Review


Jeff Frost
Five Short Pieces for Brass Quintet:: Bald Eagle March, Fanfare, Fantasy, The Journey, Old City Gate
Brass Quintet

Bradford-on-Avon, , , United Kingdom
Publisher: Wiltshire Music Company
Date of Publication: 2014
URL: http://www.wiltshiremusic.com

Score and parts.

Genre: BRASS ENSEMBLES

Jeff Frost has received degrees in general math and works as a machinist, steam locomotive mechanic, and engineer. He currently plays trombone in local community groups in Lancaster, PA. These five short pieces for brass quintet are similar in texture, harmony, and style. They use traditional harmonic techniques and can best be described as neo-classical. However, some of the voice leading and unusual intervals break standard conventions of the classical era and sound out of style. Considering the melodic structure of the works, it seems that these pieces were composed contrapuntally. It is rare to see a line that is not written outside of second species, i.e., two notes against one note, and that makes the works sound uninteresting after a few measures. All are framed in common meter except for Bald Eagle March, which uses 6/8 meter. Melodic lines will often stretch for 16 bars or more without giving the musician an opportunity for breath. While these pieces could be approachable for high school or amateur level groups, the first trumpet part is written in a higher tessitura than most high school students will find comfortable. Minimal style, phrase, articulation, and dynamic markings are given leaving the performer with less information than desired to form an interpretation of each work and no descriptive information about these works can be found on the publisher’s website. It is hard to imagine how the titles of the works represent the music without some sort of description. Considering the vast amount of high quality traditional brass quintet repertoire and arrangements that are available, I am not sure this work contributes anything new to the repertoire. Some may find this music charming but it has little performance or pedagogical value. Not recommended.

Reviewer: Tom Macaluso
Review Published January 31, 2019