, to promote the group to a much larger fan base,” said Ong Jiin Joo, trombonist of the group.
“Unlike our previous shows which featured the brass quintet, we will be exploring a larger variety of brass sounds this time with 4 to 13 players. We will also be sharing our learning process of engaging primary to secondary school students, by performing an abridged version of Carnival of the Animals, a narrated tone poem loosely based on Saint Saens’ classic of the same name,” he continued.
Titled “Miniatures”, the recital name is adapted from Gordon Langford’s ‘London Miniatures’, a six movement work that PhilBrass will be presenting.
The large brass ensemble work will be performed with 4 trumpets, 4 trombones, 1 horn and 1 tuba, a 10 piece instrumentation made popular by Philip Jones Brass Ensemble. The music brings to life famous landmarks and events in London, as audiences can hear the Big Ben ring, the parades at the castle, and the last post for the fallen, amongst others.
“Part of why we love ensemble playing, is how a small group can sound so big. Look at how large orchestral pieces like George Gershwin’s American in Paris can be performed just as well with a brass octet.”
Aside from the two featured pieces, PhilBrass will also be presenting a variety of modern brass writing, such as ‘Lo, How a Rose E’er Blooming’, a theme and variation of an ancient German origin carol ‘Es ist ein Ros entsprungen’.
By taking advantage of the large ensemble and the acoustics in Victoria Concert Hall, Jiin Joo, who is also the group’s resident arranger, has carefully woven a buffet of harmonic counterpoint, carrying on PhilBrass’ tradition of connecting baroque to pop.
“We will be performing one of the rare few works for brass written by music satirist Peter Schickele under this fictional alias P.D.Q. Bach. Fanfare for the Common Cold begs for an introduction that can’t possibly be given, and is best experienced with a handkerchief or tissue on hand.”
When it comes to defining concert experiences for audiences, one of the prime motivations for PhilBrass recitals is to break new grounds on all aspects of a concert.
Ever since the recital tickets were made available, it was realized that many young parents who yearn for an evening with PhilBrass weren’t allowed into the hall with a kid in tow. In an effort to expose more preschoolers to the world of music, Philbrass has lowered the concert admission age from 6 to 4 years old.
“Get ready to be engaged by our lively emcees and be prepared to move your body to the groove from the theme from Black Orpheus and latin classic Tico-tico.”
“Just make sure you do not block others if you choose to stand up!”
19 August (Saturday)
Victoria Concert Hall, 7.30pm
Tickets available from SISTIC
A contributing editor at TBP.