The National Broadcast Orchestra, reborn from the unfunded ashes of the CBC Radio Orchestra, had its premiere concert in January and the results are now archived on the CBC Concerts on Demand site, where you can get all kinds of good music for free. There’s assorted fun on offer, including Anton Kuerti on a Beethoven piano concerto written before the canonical five. Of particular interest are the original Canadian compositions. No wait, come back! They’re fun. There’s a Michael Osterle symphony that chugs along tidily without, perhaps, going very far, but it’s all quite stately and tuneful.
For me the highlight is the piece that puts on the fewest airs: “Kalla” by Allan Gilliland, who teaches composition at Grant McEwan MacEwan College University (a fine institution; I can now recommend the music faculty) in Edmonton. Ostensibly inspired by legends of call-and-response competitions among New Orleans trumpeters, it’s mostly just a chance for Canadian trumpet star Jens Lindemann to show off. This he does, with broad tone, jazzy inflections and bold orchestral backing. Gilliland started as a trumpeter, and it shows in the way he knows how to let the instrument shine. There must be plenty of trumpeters in other cities who’d be thrilled with a showcase as sturdy as this. I think you’ll agree it’s worth 11 minutes and 32 seconds of your time.