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Passage - 138 BC - AD 1611 / Empire Brass Quintet, Monahan

Album Summary

>Anonymous : Haec Dies
>Hildegard of Bingen : O viridissima virga, Ave
>Smedvig, Rolf [Trumpet] : Minimal
>Smedvig, Rolf [Trumpet] : Sibley Sanctus Lydian
>Parmae, Nicolai : De profundis
>Weck, Hans Jacob : Hupfer Tanz
>Smedvig, Rolf [Trumpet] : Instrumental
>Landini, Francesco : Si dolce non sonò, madrigal for 3 voices, S. 210
>Chant, Gregorian : Factus est repente, communio
>Anonymous : Sun Credo
>Anonymous : Helmo og Nykken (Scandanavian chant)
>Anonymous, Greek : First Delphic Hymn to Apollo
>Palestrina, Giovanni : Dilectus meus descendit, motet for 5 voices (from Motets Book IV from Canticis canticorum)
>Gesualdo, Carlo : Peccantem me quotidie
>Hildegard of Bingen : O clarissima mater, response
>Isham, Mark : The Melancholy of Departure
Performers Ensemble Composers
Notes & Reviews:

Many people do not realize that the major and minor keys are but vestiges of a system of eight modes devised by the ancient Greeks. The composition of music in the West was dominated by this system for 1100 years, from circa 400 C.E. to 1500 C.E., although it originated earlier and lasted longer in some places. On this disc, Empire Brass Quintet explores modal music wiht the aid of two vocalists, a guitarist, a bassist, a synthesizer player and a percussionist. Since there is a deep connection between brass instruments and fanfares and another connection between fanfares and the Middle Ages (think jousting), the album's concept, eclectic as it is, actually works. Although Gregorian chant and Hildegard von Bingen put in an appearance, this is not the stereotypical collection of soothing yet depressing chants. This music is played faster than that and carries a high drama, as on "De Profundis (From the Depths)," which features a martial percussion track and equally high-colored brass. You'd think with the synthesizer and the bass and the soft-focus recording that we were in danger of new age blandness here, but things never come to that. This piece could almost be an anthem at the Olympics. Some of the tracks are a bit overly diffuse and mild, but still interesting if you love ancient music. Even if it's not completely successful, experiments like this one should be encouraged. ~ Kurt Keefner



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Works Details

>Anonymous : Haec Dies
  • Performers: Ken Amis (Tuba); Kenneth Amis (Tuba); Michael Collver (Countertenor); Empire Brass (Trombone); Douglas Wright (Tenor); Douglas Wright (Trombone)
  • Ensemble: Empire Brass
  • Notes: Arranged: Rolf Smedvig
  • Running Time: 2 min. sec.
  • Period Time: Renaissance
  • Language: Latin
  • Studio/Live: Studio

>Hildegard of Bingen : O viridissima virga, Ave :: Spiritual Dance
  • Performers: Empire Brass; Kurt Wortman (Percussion)
  • Ensemble: Empire Brass
  • Running Time: 3 min. 54 sec.
  • Period Time: Medieval
  • Studio/Live: Studio

>Smedvig, Rolf [Trumpet] : Minimal
  • Performers: Empire Brass; Laurie Monahan
  • Ensemble: Empire Brass
  • Period Time: Contemporary
  • Language: Latin
  • Studio/Live: Studio

>Smedvig, Rolf [Trumpet] : Sibley Sanctus Lydian
  • Performers: Empire Brass (Trumpet); Luiz Garcia (Horn); Rolf Smedvig (Trumpet)
  • Ensemble: Empire Brass
  • Notes: Arranged: Sir Peter Maxwell Davies
  • Running Time: 3 min. 55 sec.
  • Period Time: Contemporary
  • Form: Choral
  • Studio/Live: Studio

>Parmae, Nicolai : De profundis
  • Performers: Michael Collver (Countertenor); Empire Brass (Mezzo Soprano); Luiz Garcia (Horn); Pete Maunu (Guitar); Laurie Monahan (Voice); Kurt Wortman (Percussion)
  • Ensemble: Empire Brass
  • Notes: Arranged: Rolf Smedvig
  • Running Time: 7 min. 5 sec.
  • Form: Choral
  • Studio/Live: Studio

