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Touring German ensemble offer up brass from the past

by Mariko Kato

German Brass, one of the world’s top brass ensembles, will tour Japan Sept. 23-28. Ten experienced players perform together in a unique combination, showing off their effortless synchronization perfected over more than three decades and entertaining the audience with a wide and varied repertoire.

Formed in 1974, German Brass count leading players from Germany’s top symphony orchestras as members, and have more than 20 CDs and 20 DVDs to their name. Their formation is unusual, with four trumpets, two horns, three trombones and a tuba. The band’s inspiration lies in founder member, group leader and trombonist Enrique Crespo, who handles many of the arrangements.

On their Japan tour, German Brass present a breathless relay of various pieces. They handpick the most vivacious classical works, covering varied repertoire — from J.S. Bach and the Verdi opera “Aida” to Johann Strauss II’s feather-light “Tritsch-Tratsch Polka” and Liszt’s fiery “Hungarian Rhapsody.” The second section relaxes the mood, alternating between sultry Latin melodies and classic jazz tunes such as “Makin’ Whoopee” and Big Band swing numbers such as “Sing Sing Sing,” all arranged by Crespo.

German Brass will perform at White Cube, Miyagi on Sept. 23 (5.30 p.m., tel. [0224] 22-1290); MUZA Kawasaki Symphony Hall, Kawasaki on Sept. 24 (6 p.m., tel. [044] 520-0200); The Symphony Hall, Osaka on Sept. 26 (6.30 p.m., tel. [092] 714-2727); Tokyo Opera City Concert Hall, Tokyo on Sept. 28 (7 p.m., tel. [0570] 06-9960). Ticket prices vary.