facebook twitter rss vimeo

*
banner

BRASS in Concert

Musical Director: Harrison Williams
The Old Rep Theatre
Birmingham
Monday 20th February

The visual metaphor of an inverted Union Jack flag flying above the stage in this one-off student led version of Benjamin Till’s ‘Brass’, was a subtle reminder that at the end of the ‘Great War’ it was the notion of Empire, not just that of engrained Victorian social norms, that had been irreversibly turned upside down.

Mature appreciation

Produced and conducted with mature appreciation by Harrison Williams, who took part in the original production and who subsequently initiated this splendid version as part of his final year studies at Birmingham Conservatoire, it also showed that beneath the rather typecast stereotypes of the storyline, there was a deeper understanding to the historical outcome of the charnel house slaughter of a generation of men on both sides of the trenches.

In contrast, their men, as they march hopelessly to their deaths, will never grow old; never again to play their instrumentsIwan Fox

The emotive power of ’Brass’ is to be found in the wit rather than the pathos of the writing - the evocative musical score adding greatly to the sense of atmosphere as we juxtapose between the ‘Pals Regiment’ of the members of Hyde Park Brass Band - the doomed ‘band of brothers’ - and their ever resourceful wives and girlfriends at their factory in Leeds. 

It is they whose futures will forever be changed by their workplace ‘battles’ to form their own band - an optimistic musical link they wish to create with their loved ones in the muddied, bloodied fields of France through the playing of ‘brass’ rather than through the production of brass shell cases.

In contrast, their men, as they march hopelessly to their deaths, will never grow old; never again to play their instruments.

Great War stereotypes

You can therefore forgive the rather heavy handed narrative that encompass just about all the Great War stereotypes - from the under-age recruit shot for ‘cowardice’, to unrequited love, unfulfilled futures, needless sacrifice and broken-hearted loss, as the actors give splendidly animated performances that bring rather one dimensional characters to life.  

The music (which took a little while to find its balance with the actors who were sometimes swamped) mirrors the emerging realities of war – from the triumphant and optimistic to the desperate and melancholic. 

Tellingly, there is no happy ending - no ‘Brassed Off!’ pyrrhic victory. The Union Jack flag remains upside down.

Iwan Fox



Foden's Band - Patrons Concert

Tuesday 20 February • Sandbach School. Crewe Rd, Sandbach CW11 3NS CW11 3NS


Regent Hall Concerts - RAF Chamber Ensemble

Friday 23 February • Regent Hall. (The Salvation Army). 275 Oxford Street. London W1C 2DJ (opposite RESERVED) W1C 2DJ


The Cobham Band -

Saturday 24 February • The Vera Fletcher Hall . 4 Embercourt Road. Thames Ditton. KT7 0LQ KT70LQ


Marshfield Band - Marshfield Male Voice Choir

Saturday 24 February • Marshfield Community Centre SN14 8PG


The Brighouse & Rastrick Band - Chirst Church Ilkley

Saturday 24 February • Christchurch,. The Grove,. Ilkley LS29 9LW


Strata Brass

February 17 • Require FRONT ROW CORNET (flexibility in the section) after Yorkshire Area (1st Section) in March.. Rehearsals SUN/WED.. MD Jonathan Bates (Solo Horn - Fodens Band). Sensible concert/contest schedule.


Shipston Town band

February 15 • We currently need a Kit percussionist, 2nd horn and Bb Bass as we prepare for the forthcoming Midlands Area at Bedworth in March. We are graded Section 4


The Corsham Band

February 15 • Having now been promoted to the 2nd Section for the forthcoming Contest season, the band are now looking for a back row cornet player, 2nd or 3rd, to join our team


Craig Roberts

BA (Hons), MA
Conductor / Adjudicator