SOMM Recordings is thrilled to announce the release of Mosaic featuring the label debut of the A4 Brass Quartet.
Formed in 2013 at Manchester’s Royal Northern College of Music, the quartet comprises principal players from some of the UK’s top brass bands, including Black Dyke, Foden’s and Brighouse & Rastrick. Its unique blend of instruments – cornet (Jamie Smith), tenor horn (Jonathan Bates), baritone horn (Mike Cavanagh) and euphonium (Chris Robertson) – creates a unique sound that stands out from the standard brass quartet.
An exciting kaleidoscope of new music and bespoke arrangements for the ensemble’s distinctive line-up, Mosaic makes a bold claim for the vibrancy and variety of contemporary brass music. Its aim, the quartet says, “is to take the listener on a journey in which they are never quite certain what lies around the corner”.
First recordings include Bramwell Tovey’s Street Songs, inspired by photographs of 19th-century Salvation Army bands, three movements from Christian Overhead’s vibrant portraiture in music, 5 Miniatures (both composed for A4 Brass), an arrangement by Jonathan Bates of José Serebrier’s vivacious Cuarteto, Bates’s own virtuosic Toccata 2, and Daniel Hall’s visceral take on a notorious Hollywood murder dubbed The Black Dahlia, which won the A4 Brass Quartet’s inaugural composition competition in 2018.
Lighter fare is provided by Elgar’s perennially popular Salut d’Amour, the ebullient Overture to Leonard Bernstein’s Candide, and three more arrangements by Bates: Percy Grainger’s dancing Molly on the Shore, the lovelorn jazz standard, Autumn Leaves, and Kentaro Sato’s tribute to victims of the 2011 earthquake and tsunami in Japan, Tsuna’ngari (‘connection’).
Euphonium player Chris Robertson provides striking arrangements of Bruckner’s beloved motet Locus iste, and Bartók’s Six Romanian Folk Dances that exploit the quartet’s distinctively individual signature.
On This Recording
José Serebrier (b. 1938) – Cuarteto (arr. J Bates)
- Overture to Candide (arr. D. Thomas)
- Toccata 2*
- Locus iste (arr. C Robertson)
- I Jocul cu bâtă (Stick Dance)
- II Brâul (Sash Dance)
- III Pe loc (Stamping Dance)
- IV Buciumeana (Horn Dance)
- V Poarga Românească (Romanian Polka) – VI Măruntel (Fast Dance)
- Autumn Leaves (arr. J Bates) a
- LR – A chirpy lark
- IM – A rhythmic interlude
- EJ – A boisterous fugue
- Molly on the Shore (arr. J Bates)
- The Black Dahlia *b
- Tsuna’ngari (arr. J Bates)
- I ♩=56 – In strict laid back time…
- II ♩=112 – Brazen
- III ♩=69 – Adagio, ‘The Silent Voices…’
- IV ♩=168 – Very Fast Indeed
- Salut d’Amour (arr. J Bates)
Leonard Bernstein (1918-90)
Jonathan Bates (b. 1995)
Béla Bartók (1881-1945) – Six Romanian Folk Dances (arr. C Robertson)
Joseph Kosma (1905-69)
Christian Overhead (b.1989) 5 Miniatures*
Percy Grainger (1882-1961)
Daniel Hall (b.1996)
Kentaro Sato (b.1981)
Bramwell Tovey (b.1953) – Street Songs*
Edward Elgar (1857-1934)
* First recordings
a Tenor horn soloist: Jonathan Bates
b 2018 A4 Brass Quartet Composition Competition Winner
“A4 Brass Quartet combines dazzling technique, a mix of new works and arrangements of popular classics, in an album that illustrates what makes the group the exciting brass ensemble they are. It’s their distinctive playlist that makes A4 Brass Quartet’s latest release Mosaic particularly special. … First, there’s an unfussiness to A4 Brass Quartet’s sound production that steers them away from any sentimentalising of the brass ensemble sound. … It’s a great achievement” –Jon Jacob, Thoroughly Good