Australian trumpet player Paul Terracini is an experienced soloist, chamber and orchestral musician, as well as a conductor and teacher. His decision to focus more on composition is borne out by the excellence of the five works for brass ensemble recorded here. The instrumentation is mostly trumpets/horns/trombones/tuba, with the two multi-movement works including timpani and percussion. The odd man out is the Exaudi Orationem Nostram for eight trumpets.
Gegensätze contrasts two sections, one lively, the other reflective. In Behind the Shining Door, based on one of Terracini’s choral works, a gentle trumpet melody with accompaniment builds to a climax before sliding into repose. If the outer movements of Concerto for Brass are portraits of a bustling contemporary world, its central movement, based on the medieval chant Pange Lingua, is a serene oasis of contemplation. Its cousin Exaudi Orationem Nostram is a ‘prayer’ in which a multi-faceted motif based on ascending and descending sixths picks up the light as it rolls onwards, delighting in its own beauty.
Winmalee Mourning was inspired by a bushfire that destroyed nearly 200 homes in the Blue Mountains village of Winmalee, west of Sydney, in 2013. The first movement, Inferno, paints a picture of paradise lost, a solo trumpet (Sydney Brass’ director Paul Goodchild) soaring over harmony and devastation alike. Aftermath is a dark lament dominated by Scott Kinmont’s solo trombone, while the third movement, Hope, combines both soloists before the rest of the ensemble return in celebratory mode. Conducted with terrific enthusiasm and authority by Terracini, Sydney Brass’s performances are as passionate and precise as one could wish for. The recording is state of the art.