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Delightful Renditions From A Very Fine Wind Ensemble.Dec 2 2009
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Whenever I think of nostalgic Americana I always think of Leroy Anderson in music and Norman Rockwell in art. Both men are beloved in their respected fields. I own many recordings of Leroy Anderson favorites performed by different orchestras, and I enjoy them all. The Naxos label has produced five enjoyable volumes of his music which I highly prize. Until purchasing this offering with the Keystone Wind Ensemble conducted by Jack Stamp, I hadn't owned any wind arrangements of Leroy Anderson's music. The 18 tracks (totaling 59:46 minutes) on this CD contain many of his well-known compositions (and a couple of lesser-known ones) in sparkling wind band arrangements. How interesting to hear the clarinets and flutes assume the role of the "wind strings". Their unique timbres add an interesting sound to these warhorses, and I say that with all due respect. The playing of the Keystone Wind Ensemble is polished and technically secure. At times I wished for a bit closer recorded presence of the band. For example, in track one ("Bugler's Holiday") I felt the accompaniment sounded a bit too distant in relationship to the excellent trumpet soloists. However in the majority of the tracks the recording engineers did a fine job capturing the band. One small regret is the rather short playing time of 59:46. There certainly was a good 15-19 minutes of recording space remaining on the CD that could have included such notable absentees as "The Syncopated Clock", "The Typewriter", "Fiddle-Faddle", etc. However I am thankful for what is included on the CD and will derive much pleasure from repeated hearings. A must buy.