First Brass Live

First Brass was conceived as a studio project, that is, it was never meant to be performed in live concerts. As Allan Botschinsky says in an interview, "It was not the idea to give performances", and consequently he wrote for four excellent musicians, who created the special "First Brass Sound" through overdubbing up to four times to fully perform the 12 to 18 voice arrangements. No one ever really thought that one could find enough musicians of such a high calibre, to present the First Brass repertoire in a live concert situation. But it seems to be "the nature of the beast" with most brass players, that they can't resist a challenge.

So in the autumn of 1998, the impossible was about to happen: The First Brass Soloists were invited to play in Norway at the Sandvika Storbands Festival. Allan recalls, "That came out much better than I expected ... Norway has a solid tradition of brass music and the organisers managed to assemble many of Oslo's leading brass players, from both the classical and the jazz world. Birger Carlsen the festival organiser (whose idea it was to make this happen) and I had many a drink that night after that first live concert was over ... "

The Be Brassy convention, held in Rotterdam from 18th to the 20th of May, 2001, through the auspices of the Rotterdam Philharmonic Orchestra, has now once more arranged a concert with the First Brass soloists, accompanied by the Marine Brass Band of the Royal Netherlands Navy, a highly respected ensemble.

Derek Watkins, a key figure in the London music scene, has recently discussed with Allan Botschinsky a plan to arrange a concert of First Brass music in one of London's concert halls. He plans to invite an ensemble of the best players in England, which has a very lively brass music tradition. Hopefully this concert will be presented some time in 2002.

The arrangements, which Botschinsky wrote for his friends, require an outstanding virtuosity from the players, not only in extremes of range and articulation but in creating a wide range of colours using the traditional brass instruments. For this reason, it will always be a momentous event when First Brass is performed live. We can only hope that this will happen more often from now on, and that many brass lovers will have the chance to experience FIRST BRASS LIVE.