Baroque Brass of London (= BBL) is without rival in presenting brass music of the 16th, 17th and 18th Centuries on period instruments. The experience of Baroque Brass of London's players is unmatched as all are members of Europe's leading early music ensembles.
Brass instruments hold a prominent place in European musical tradition. Baroque Brass acknowledges a particular debt to David Munrow (1942-1976) the musicologist and distinguished performer largely responsible for the revival of early wind instruments.
The group consists of natural trumpets, cornetts, sackbuts, timpani, percussion and continuo. The trumpets use natural harmonics; the cornett was always valued for its resemblance to the human voice; the sackbut (precursor of the trombone) is soft and warm while the timpani tone is fresher and drier than its modern counterpart. The sound of the ensemble is, as might be expected, bright and pure in the larger ceremonial music and soft and supple in the smaller pieces. Baroque Brass creates a spectacular effect in the open air and in larger venues such as cathedrals. In contrast, it offers chamber music programmes in more intimate halls, such as those in palaces and castles, for example, where much of the repertoire was first performed.
Baroque Brass of London presents programmes ranging from solo trumpet fanfares to large-scale polychoral works. The repertoire covers Purcell, Monteverdi, Gabrieli, Frescobaldi, Orlando di Lasso, Biber, Dietrich Buxtehude and lesser-known masters of the genre.
The group has performed at many of the world’s great music festivals including the York Early Music Festival in the UK, the Flanders Festival in Belgium, the Macau Festival in South East Asia, the opening concert of Southern Ireland’s International Music Festival at Kilkenny in the presence of the Irish President (1997), the Krakow International Music Festival in Poland and collaborating with the Thomanerchor Leipzig on their first visit to the UK. for the City of London. In 1998 Baroque Brass was invited to perform the opening concert at the world-famous Seville International Festival in Spain which was followed by a recital with special guest solo-organist, Ryoko Morooka. This collaboration with Ryoko Morooka has continued with two highly successful tours of Japan (1999, 2001) plus further upcoming engagements in Japan as well as Germany and Italy.
Baroque Brass of London regularly works in collaboration with other instrumental and vocal groups and is always seeking new creative partnerships and challenges.
Baroque Brass of London and its members are well established in the recording field with releases on most of the major record labels including “Purcell’s Funeral Music” (Decca), “Festival Mass for the Viennese Imperial Court” (Pickwick), J.S. Bach’s Suites (Deutsche Gramophon) with The English Concert, “Carols for Christmas” (EMI), Brandenburg Second Concerto and the Haydn Trumpet Concerto (Deutsche Gramophon) with The English Concert, Cantata BWV 118 by J.S. Bach (Philips) in collaboration with Thomanerchor Leipzig (conducted by the Georg Christoph Biller, Kantor of St. Thomas’s - a position held by J.S. Bach during his most prolific period). Baroque Brass’s latest recording “Kings Queens and Princes” was produced to commemorate its first solo tour of Japan and includes many important solo and ensemble pieces in the brass repertoire plus solo organ pieces.
The Directors of Baroque Brass of London are Robert Howes and Michael Laird