Beethoven transformed

Beethoven TransformedVolume 1
Chamber Music for Harmonie
Boxwood & Brass
Resonus Classics RES10249, 61’40


Beethoven arr. Czerny: Septet Op.20
Beethoven: Sextet Op.71

Beethoven Transformed is a two-year project by Boxwood & Brass exploring wind music in early 19th-century Vienna and, in particular, the rearrangement of Beethoven’s music by other composers for Harmonie (wind band). What are today considered as venerated ‘masterpieces’ were treated with considerable liberty in such arrangements. This recording also throws some welcome light on the world of Harmonie, the wind bands so popular in central Europe, notably in Vienna, but little known today outside that area. Just listening to the first few moments of Beethoven’s Op.20 Septet opens up a world of exotic instrumental colour and texture that relies on the use of period instruments. Continue reading

Boxwood & Brass

Discovering Harmoniemusik
Boxwood & Brass
The Arts Club, Waterloo. 18 October 2017

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In a dual exercise of launching their 2017/18 programmes combined with trying out a possible venue for small-scale musical events, the innovative wind-music group Boxwood & Brass held a ‘Harmoniemusik Discover Evening’ in the 1901 Arts Club (in the fascinating hinterland of Waterloo station), a former schoolmasters house now converted to an events venue in the style of a late 19th century saloon. The six members of Boxwood & Brass played music by Mozart and Beethoven, starting with their own arrangement of the opening Allegro of Mozart’s 1782 Serenade in C minor (K.388, aka Nacht Musique), the two original oboe parts redistributed amongst the pairs of clarinets, horns and bassoons of their evening’s line-up. Mozart had made his own arrangement, for string quintet. This curious work is some way from the usual style of a Serenade, being far more musically intense and written in a minor key. In the intimate space, the complexity of the writing was prominent, as was the distinctive colour of the Harmoniemusik instruments.  Continue reading

Boxwood & Brass: Divertimenti for Cognoscenti

Divertimenti for Cognoscenti
Boxwood & Brass
St Peter’s, Streatham. 15 September 2015

The imaginatively named group Boxwood & Brass specialise in Harmoniemusik (for wind instruments) from the two or three decades either side of 1800. This is a fascinating and, with the exception clarinetsof some Mozart examples, a relatively unknown repertoire. The Harmonie usually described an ensemble of up to fifteen players, generally with pairs of oboes, clarinets, horns and bassoons, sometimes supplemented by a wide range of other instruments. With its roots in Viennese saloon and Imperial music, a parallel tradition was growing in France through military and revolutionary bands. Apparently there are some 12,000 works for the Harmonie band. Continue reading