CD: Spot On!Fabian Bloch – euphonium
SPOT ON! - The Next Generation of Euphonium Music
Fabian Bloch – euphonium
François Killian – piano
Michael Meinen – percussion
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In this new release Swiss euphonium player, Fabian Bloch, breaks new ground with an outstanding selection of no less than eight première recordings of new repertoire in a ‘jazz trio’ style.
He opens with François Killian’s Bogalusa. The cheeky syncopated rhythms, and nonchalant piano and drum kit accompaniment paint a delightfully nostalgic picture of the small Louisiana town famous for its jazz and blues. Composed by Bloch’s former euphonium colleague at Fairey Band, Jim Fieldhouse’s Vault reveals a sonorous tone in the expansive opening passages, followed by showcasing a considerable technical ability. Meanwhile, Blazing by Fabian Kunzli proves to be a fascinating, often mesmerising work, ranging from dance passages to mysterious moments of introversion.
Daniel Schnyder’s ATLAS concerto features as the major work of the disc. Inspired by the snowy mountain peaks of Marrakesh, the listener is transported to North Africa with driving, richly ornamented lines. The second movement creates an almost Indian atmosphere in its improvisatory feel and impressive range. The third evokes South America with its lively, dancing jazzy rhythms and features a notable extended cadenza.
The Latin America vibe continues with Ncore by Roland Szentpali. As this rousing, hip-swaying encore progresses, the listener almost forgets that the performer is playing euphonium and becomes absorbed in the perfectly captured style. Famous for his challenging euphonium concerto, Jukka Linkola’s new Euphonia is an extended two-movement work of epic proportions, contrasting energised funky passages and broad melody. Next, Daniel Hall offers a characteristically fascinating work, Wheeap!, inspired by jungle drum, bass and reggae delivered in a performance of pure energy! This continues in Andy Scott’s From This Earth, which explores the themes of courage and determination in a minimalist, yet spirited work. For an encore, Fabian Bloch switches to bass trumpet in a cheeky rendition of Daniel Schnyder’s 2005 work Karachi, which transports the listener to the Arabian Sea in a cascade of technical flourish.
Fabian Bloch has indisputably proved the potential of the euphonium in the ‘jazz trio’ setting through an outstanding level of performance and repertoire, which fuses traditional forms with a plethora of styles. Combined with excellent recording and understated, yet informative presentation, this innovative disc will have a lasting appeal for audiences, including those far beyond the brass band sphere.
This review appeared in the October 2019 edition of BBW. For more reviews, articles and news subscribe to BBW Digital, available to read online (annual subscription: £30), or subscribe to BBW's printed magazine delivered by post: £40 (UK); £68 (Europe); £81 (Rest of the World). Alternatively, receive both the Digital and printed editions combined: £55 (UK); £83 (Europe); £96 (rest of the world) - saving 50% on the Digital edition! Click here to subscribe!