Monday, January 19, 2009

In Review--Sublime Horns

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Federico Mondelci

Favorite Italian Movie

The Tiptons Sax Quartet

Laws of Motion
independent release

Also mentioned:

Spanish Brass & Italian Saxophone Quartet

Although I have been listening to horn music for most of my life, (as we all have), only recently have I noticed its healing power. One reason I find horn ensemble music in particular healing is that these ensembles cover low, medium and high ranges, thus creating a wonderful avenue to balance chakras. The Italian Saxophone Quartet, one of its founders, Federico Mondelci and Spanish Brass perform a variety of genres from Italian movie music, early, classical, and jazz. While The Tiptons Sax Quartet covers various shades of jazz and world music, including its rousing traditional Gypsy Rom Yugo A Go Go.

Saxophone virtuoso Federico Mondelci teams up with the Moscow Chamber Orchestra and conductor Costantine Orbelian on the recording Favorite Italian Movie Music. Mondelci performs a range of moods on his instrument as he explores movie music by Ennio Morricone and Nino Rota (of Fellini fame), as well as, original composition, Four Pictures from New York by Roberto Molinelli on this recording. The music is wonderful for relaxing, but it also provokes whimsical feelings.

Hailing from Seattle and New York City, the all-woman The Tiptons Sax Quartet have proven themselves to be watertight on recordings and in live performances. The women sing and play saxophones (alto, tenor and baritone), and Amy Denio also doubles on clarinet. The quartet composes intriguing original work which they combine with gypsy music and they toss in one of the Italian a cappella ensemble Faraualla's songs on their CD, Laws of Motion.

The music on that recording possesses too much verve and energy to be used for relaxation purposes. It works better as wake up music or perhaps used as a musical coffee break. The music on the recording work both sides of the brain since it combines analytical thought with flowing lyricism, depending on the track.

Spanish Brass has several recordings and DVDs available in Europe, but none in the States yet. However, this ensemble which includes tuba, French horn, trumpet and trombone are touring the United States this winter. The musicians, all virtuosos, perform everything from Bach to Mancini with an emphasis on the works of Spanish composers. The ensemble's repertoire might just lead you back to your carefree childhood days. And the music although sophisticated, appeals to children and adults.

I don't know if the Italian Saxophone Quartet has recordings available in the U.S., but it is worth looking into. The quartet records for the Delos label so it is likely that you can pick up one of their CDs in the U.S. Similar to Spanish Brass, this quartet performs a similar repertoire plus the musicians have re-arranged Astor Piazzolla's repertoire for saxophones with spectacular results. Similar to Spanish Brass and Federico Mondelci, you will find the theme for Fellini's "8 1/2" in this ensemble's repertoire.

For more information, check out the following websites: