Bring on the Brass (1991) Unless an introduction to brass instruments is your idea of a sizzling topic, you will probably find Bring on the Brass highly educational (read: nap… Hannaford Street Silver Band Leo McKern Kids and Family
Music Review

Bring on the Brass (1991)

EW's GRADE
B

Details Lead Performances: Hannaford Street Silver Band and Leo McKern; Genre: Kids and Family

Unless an introduction to brass instruments is your idea of a sizzling topic, you will probably find Bring on the Brass highly educational (read: nap time). However, you'll be awakened frequently by delightful music.

Leo McKern, known to PBS fans as the phlegmatic Rumpole of the Bailey in the eponymous series, narrates this 53-minute lesson with good humor, though not much real humor. But then there is not a lot of hilarity in the world of brass instruments, ''all of which are made of gold-colored or silver-colored metal. All of which have a bell-shaped opening at one end and a funnel-shaped mouthpiece at the other. And all of which are played by blowing into the mouthpiece while making a rapid buzzing with the lips.''

Edifying, but after 20 minutes of this stuff, my lips were making a rapid buzzing sound too: I was catching some Z's. I may have missed McKern's lectures on the history of horn, from the caveman's rough version to ''the flügelhorn [which] looks just like the B-flat cornet except that it's slightly larger.'' But I loved the musical demonstrations accompanying them. They include excerpts of ''The Impresario Overture'' and ''Stoptime Rag,'' as well as a peppy version of ''Bugler's Holiday,'' introduced skillfully by McKern. The Toronto-based Hannaford Street Silver Band adds the crisp, bouncy flavor of a traditional British brass band. If only the whole were as much fun as these parts, Bring on the Brass would be brassy indeed. B

Originally posted Mar 22, 1991 Published in issue #58 Mar 22, 1991 Order article reprints