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.