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Back from Oblivion

Nick Byrne (Ophicleide)

David Miller (Piano)

Composer(s):  Various
Catalogue Number:  MR301111
"Byrne’s playing shows the instrument in the best possible light, complemented by the exceptionally natural sounding recording..." International Tuba Euphonium Association Journal (US)
"you will greatly enjoy this album... lovely collaboration ... fine recorded sound." American Record Guide (US)
"This disc is full of great amazing, and gets the highest recommendation from Just For Brass." Just for Brass (US)
"a wonderful CD... superb musicality... a great and diverse program played by a great artist. Bravissimo Nick Byrne!" Bomaestro Blogspot (Japan)
"a first-class production, with gorgeous recording acoustics, and stylish and masterful playing... to own and enjoy repeatedly." Historic Brass Society (US)

Nick Byrne plays the ophicleide, one of the most curious of all musical instruments, stepping it back into the spotlight to dazzle and delight again after a century of silent neglect.

The ophicleide – once an essential element of any self-respecting orchestra in the era of Wagner, Berlioz, Mendelssohn, Verdi and Meyerbeer, all of whom wrote for the instrument – may look like an anorexic tuba, but it has a sound that one contemporary critic approvingly described as 'immense' with a 'rich and round tone' that 'proved eminently serviceable in the choruses, and wherever strength was required'.

Melba Recordings' Back from Oblivion showcases the expressive qualities of the ophicleide in a compelling recital from two of Australia’s most distinguished  musicians: Sydney Symphony trombonist Nick Byrne and one of Australia’s leading chamber musicians and accompanists, David Miller AM.

Invented in the early 19th Century, the ophicleide – its name translates as 'serpent with keys' – is a brass instrument described by George Bernard Shaw as 'a giant keyed bugle'. At the time it was thought 'destined to operate a great change in the constitution of the orchestra' but was subsequently replaced by the tuba and euphonium.

With a distinctively expressive, almost vocal, sound very much its own, the particular attractions of the ophicleide are celebrated in Back from Oblivion, a colourful and compelling new recital from a recognised specialist on the instrument.  An impressively wide array of composers is featured on a recording that begins with the virtuosic flourish of Handel’s O Ruddier than the Cherry, a work that shows off the ophicleide’s range and flexibility in bravura style. Among the highlights that follow are transcriptions of vocal music by Grieg and Rachmaninov and a rip of truly hypnotic pieces written especially for the instrument: Kaspar Kummer’s all too rarely heard Variations for Ophicleide, Hyacinthe Eléonore Klosé’s Air varié and Diedonné Dagnelies’s Fantaisie variée.

Add to the mix music by Elgar, Astor Piazzolla and the Adagio from Simon Proctor’s astonishing Ophicleide Concerto which exploits to extravagant effect the extensive range of the instrument and you have a disc unlike any other you have ever heard.
Showing off the ophicleide to truly surprising effect is Nick Byrne, an internationally recognised expert with the instrument who can claim to have given the first full ophicleide recital in the Southern Hemisphere at the 2003 Melbourne International Festival of Brass.

This CD was produced with the kind support of the Berlioz Historical Brass

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Back from Oblivion

Track Listing

1 Fantasie Variée (Dagnelies) 12:18 Preview $3.60    Buy
2 Adagio, from Ophicleide Concerto (Proctor) 7:12 Preview $2.40    Buy
3 Introduction et Polonaise, Op.30 (Demersseman) 8:24 Preview $2.40    Buy
4 Romance ,Op.62 (Elgar) 5:11 Preview $2.40    Buy
5 Variations for Ophicleide (Kummer) 7:45 Preview $2.40    Buy
6 Vocalise, Op.34 (Rachmaninov ,1912) 3:51 Preview $1.20    Buy
7 O Ruddier than the Cherry (Handel, 1718) 2:52 Preview $1.20    Buy
8 Ich Liebe Dich (Grieg) 2:20 Preview $1.20    Buy
9 Air Varié, Op. 21 (Klose) 11:51 Preview $3.60    Buy
10 Oblivion (Piazzolla) 4:35 Preview $1.20    Buy
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Melba has collaborated with virtuoso wind player Nick Byrne to bring the sounds of the ophicleide to twenty-first century music lovers. Berlioz and Meyerbeer in France, and Mendelssohn and Wagner in...