Music Web International, June 2013: ”The brass ensemble plays marvelously throughout, especially in slower, more introspective selections. […] This is a highly polished modern brass quintet playing Renaissance arrangements with solemn precision and occasional dancing exuberance. The recorded sound’s terrific and the project is well-documented.”
The brass quintet as we know it is a modern constellation, but ensembles of wind instruments, involving shawms and sackbuts, were a staple before the Renaissance had even begun. Every princely court had its players, and soon every decent-sized town across Europe would follow.
The music that such groups played would have varied from the ceremonial to more lightweight material, such as popular dances and settings of chansons. Arrangements of music of this kind still form an important part of the repertoire of most brass ensembles, including Stockholm Chamber Brass. Having earned international recognition for their several recordings of resolutely contemporary works, the five members here return to their roots, in a varied programme which mixes dances from Tielman Susato's famous Danserye collection, lute pieces by John Dowland, five-part madrigals by Carlo Gesualdo and excerpts from operas by Monteverdi.
The disc opens with a fiery version of Francisco de la Torre's Danza alta sobre La Spagna, with trumpets that seem to announcing the start of a joust – the same trumpets that in Pur ti miro, the closing love duet from Monteverdi’s L'incoronazione de Poppea, express the most tender feelings for each other. A set of French chansons includes the drinking-song Tourdion, a perennial favourite, while the melancholy of Dowland's Lachrimae is clothed in the mellowest sounds imaginable.
The arrangements are by present and former members of the Stockholm Chamber Brass as well as by musicians with whom they have collaborated closely, including the trombone virtuoso Christian Lindberg.