>Weck, Hans Jacob : Hupfer Tanz
  • Performer: Empire Brass
  • Ensemble: Empire Brass
  • Notes: Arranged: Rolf Smedvig
  • Running Time: 5 min. 49 sec.
  • Period Time: Renaissance
  • Studio/Live: Studio

>Smedvig, Rolf [Trumpet] : Instrumental
  • Performers: Empire Brass; Doug Lunn (Bass Guitar); Eric Ruske (French Horn); Rolf Smedvig (Trumpet); Kurt Wortman (Percussion)
  • Ensemble: Empire Brass
  • Notes: Arranged: Rolf Smedvig and Kurt Wortman
  • Period Time: Contemporary
  • Studio/Live: Studio

>Landini, Francesco : Si dolce non sonò, madrigal for 3 voices, S. 210
  • Performers: Michael Collver (Countertenor); Empire Brass; Luiz Garcia (French Horn); David Goldblatt (Synthesizer); Doug Lunn (Bass Guitar); Pete Maunu (Guitar); Laurie Monahan; Kurt Wortman (Percussion)
  • Ensemble: Empire Brass
  • Notes: Arranged: Rolf Smedvig
  • Running Time: 5 min. 20 sec.
  • Period Time: Medieval
  • Form: Choral
  • Written: circa 1350-1397
  • Language: Latin
  • Studio/Live: Studio

>Chant, Gregorian : Factus est repente, communio
  • Performers: Empire Brass (Mezzo Soprano); Laurie Monahan (Voice); Kurt Wortman (Percussion)
  • Ensemble: Empire Brass
  • Notes: This selection is based upon the "spagna" dance arrangements of Johann Weck (c1495-1536) and Francisco de la Torre (fl1483-1504).
  • Running Time: 1 min. 8 sec.
  • Period Time: Medieval
  • Form: Choral
  • Studio/Live: Studio

>Anonymous : Sun Credo
  • Performers: Empire Brass; Luiz Garcia (French Horn); David Goldblatt (Synthesizer); Doug Lunn (Bass Guitar); Pete Maunu (Guitar)
  • Ensemble: Empire Brass
  • Running Time: 6 min. 58 sec.
  • Form: Choral
  • Studio/Live: Studio

>Anonymous : Helmo og Nykken (Scandanavian chant)
  • Performers: Empire Brass; David Goldblatt (Synthesizer); Kurt Wortman (Percussion)
  • Ensemble: Empire Brass
  • Notes: Arranged: Rolf Smedvig
  • Form: Choral
  • Studio/Live: Studio

>Anonymous, Greek : First Delphic Hymn to Apollo
  • Performers: Empire Brass; David Goldblatt (Synthesizer); Doug Lunn (Bass Guitar); Kurt Wortman (Percussion)
  • Ensemble: Empire Brass
  • Running Time: 2 min. 32 sec.
  • Form: Choral
  • Studio/Live: Studio

>Palestrina, Giovanni : Dilectus meus descendit, motet for 5 voices (from Motets Book IV from Canticis canticorum)
  • Performers: Empire Brass (Mezzo Soprano); Laurie Monahan (Voice)
  • Ensemble: Empire Brass
  • Notes: This work is based on a theme "Helmo Og Nykkjen" by Kirsten Bráten Berg.
  • Running Time: 1 min. 7 sec.
  • Period Time: Renaissance
  • Form: Vocal
  • Written: 1584
  • Studio/Live: Studio

>Gesualdo, Carlo : Peccantem me quotidie
  • Performers: Empire Brass; Laurie Monahan
  • Ensemble: Empire Brass
  • Running Time: 5 min. 50 sec.
  • Period Time: Renaissance
  • Written: 1603
  • Language: Latin
  • Studio/Live: Studio

>Hildegard of Bingen : O clarissima mater, response
  • Performers: Empire Brass (Trumpet); Laurie Monahan (Voice); Rolf Smedvig (Trumpet)
  • Ensemble: Empire Brass
  • Notes: Arranged: Rolf Smedvig
  • Running Time: 1 min. 10 sec.
  • Period Time: Medieval
  • Written: circa 1140-1179
  • Language: Latin
  • Studio/Live: Studio

>Isham, Mark : The Melancholy of Departure
  • Performers: Empire Brass; Kurt Wortman (Percussion)
  • Ensemble: Empire Brass
  • Notes: Arranged: Mark Isham and Kurt Wortman
  • Running Time: 5 min. 13 sec.
  • Period Time: Contemporary
  • Studio/Live: Studio