Music review: Pure Brass
Edinburgh International Festival Scotsman review: Pure Brass at The Hub, reviewed by David Kettle
What better way to announce the start of a major new addition to the Edinburgh International Festival’s music programme than with thrilling trumpet fanfares and towering, glowing brass harmonies? Teaming up with Live Music Now, the charity set up in 1977 by Yehudi Menuhin to bring classical concerts to neglected sections of the community, the EIF is showcasing 12 emerging performers and ensembles in informal concerts at the converted café at its Hub headquarters below the Castle.
For its inaugural late-night event, for anyone who managed to fight their way through the Tattoo queues to get in, Scottish-based quintet Pure Brass gave a thrilling and enjoyable recital that took in the weird and wonderful as well as the fun and funky. It helped the relaxed atmosphere that each of the players gave an introduction to the pieces – and trumpeter Ian Archibald was a natural showman, sharing quips and asides with the audience. And although the quintet took a few pieces to get into their stride, when they did, they were on sparkling form, whether in glowing Bach and Farnaby or the intricacies of Malcolm Arnold’s Brass Quintet No 1.
They turned the strange extended techniques of Berio’s Call into something truly musical, and Lutoslawski’s Mini Overture was a masterpiece of sharp precision. A few jazzy numbers – including Michael B Nelson’s Fat Lip, during which trombonist Gordon Seith slowly dismantled his instrument – rounded off a satisfyingly varied concert.
Originally published in The Scotsman