Portraits, le nouvel album d'Alexis Demailly et bastin Baumet
  • Paris Brass Band , conducted by Florent Didier
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  • 1-3. A PORTRAIT OF PARIS Peter Graham
    Promenade (aux Champs-Elysées)
    Sur la Seine 3’45
    Tour de France 2’12
  • 4. SONG AND DANCE Philip Sparke
  • 5. PILATUS Goff Richards
  • 6. CAPRICE Fritz Voegelin
  • 7. TIME FOR PEACE Peter Graham
  • 8. JUBILANCE Willian Himes
  • 9. PANTOMIME Philip Sparke
  • 10. BRILLANTE Peter Graham
  • 11. HUNTING HIGH AND LOW Simon Kerwin

Hunting High And Low
Time For Peace
Frank RentonFrank Renton

The Paris Brass Band is a quite new but vibrant voice in the European Brass Band scene, and in Alexis Demailly(cornet), and Bastien Baumet (Euphonium) they have two quite outstanding principal players. Their new CD Portraits is a collection of duets and solos by these two, with some old favourites and several new pieces, and is terrific. Congratulations to everyone involved.

Iwan FoxIwan Fox

Anyone who stills harbours the misconception that the growing influence of professional orchestral teaching techniques over the last 25 years or more has had any sort of malign effect on traditional brass band playing standards in the UK or beyond should be sent this CD to listen to.

Wider horizons
It is true that Alexis Demailly and Bastien Baumet are exceptional products of a French system that develops performers of a different form to those who emerge through the teaching methodologies of an essentially amateur British movement, but they are simply brass players who are moulded to appreciate different, wider horizons. This excellent release proves the point: The artistry on show is borne of a heightened awareness of elegance, refinement and self control. Style is the equal partner of substance.

Subtle gifts
Demailly’s subtle gifts are polished with such a degree of musicality that even the most innocuous leading line is phrased with tender care, whilst Baumet’s craftsmanship is more readily apparent, but equally respectful. These are solo performers of the very highest class. Neither player loses his acute sense of governance over the music. Technique is not wasted on the ephemeral - the clarity of articulation is never hard or asinine, but always malleable and sensitive, the underlying pulse beating with subconscious precision and regularity. The end result is a series of performances of repertoire imbued with urbane distinction.

Cultured interpretations
Demailly’s cultured interpretations of ‘Song and Dance’, ‘Jubilance’ and ‘Time for Peace’ are examples of a player fully aware of the music’s inherent characteristics, whilst Baumet is equally as erudite in his appreciation of the familiar structures of ‘Pantomime’, ‘Brillante’ and ‘Pilatus’. Simon Kerwin’s ‘Hunting High and Low’ is a bit of bubby champers double fun to end, but the musical palette is tickled with greater bottled depth by Fritz Voeglin’s ‘Caprice’ - a striking duet that conjures up imagery of the darkly entertaining days of 1928 Paris - from Josephine Baker’s eye popping dancing to Luis Bunuel’s eye popping film.

Gitane smoke
In contrast, Peter Graham’s title track is a peculiarly ‘English’ portrait of the city; from the expensive bustle of Champs-Elysees shoppers to the languid air of a left bank hotel room filled with the smouldering sensuality of fresh Gitane smoke and spent lovers whiling away a last few moments of tranquillity before the high speed excitement of the final stage of the Tour de France races past their bedroom window. It’s not a bad place to be.

With Paris Brass Band providing admirable accompaniment throughout under the baton of Florent Didier, the soloists are given the freedom to express themselves as they feel fit - producing showcase self portraits that engage their audience with intellectual rigour. You are left congratulating them on their honesty, artistry and sheer sense of professionalism.