From renditions of classical pieces to intricately crafted compositions, musical quintet Canadian Brass displayed a wide range of talent at the Ford Center on Oct. 8.
Over their 52 years of existence, the chamber group has received 2 Grammy nominations, 16 Juno nominations and received the German Echo Award for Goldberg Variations. Their newest album, “Canadiana,” showcases an array of Canadian superstars including Joni Mitchell, k.d. Lang, Bruce Cockburn, Drake and DeadMau5.
“If you said the Canadian Brass represented the ‘gold standard’ among brass quintets, you’d be right on the mark,” NPR music said. “Aside from performing on 24K gold-plated instruments, the group, led by its avuncular tuba master (and sole original member) Chuck Daellenbach, essentially put the idea of the brass quintet on the map.”
The ensemble takes pride in immersing audiences in a musical experience, hoping to ignite a passion for brass music that reverberates around the world. From “Penny Lane” to “Brandenburg No. 3,” Canadian Brass delighted its audience with a flawless interchange of phrases brimming with a sense of spontaneity and excitement.
To the surprise and delight of the audience, Jeff Nelsen’s golden horn erupted in a stream of flames. In a dixieland tuba feature titled “Tuba Tiger Rag,” Daellenbach accomplished the incredible feat of spinning his tuba 360 degrees while holding a single note.
“The hallmark of any Canadian Brass performance is entertainment, spontaneity, virtuosity and, most of all, fun — but never at the expense of the music,” Canadian Brass said on its website. “Whatever the style, the music is central and performed with utmost dedication, skill and excellence.”
Each piece was prefaced with anecdotes and personal accounts that added a layer of personality and connection to the concert.
“We’ve created ballets, played Carnegie Hall, toured China during its 1977 reopening and performed in front of five prime ministers, but most importantly, (we’ve) performed for more than 10 million friends, family and audiences worldwide so far,” Daellenbach said in the Ford Center program for the event.
Throughout the riveting performance, the musical group highlighted the importance of connection both among themselves and with the audience. The value and significance assigned to each member of the group was apparent as each performer presented virtuosic solos celebrated by the brass quintet.
As the nuanced timbres of each instrument combined, a uniform sound flooded the Ford Center and entranced the audience in an engrossing experience. The all-brass chamber group concluded the invigorating performance with a rendition of “Beale Street Blues” that struck a chord with the audience as they joined in the rousing melody.
“It is so rejuvenating to attend a classical music concert that is both of exceptional quality and entertaining for the audience,” said Bobby Onsby, a sophomore and music education major at the University of Mississippi.
Canadian Brass stands as the cornerstone of exploration and innovation in the art of brass music. By placing more than 1 million Canadian Brass quintet repertoire books in the hands of students from around the world, the ensemble actively promotes musical literacy and knowledge for a new generation.
“Education plays a key role in the story of Canadian Brass and each member is uniquely attuned to training the next generation of players,” said the Ford Center’s program and the group’s website. “On their travels around the world, they often pause for master classes and are more than happy to work with students and young audiences, said Canadian Brass.”
Following their performance, Canadian Brass held a master class on Friday at the David H. Nutt Auditorium and shared their expertise and professional experience with the University of Mississippi student brass quintet.