Review

Jan Van der Roost on the recording : " Highly recommended, it immediately tastes morish"
 
Old and new, familiar and adventurous, known and unknown,… it is all included on this brand new recording, to the honour of a rising star in the Flemish Brassband Movement : "Noord-Limburgse Brass Band"!  Having David Thornton as an eye-catcher soloist and a brassband classic like St. Magnus of K. Downie, the most the familiar standard repertoire is immediately represented.  Besides this less common compositions are included, with the title track, a brand new commissioned work from the hand of Kevin Houben: Abbaddon!  Reasons abound to give this recording all the attention it deserves, not only because the repertoire is interesting and original, but mainly because of the quality of the performances and the recording.  But hey, what to expect with an MD like Ivan Meylemans in charge and Jan Hadermann behind the mixing panel.  Highly recommended: the adrenaline will flow when listening to this new recording: It immediately tastes morish ! "

Kevin Houben on the recording : "A must have Recording"

Everything taken into consideration the recording is fresh, surprising with a great atmosphere, for a very broad audience.  Both brass band enthusiasts as the general audience, that has not yet discovered the banding world, will enjoy this must have recording once in their CD collection.

Kevin Houben over Abaddon : "Noordlimburgse tamed the Abaddon "beast""

NLBB succeeded in taming the "beast" named Abaddon in just one day of recording.  The energetic, broad, technically loaded and dynamic wild passages  continue to surprise the listener and touch their emotion.  The quiet middle section sounds spacious with top performances from the many soloists and special effects in percussion.  Bravo !

Peter Meechan on Origins : "This is a recording I will treasure, and will enjoy listening to again and again"

"This premiere recording of Origins is delivered with such artistry - hardly a surprise when you consider the quality and abilities of the band, conductor and soloist involved. The sense of musical balance achieved is a real treat for a composer to hear; the combination of drama and delicacy in the band accompaniment are skilfully woven by [conductor] Ivan Meylemans, and David Thornton's solo lines are performed with such precision and musical nuance that this is a recording I will treasure, and will enjoy listening to again and again. Thanks so much Dave, Ivan and NLBB - Bravo!"

4barsrest : "All in all it adds up to a release that confirms Noord-Limburgse and their MD as a musical partnership of significant heavyweight musical substance and enjoyment"

The hugely positive impact of Noord-Limburgse Brass Band on the European contesting scene in recent years has certainly added an extra dimension to the competitive excellence of a Belgian brass band movement that continues to grow in impressive maturity.

Rubber stamp

Under the remarkable Ivan Meylemans, the band from the north Belgian province that bears its name has become the latest major championship contender more than capable of taking on, and beating the very best in the world: In partuclar, their performances at the 2012 Europeans in Rotterdam rubber stamped their elite credentials. 

This high quality release adds further weight of substance to that contesting pedigree.

Imposing

The major works performed with such imposing musicality may well be religiously inspired - but these particular biographical lives of the dark angel ‘Abaddon’ and the kindly ‘Saint Magnus’ could well have been penned by Stephen King and Enid Blyton, let alone Kevin Houben and Kenneth Downie.

Visceral

Houben’s viscerally dramatic portrait is that of a lost, despising soul - destined by heavenly expulsion to forever lead those who have made a pact with the Devil on trips around the less salubrious mystical bogs of the Limburgse forests: A bit like Dorian Gray meeting up with a cross between Caliban and George Michael. 

It’s cracking stuff; an unworldly, chimera of a piece, imbued with a sense of foreboding and tension, as if at any time Abaddon will simply relish the chance to push the last vestiges of humanity that linger in the spirit of his poor travelling companion, into hell’s abyss.  It also bears the unmistakable mark - not of 666, but of a very good test piece. 

Optimism

In contrast, ‘St Magnus’ is portrayed with such an optimistic lightness of touch that it is an almost evangelical interpretation of such a demanding, brow beating score. The complex layers of detail and dislocated rhythmic structures are seamlessly blended, with a sense of purpose and drive allowing the performance to find a naturally inspired climax of hope and glory.

Rare gift

The MDs ability to elicit such diverse stylistic playing from his talented band is a rare gift - one that is shown amply with the tender lyricism of ‘The Water is Wide’ and the polished brio of ‘Temple 125’, whilst the accompaniment to Turrin’s playful ‘Fandango’duet makes for a subtle complement rather than a more distant nod of appreciation to the excellent Pieter Houben and Lode Smeets.

Suffice to say, David Thornton is on the very top of his form with Peter Meechan’s‘Origins’ euphonium concerto; performing such a demanding work with rare artistry.   

Camp gangland

It leaves just enough time for a bobby dazzler ‘Grand Fanfare’ - which seems to bounce with glee between the musical cowboy country of 1890’s West Virginia and the camp gangland of 1950’s ‘West Side Story’, and Jan Van Der Roost’s more seriously intoned ‘Trittico Festoso’, which is delivered with stentorian fortitude. 

All in all it adds up to a release that confirms Noord-Limburgse and their MD as a musical partnership of significant heavyweight musical substance and enjoyment. 

Iwan Fox