Steven Mead and musicians from the RNCM
Aces for Solo Euphonium and Brass Quintet* – Frank Gulino
Three Tango Sensations – Astor Piazzolla Arr. Matt Krening
i. Anxiety ii. Asleep iii. Fear
Set Adrift for Solo Euphonium and Electronics* – Thomas Kelly
Concertino for Euphonium and Brass Sextet* – Lee Jinjun
iPhonium for Euphonium and Electronic Sounds* – Roderick Skipp
Dream Times* – Hiroki Takahashi
Ave Maria – Astor Piazzolla Arr. Ioan Dobrinescu
Rhapsodia, Milan Fashion Show 2007* - Arr. Ray Knight
Dream Times has been in the planning for several years and many of the works are brand-new compositions, receiving their first performances, and new arrangements.
It has a theme of music and dreams, giving a fascinating feel to the CD. The Rhapsodia suite which ends the album, comes from a fashion show in which Steve was the guest soloist, in Milan in September 2007. With this we hear some funky variations on Gershwin's Rhapsody in Blue, that were arranged at the request of the Roberto Di Camerino fashion house! This is a brand new realisation of all the solo parts, 8 individual works, which will no doubt amaze all those who hear it !
The title track, Dream Times (anagram of Mister Mead), is a delightful light and at times highly virtuosic work, composed for euphonium and small wind/brass ensemble. With these two pieces we are in the lightest of moods, carefree and joyous.
With the three works by Piazzolla accompanied by string quartet, we delve into more deep human emotions and states, Anxiety, Sleep and Fear. The sound of the euphonium and strings has long been a dream for Steve, and here it is finally realised.
There are two brand-new works for brass ensemble, Aces, by Frank Gulino and Concertino by the young Singaporean composer Lee Jinjun, for brass quintet and brass sextet respectively. These highly optimistic works, with some exquisite lyrical moments, are sure to find their way into mainstream literature in the years to come.
Perhaps the darkest and most sinister 'dream' on the album is iPhonium by Roderick Skipp. With this work and most of the others there is a strong connection with the Royal Northern College of Music in Manchester where Steve is Professor of Euphonium. All the accompanying musicians are current leading performers at this school. The second piece with electronics, Set Adrift by Thomas Kelly was compose one of Steve students at the RNCM, Carina Lam.
When you listen to Ave Maria by Piazzolla we recoomend you pour yourself a glass of your favourite tipple and enjoy the sensuos 6 minutes of Steve playing his euphonium, accompanied by a large brass ensemble.
We hope you enjoy this stunning new album, and to all those of you who enjoy Steve's recording ...be sure to get this!!
It is released on the Bocchino Music label, catalogue BOCC124. Playing time 79 minutes
The presentation of this album is quite superb, with six panel digipak, complete with 16 page full-colour booklet, with lots of information on all the works.