Corrections added by Brassworks 4 Publishing are in italics
Volume 37 Number 1 - Fall 2009
Scenes for Brass for brass quintet by Jack Cooper. Brassworks 4 Publishing, 461 Sunrise Pkwy, Farmington, N.M. 87401. www.brassworks4.com. BW488. 2007. Grade 6. $18.
Prodigious composer and arranger Jack Cooper, whose compositional credits include jazz ensemble, wind band, and Hollywood studio works, has turned his compositional skills to the brass quintet with Scenes for Brass. Cooper, a faculty member of the Rudi E. Scheidt School of Music at the University of Memphis, wrote Scenes for the Memphis Brass Quintet in 2007. His Sonata for Trombone is also available through Brassworks 4 and contains some of the same Latin and African dance influences as Scenes.
The tuba part ranges from EE-flat to e-flat1 and begins with a solo covering nearly all of that range. All parts and score are computer-generated and easy to read. Scenes for Brass is in five movements entitled “Fanfare,” “Somberly,” “Fugue,” “Shapes, Forms, Shadows,” and “Naningo/Afro-Latin.” This is an extremely difficult modern work that is likely to be accessible only to professional or highly motivated collegiate brass quintets. It will require formidable range and endurance from all members of the quintet, as well as willingness to improvise and perform in varying styles. There is much to be gained by an ensemble in working up a piece of this complexity, but some audiences may find the modern harmonies and rhythmic layering challenging. Brassworks 4 has graciously provided pdfs of the first page of each movement on their website. Interested quintets are encouraged to take a look at these sample pages to help decide if the piece will be accessible to both the players and the intended audience.
~T.J. Ricer, Doctoral Sudent, Eastman School of Music