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Issue 6110

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A RISING STAR - BB meets Flowers and NYBBGB cornetist, Luke Barker

Four of a kind

Tuesday 7 September, 2021

 

The A4 Brass Quartet is not afraid to forge its own path. The innovative ensemble has garnered a reputation for bringing high quality brass music making to new audiences, breaking down barriers and challenging perceptions along the way.

British Bandsman editor Mark Good chats to quartet member Jonathan Bates about the release of second studio album, Mosaic, and the ensemble’s journey from humble beginnings to chamber music stardom.

 

The A4 Brass Quartet’s new album is entitled Mosaic, available on the Somm Recordings label. It features an eclectic mix of repertoire from the likes of Bruckner, Bernstein, Bartók and Bramwell Tovey among those featured. How did you come to choose what to include on the album?

JB: A lot of it came down to what we recorded on our first album, Mist of the Mountains, which came out a few years ago. We are a brass band ensemble, made up of brass band players, but we don’t want to tie ourselves down to the stereotypes which often exist in the wider musical world, which are quite wrong. If you are going to pitch yourself into a new market, you have to go along a certain route.

Our first album was entirely new commissions, largely major works from composers such as Thomas Doss, Tom Harrold and a few composers outside the brass band movement, so it was quite a heavy album. When you come to an A4 Quartet concert, we feature a couple of larger works but generally speaking, we try to tick every box. That’s what this album is, a response to our first album and it’s more of what you might expect to hear in our concerts. One of the tracks is Tsuna ’ngari, by Kentaro Sato, and most of the time, no one in the audience has heard it until we play it. They always come up at the interval and say they love it.

 

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