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CD: Gary Curtin - Eire Time

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ID:	8054In the connected world we live in one has a chance to hear many different, talented euphonium players from all over the world. There is YouTube, of course, but I prefer to have "hard copy" for any music I want to be sure I can still access years from now. Fortunately, there are many great euphonium CD's available now, and ordering from overseas or from the specialty shops we have in our own country is a simple matter.

Recently it has been my great pleasure to listen to a new CD from Gary Curtin: "Eire Time." Along with Gary's talents we have the additional pleasure of the Foden's Band's... Hmm. The word I would normally use to talk about the band's role would be "accompaniment," but that is not the right word for this effort. This is what I would call a joint performance by Curtin/Foden's and the result is outstanding! From force of habit I began listening to this for the solo playing but I was soon drawn in by the band in a deeper way than usual, which enabled me to get the full effect of this performance.

The program is nicely varied, and it is hard to say which piece is the most impressive. The first song you hear if you play the CD normally is the title song, Eire Time. According to Ancestry.com I have a wee bit of Irish blood, so perhaps that is why my listening experience started off so enjoyably. Eire Time has an Irish feel about it, and of course was very well played. I was truly taken by the 3-movement concerto "Cantiphonia" for its wonderful use of both the euphonium and the brass band. The richness of the band could have made for balance problems, but Gary seemed to have the right amount of presence throughout. In "Carnival of Venus" (and a couple other places) you will hear some jaw-dropping flexibility in passages not covered in Arban's interval studies.

Looking at the notes in the program booklet (shown graphically in this review) you can get a feel for the scope of this CD, partly because the booklet divides the music into three "types": The Virtuoso, The Lyrical Beauty, and The Consummate Musician.

I've received permission to include a few audio samples, and I tried to show you some of the variety in style. However, you need to hear the CD to really appreciate the scope. And it is in that scope that I was so impressed with Gary. He has a sound that is very much in the type I personally prefer, he has awesome technique, and he has the ability to present each piece with the proper musical approach. He demonstrates the full range of the instrument, well beyond what you will find in any euphonium method book and reaching the outer limits of our current understanding of a euphonium's capabilities. He uses vibrato effectively and with sensitivity to the needs of each passage. His projection seems to be powerful, although I can't judge that very well from a recording. Suffice to say that the balance here is just fine. Gary presents a color that is warm when needed and aggressive when needed. His flexibility is simply astounding, and he has several chances to demonstrate this.

There is one big surprise on the CD, and shows an entirely different side of Gary's talents. It is on the track "Get Here If You Can" (written by Brenda Russell). Mr. Curtin is the vocalist on this pop ballad, and he is quite convincing as a singer. There's something you won't find on every euphonium CD!

Congratulations to Gary Curtin, Foden's Band, and to the band's conductor Michael Fowles! You have created a very noteworthy CD, and I encourage anyone reading this article to get your own copy.

If you would like to purchase one, contact Gary via Facebook messenger, or on www.garycurtin.com.

Sound Samples:

1. The Water Is Wide

2. Cantiphonia

3. Vallflickans Dans

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Updated 12-01-2020 at 08:57 AM by davewerden

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Euphonium-Tuba Blog , General Tuba-Euphonium Blog

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