Harmonic Brass Performs For Sixth Time At Church Of Saints Peter And Paul In Jamestown

For the sixth time, the five members of Harmonic Brass found their way from their home base in Munich, Germany, to the Church of Saints Peter and Paul, in Jamestown, and as always, their performance was both technically excellent and at the same time, their good natured clowning-about was good for a million laughs.

The shape of the concert was in keeping with all their former performances. They began by processing down the church’s center aisle to Mouret’s ”Rondeau,” better known as the theme music from ”Masterpiece Theater,” Then played several demanding Baroque works. They ended with tubist Manfred Haberlein performing a work which displayed skill beyond nearly anyone’s imagination: in this case, the many variations of the theme ”Carnival of Venice,” a work usually performed on the more agile trumpet, yet he performs it with nary a clinker.

Throughout the first half, they play excellent music, much of which was written for different instrumentation, or in this case, for the human voice? After intermission, they retreat to the church’s organ gallery, above and behind the audience. There they play first grand music for organ and brass, and then two grandiose works arranged by Mack Wilberg for the Mormon Tabernacle Choir, with pipe organ at its fullest volume and density of tone, crashing cymbals, pounding tympani, and of course the commanding voices of the brass instruments, joining the singers.

Then, they conclude with humor.

The members of the quintet, in addition to Haberlein, are trumpeters Hans Zellner and Gergely Lukacs, hornist Andreas Binder, and trombonist Thomas Lux. Zellner has arranged most of the music in the program for brass quintet, and composed one of the grand organ and brass works. Binder is master of ceremony for most of the program.

A number of works on this season’s program were from opera. The two trumpeters performed the eloquent ”Flower Song,” from the opera ”Lakme,” by Delibes. Binder did an elaborate description of the quintet’s youngest member, and the group’s only non-German. Hungarian Lukacs was described as tall, slender, young, handsome, and unmarried. Binder described how the duet represented the love story of two flowers. He then glanced at the Zellner, and said in this case, he thought it was a love duet for a flower and a cactus.

A local choir, made up of the home church’s choir, plus volunteers from around the community, performed the Tabernacle Choir pieces. Donna Gatz was organist. Anne Dolce performed on French Horn, and Craig Ridgway and Brent Isaacson were percussionists.

Probably the most difficult ensemble work from the program was Ravel’s famed ”Bolero,” which they played entirely with five instrumental voices – a genuine achievement to astonish the public.

The group performed throughout with solid tone quality and perfect unison. Only near the very end of the performance did one begin to sense a bit of weariness from lips which had been puffing for two hours, with very little rest. In all, it was an excellent addition to our community, and an excellent example for local musicians of all types.