- Fantasie on Bellini's "Beatrice Di Tenda, " for cornet & piano
- Fantasy and Variations on "Actéon" for cornet & piano
- Fantasie Brillante, for cornet & ensemble
- Variations on A Tyrolean Song
- Variations on a song "Vois-tu neige qui brille" (The Beautiful Snow), for cornet & piano
- Cavatina & Variations on themes from Nabucco
- Air Varié on a Folk Song "The Little Swiss Boy", for cornet & piano
- Caprice & Variations, for cornet & piano
- Fantaisie and Variations on a German Theme, for cornet & piano
- Variations on a favorite theme by C.M. von Weber, for cornet & piano
- Variations on "Carnival of Venice," for trumpet
- Variations on a Theme from Bellini's "Norma, " for cornet & piano
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One nineteenth century Frenchman with an exceptionally long name -- Joseph Jean Baptiste Laurent Arban -- is, among players of cornet and trumpet, a single-named man, Arban. His Grande méthode complète pour cornet à pistons et de saxhorn (1864) stands unchallenged as the bible of the cornet virtuoso and is likewise well known to players of the trumpet. His "Fantasy and Variations on The Carnival of Venice" is such a standard showpiece that it has been played on every wind instrument from saxophone to tuba. However, this has not gained Arban any acceptance among great composers or even very many recordings outside of his one big hit. Prior to University of Mississippi professor Charles Gates' Centaur recording Twelve Celebrated Fantasies and Airs Varies, the only performer to accord Arban his own compact disc was French trumpet virtuoso Guy Touvron for the obscure Ligia Digital label. This Centaur disc also benefits from the fact that it represents a standard Arban text in its entirety, the Twelve Celebrated Fantasies and Airs Varies as edited by Edwin Franko Goldman and published by Fischer in 1912. In addition, Gates' own skill and virtuosity are right on the money; he has chops to burn, and easily negotiates Arban's treacherous triple-tonguing and other feats of flashy instrumental showmanship. The problem with this, though, is the recording, which is not good. Recorded at a local church in Oxford, MS, the natural sound of the room, combined with the digital recording, serves to squash both cornet and Stacy Rodgers' piano into a cramped, metallic ambience reminiscent more of a sewage runoff pipe than the recital hall or a public park, the usual venues for such showy material. For the trumpet player assigned to play one of the 12 Arban solos included on this Centaur album, this will doubtless do. Nevertheless, for the average listener who wants to get an idea of what Arban was about, or even most trumpet fanciers who get a kick out of such literature, the canny, nasally electronic sound is going to be a considerable barrier to enjoyment.