Brassy Renaissance

Canadian Brass records 17th-century Italian masterworks in Toronto.

By Leanne Wright


Brass on Tour.

Canadian Brass are as tight personally as they are musically. Daellenbach, ever the leader, rises to give Jeff a supportive embrace. Trumpeter Joe Burgstaller follows. Nelsen gathers himself together to complete the piece, then leaves for the remainder of the afternoon. Van Winkle will dub him in later. We won’t be able to tell....

As the sun sets, the church darkens and becomes a more intimate place. Everyone is thrilled to see Nelsen walk in with a wave and brave smile, ready to tackle the Monteverdi, whose more dramatic and rhythmically progressive music proves to be the biggest challenge of the day. As fatigue sets in, Joe pops an Advil, Jeff rocks in his chair, Brandon shuffles his Pumas, and Chuck, true to form, cracks a joke. Mary Beth tries to refocus the group and smirks, “Chuck will do that when he’s not getting enough attention. Sometimes he’ll joke, other times he’ll just lie down on the floor and play an extra-extra-extra long note.” Thanks to dedication, virtuosity, mutual encouragement and perhaps the spicy rice effect, they get through Take 26. After twelve hours, it’s a wrap.