Paul Gilson’s Lost Brass Masterpiece

Between 1894 and 1909, Belgian composer Paul Gilson penned a six-piece suite for large brass ensemble, La Fanfare Wagnérienne. These works were inspired by the model for brass instrumentation created by Richard Wagner with The Ring Cycle just decades prior. In terms of style and thematic elements La Fanfare Wagnérienne was certainly wide-ranging and was an achievement in the burgeoning brass genre, one of the first important compositions for brass. This suite was performed until 1912, and was subsequently lost in its original form for almost ninety years, until it was rediscovered and reconstructed by English trombonist and conductor Eric Crees.

Eric Crees is Principal Trombone at The Royal Opera House, Covent Garden, and served as director of London Symphony Orchestra Brass for many years regularly conducting them at the Barbican Centre. He laboriously researched the original Gilson manuscripts and wrote the individual parts, often for authentic but obsolete nineteenth-century Wagnerian horns (a process that he describes at length in his editorial procedure guide here). Crees conducted the first performance of this suite since 1912 with the Guildhall Brass Ensemble of the legendary and prestigious Guildhall School of Music and Drama, London, this album recorded in early 2011 in Guildhall Music Hall, the first time that these works have ever been recorded!

This suite will surely become a fixture of brass repertoire in the coming years, and this spectacular and rousing recording will stand as an important document in its history. The CD booklet contains a great deal more detail on the performers and the work itself, and much information and links to purchase this album can be found on the product page for this album by clicking store links below.