The Guardian - November 2011

Subject: Ebony Band - Guardian 4 star review

Wolpe: Suite from the 20s; Martinu: Jazz Suite; Milhaud: La Création du Monde, etc – review

Ebony Band/Herbers
(Channel Classics)

    • Founded from among his colleagues by Werner Herbers, the former principal oboe of Amsterdam's Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra, the Ebony Band specialises in the music of lesser-known composers of the 1920s and 30s. Previous discs have been devoted to Graettinger, Schulhoff and Revueltas, while this collection brings together pieces from the 1920s that draw upon jazz. The nearest to a repertory work here is Milhaud's superb ballet score La Création du Monde, while at the opposite extreme, the Suite Americaine by Emil Frantisek Burian is not familiar at all. Pieces like Martinu's Jazz Suite easily absorb the American inflections into a neoclassical style, while Mátyás Seiber's two Jazzolettes, and the Stefan Wolpe pieces flirt with Schoenbergian serialism. It's a diverting collection and, as you'd expect of players from what is arguably the world's greatest orchestra, it's wonderfully well played, too.