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1 Jubiläumsklänge - MarschpolkaI Jubilee Sounds - march-polka
(Peter Schad)

2 Elbländer Polka I Elblanders Polka
(Robin Kürschner / lyrics: Conrad Wecke)
vocals: Corina Voigt and Jan Schmaglowski

3 Schönes Prag - MarschI Beautiful Prague - march
(Frantisek Kmoch, arranger: Walter Tuschla)

4 Polka for Two - solos for flugelhorn and tenor horn
(Peter Schad)
soloists: Lukas Stolz, Robin Kürschner

5 Böhmischer Wind - Walzer I Bohemian Wind - waltz
(Ernst Mosch, arranger: Gerald Weinkopf / lyrics: Bruno Zwinger)
vocals: Corina Voigt and Jan Schmaglowski

6 Für unsere Kameraden I Pro kamaráda - Polka I For Our Comrades - polka
(Miroslav R. Procházka, arranger: Siegfried Rundel)

7 Kuschel Polka I Snuggle Polka
(Peter Schad)

8 Die Teufelszunge - Solo für Trompete I The Devil's Tongue - solo for trumpet
(Hugo Schmidt, arranger: Walter Tuschla)
soloist: Philipp „Klaus“ Lohse

9 Im schönen Prag - Walzer I In Beautiful Prague - waltz
(Josef Stelibsky, arranger: Frank Pleyer / lyrics: Kurt HerthaI, Helga Reichel)
vocals: Corina Voigt and Jan Schmaglowski

10 Böhmischer Traum - Polka I Bohemian Dream - polka
(Norbert Gälle, arranger: Siegfried Rundel)

11 Deutschmeister Regimentsmarsch I German Masters Regimental March
(Wilhelm August Jurek, arranger: Franz Bummerl)

12 Die Liebste I Nejmilejši- Polka I The Most Darling of All - polka
(Jaroslav Tvrdý, arranger: Walter Tuschla)

13 Schnick & Schnack - Solo für zwei Klarinetten I Schnick & Schnack - solos for two clarinets
(Roland Kohler, arranger: Franz Watz)
soloists: Karolin Ketzel, Teresa Schubert

14 Polka Nr. 37I Zdenička
(Metodej Prajka, arranger: Siegfried Rundel)

15 In guter Laune - PolkaI V Nálade Polka I In the Best of Moods - Polka
(Miroslav R. Procházka, arranger: Jaroslav Ondra)

16 Rauschende Birken - Walzer I Rustling Birch Trees
(Vaclav Kaucky, arranger: Gerald Weinkopf / lyrics: Robert Frei)
vocals: Corina Voigt and Jan Schmaglowski

17 Die Post im Walde - Solo für Trompete I The Post in the Woods - solo for trumpet
(Heinrich Schäffer, arranger: Robin Kürschner)
soloist: Robert Wintzen

18 Jubiläumspolka I Jubilee Polka
(Robin Kürschner)

19 Hohe Tannen - Volksweise I High Fir Trees - folk song
(arranger: Robin Kürschner)
vocals: Corina Voigt and Jan Schmaglowski

20 Astronauten Marsch I Astronaut March
(Josef Ullrich, arranger: Gerald Weinkopf)

From Charles Bridge to Blue Miracle
Just as the Moldau and Elbe rivers connect Prague and Dresden, the landmarks of these two cities - the Charles Bridge and the Blue Miracle Bridge - draw people together, not only from one district to the next but from country to country. Bohemian culture, one might say, flows to Saxony's musicians through the Elbe Sandstone Mountains, and Czech songs and customs mingle cosily with their local Saxon counterparts. Only a few hours and hardly more than sixty miles are needed to track down some of the songs on this CD.

The Original Elbland Wind Players did not even come close to filling the oversized bus on their trip from Prague to Dresden, but nevertheless their boisterous laughter and singing made it seem to burst at the seams. Aphoto appointment on the Charles Bridge in beauti- ful Prague: Japanese tourists crane their necks to ogle the green folk vests and reach enthusiastically for their cameras. Are you going to play now? No? What a pity ...! Saxons who recognise their fellow countrymen can be found everywhere. The musicians wave goodbye. But before they proceed over hill and dale back to Dresden, there is no getting around fifteen portions of Bohemian dumplings, original Pilsner Urquell beer and only a few (!) drams of slivovitz. Only then do the musicians return to Saxony, their stomachs full of Schwejkian good humour from neighbouring Bohemia. Finally they all reassemble in the freshly mown hay on the Elbe Meadow beneath the Blue Miracle Bridge, standing at attention in concert dress for the photographer. Their colleagues from the Dresden Staatskapelle, who just happen to be dining in the nearby Italian restaurant, wave across the field and cry, 'Oh, it's you again, with your sunny dispositions...'.

The Original Elbland Wind Players
are all music students or professionals at the peak of their trade. As often as they can, they gladly switch their obligatory concert attire, patent leather shoes and classical repertoire for convivial get-togethers of a different sort. They revel to the lilting rhythms of the polka and get down to the serious business of making plain, straightforward music once again rather than 'high culture', as beautiful as it may be. That they refuse to lower their musical standards or technical polish is a point of honour. Where there used to be an orchestra pit, there are now sometimes not even two yards separating them from the front row of the audience, and no one bothers to put on airs. Even the fans know the solo trumpeter from the Robert Schumann Philharmonic simply as 'Kuddel', and the state-certified clarinet teacher as 'Resi'.

Far from being old and grey, the musicians have an average age of twenty-five. All, except for one Swabian, were born in Saxony. The paths that led them to wind band music are many and varied, whether via other wind ensembles, a music society or simply the foundation of the Original Elbland Players on a December evening in 2004, following a performance of the Christmas Oratorio in a Dresden inn. Since then friendships have been sealed and deepened, many pleasant hours of wind band music have filled the air, and since 2008 the group has been rounded off with three singers - Madlen, Corina and Jan. Robin Kürschner, a highly gifted tenor horn player from the Ore Mountains, has established himself as resident composer - not only for the Elblanders. He turns out arrangements tailored to meet their special qualities - an advantage long withheld from other ensembles, though hopefully not forever.

When the fans of the Original Elbland Wind Players (including a goodly number of pretty young ladies) say that a 'fresh and powerful breeze is wafting through Saxony's wind music scene' and praise the impressive manner in which they 'don the old wind-band hats on their young heads', the musicians feel flattered, grin knowingly and blush to the tips of their ears. But it's true, for where and when can you otherwise hear such snappy and elegantly performed 'deviltry'?

© Studio Svengali, July 2024
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