The Canadian Brass Gets a Major Reboot

Free Download: Canadian Brass plays 'Galliard Battaglia'

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Canadian Brass Canadian Brass

The Canadian Brass has probably done more to popularize the modern brass quintet than any ensemble before it. The group has managed to entertain audiences with popular arrangements and zany choreography but also appeal to brass aficionados with challenging renditions of Gabrieli, Palestrina and Bach.

The ensemble ushers in its 42nd year of performing with "Canadian Brass Takes Flight," its first release on the Steinway label and first album featuring a retooled lineup. Tuba player Chuck Daellenbach is the one remaining original member but the others – who have joined in the last decade -- all show a high standard of musicianship across the eighteen tracks.

Recorded in the glowing acoustics of Christ Church in Toronto, the ensemble achieves a mellow warmth in Dowland’s lovely lute song “Come Again, Sweet Love,” Brahms's choral prelude, Herzlich tut mich verlangen, and Scheidt’s echo-filled Galliard Battaglia.

Several Bach organ arrangements are chance to display the group’s sense of clarity, grace and phrasing. And the Brass players also show give ample attention to their lighter side in the suave “La Cumparsita” by Gerardo Matos Rodríguez, the “Killer Tango” by Sonny Kompanek (better known for his score to “The Big Lebowski”), and several New Orleans numbers, including the Brass fan favorite, “Tuba Tiger Rag.”

Canadian Brass Takes Flight
Steinway and Sons
Available at

Jeff Spurgeon speaks with Charles "Chuck" Daellenbach:

On creating a brass quintet repertoire:

On how modern brass instruments evolved:

On the group's evolution and modern-day lineup:

On playing gold-plated brass instruments:

On getting a "more expensive sound":

On how WQXR once helped the Canadian Brass win a RCA contract:


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Comments [1]

Peter J Blume from New York

Congratulations to WQXR & Jeff Spurgeon for this fine article regarding The Canadian Brass!
It’s not often that we get to enjoy a featured story about a brass player or group. And being a trumpet player myself, The Canadian Brass have been a staple of mine since I was a kid. Most people will fondly recall their ‘Smothers Brothers style’ skits & that they were very entertaining LIVE, but they also delivered a high quality of musicianship—they were a very tight ensemble as well as great individual players, each in their own right. And they’ve managed to do it on that high of a level for a very long time.

While I miss the likes of Ronald Romm & all the other original members, it was nice to hear (in the interview with Chuck Daellenbach) how the idea for new younger members came about. While it would have been fun to see more well known (& seasoned) players take those positions, it would have seriously limited the lifespan of the group. But now, by intentionally choosing & cultivating YOUNGER players (still with that high quality of musicianship) a baton has been passed, which will hopefully ensure that The Canadian Brass can still be enjoyed by future generations! Having small children that are starting to show signs of a real interest in music, that is important to me--& I hope someday to be able to take them to a Canadian Brass concert!

I wish the ‘new’ group well on the release of their recent album—which is apparently a highlighted recap of material previously provided by the ‘old’ Canadian Brass, but more so, I look forward to hearing them do ‘new’ material & new arrangements, as they come to find their own ‘new’ sound. Thanks again!

Feb. 07 2012 08:03 AM

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