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Issue 6103

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TIME CAPSULE - Sandy Smith on a magical moment in time for Black Dyke

A4 Brass Quartet album on the horizon

Thursday 24 June, 2021

One of the most dynamic chamber brass ensembles around today is preparing to launch its latest album.

The A4 Brass Quartet will release Mosaic, on SOMM Recordings, on August 20, featuring new music, arrangements of well-known works and audience favourites. 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 (composed for A4 Brass); an arrangement by Jonathan Bates of José Serebrier’s vivacious Cuarteto.

Also featuring are Bates’ 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 popular Salut d’Amour; the 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. 

Formed in 2013 at Manchester’s Royal Northern College of Music, A4 Brass Quartet comprises principal players from bands including Black Dyke, Foden’s and Brighouse and Rastrick. The ensemble consists of Jamie Smith (cornet), Jonathan Bates (tenor horn), Mike Cavanagh (baritone) and Chris Robertson (euphonium).