Center City Brass Quintet

Most classical record buyers wouldn't be tempted by a brass-band album of German cabaret and Broadway tunes—but they should think twice about that.

Most classical record buyers wouldn't be tempted by a brass-band album of German cabaret and Broadway tunes—but they should think twice about that. This collection of Kurt Weill songs arranged for brass choir brims with charm and musicality, in terms of both Weill's timeless melodies and the warm, surprisingly flexible sonorities produced by the Center City Brass Quintet. Founded in 1985 in Philadelphia, this virtuosic group performs trumpeter Anthony DiLorenzo's suite from The Threepenny Opera, plus sets of songs from Weill's European and American periods. Even if it's the angular Threepenny Suite and European songs that bend most naturally to this unusual treatment, everything here is played and recorded wonderfully. Rather than bleating through this material, the Center City musicians will have you whistling "Mack the Knife" and "Surabaya Johnny" nearly as readily as Lotte Lenya and Louis Armstrong. Distributed in the U.S. by Koch International.—BB