Fringe preview: The History of Music

This article is from 2015

Fringe preview: The History of Music

From cavemen to conductors, Buzz Brass take us through key moments in musical history

An awful lot of sound was generated between pre-historic times and the 21st century. So when Montreal-based Buzz Brass was writing their show, The History of Music, they had to be very picky about what to include.

‘For every era there are works which are more relevant than others – that changed the way people thought about music,’ says Buzz Brass horn-player Pascal Lafrenière. ‘So we explored each era in that way, and chose works and composers because of their significant contribution to the history of music.’

Based in Montreal, the brass quintet is known for its musicianship, energy and sense of fun – especially when it came to putting together a show for families.

‘We are serious people who have found funny ways to demonstrate our knowledge and talent,’ says Lafrenière. ‘We wanted to share true facts regarding the history of western music (as opposed to music from far eastern countries) and make it a kind of battle between a conductor and his musicians.

‘That’s where the silliness comes in, as we pitch the role of the conductor (who is so convinced of his unquestionable mightiness) against the desire of the musicians to make good music and have fun being together.’

With classical, contemporary, jazz and blues all forming their regular repertoire, Buzz Brass has used a range of styles to take us through the years. And, on the odd occasion when finding something appropriate proved too challenging, they just made it up.

‘For a few parts of the show, where music was hard to find because of the many centuries between that time and ours, we had to invent a plausible way for the individuals to make music,’ explains Lafrenière. ‘Take the cavemen, for example – we can be pretty sure they didn’t tap dance around a fire, but it was a funny way to demonstrate they could put rhythmic structures together.’

New Town Theatre, 220 0143, 8–30 Aug (not 17 & 18), 1pm, £12--£14 (£10--£12); family £40 (£36). Previews 6 & 7 Aug, £7.

The History of Music

  • 3 stars

Buzz Brass Award-winning brass ensemble Buzz presents The History of Music, a fabulous theatrical odyssey that travels through space and time at a thrilling tempo to explore the music of the Western world from pre-historic times to the present day. Bursting with energy, astonishing originality, extraordinary musicianship…