Gaudete Brass Chicago Moves | Album review
Hometown quintet adds local color on its latest.
As living composers focus largely on works for mixed ensemble, orchestra and soloists, Chicago’s Gaudete Brass is helping to ensure that the noble brass quintet is not left behind. The group’s latest, Chicago Moves, is stacked with mostly new commissions.
The album’s titular work is also its most illustrative. A 2011 Gaudete commission from New Jersey–based composer David Sampson, “Chicago Moves” evokes the concord of structural elements around Grant Park, a solipsistic amble through the Loop, a glide down Lake Shore Drive and the multidimensional driving experience of the Spaghetti Bowl. Here, the quintet displays some of its most deft ensemble work.
Chicago Moves lives resolutely in the tonal realm of new music. Slight, though prevalent, intonation imperfections are the only tarnish on otherwise excellent performances of Stacy Garrop’s “Helios,” Brian Baxter’s “A Great Commercial City,” John Cheetham’s “Sonata for Brass Quintet” and James Woodward’s “Gaudete.” On album standouts “Brass,” by Rob Deemer, and Joan Tower’s “Copperwave,” Gaudete’s delivery is sumptuous and lucid, displaying what is most remarkable about the ensemble: individual player prowess convincingly consolidated into a pentagram of tonal color.