Warringah Concert Brass featuring David Thornton8-Aug-2007
Warringah Concert Brass
Musical Director: John Saunders
Featuring David Thornton
Saturday 4 August
St Andrews Cathedral, Sydney
When attending a concert featuring one of the world’s foremost Euphonium players, you obviously expect to hear some great playing.
I can only say that David Thornton was simply awesome tonight!
In the wonderful acoustic of the famous Saint Andrews Cathedral, David Thornton, together with Warringah Concert Brass, put forward a splendid program.
David Thornton, John Saunders and Warringah Concert Brass
Opening with Gordon Langford’s On Ilkley Moor, the band got everyone used to the acoustics. A little dark for an opener but well played none the less.
It was then time for David Thornton’s first offering in the shape of Philip Wilby’s magnificent Concerto for Euphonium. This four movement tour-de-force is a definite challenge for both soloist and band. Whilst the band did seem at times to be too loud in their accompaniment, the magical sound of David shone through brilliantly to fill every corner of the Cathedral. David’s performance was absolutely flawless and only proved why he is regarded as one of the best in the business. The extended applause at the finish was very much deserved! The band did well under the direction of John Saunders in the tricky accompaniment, but unfortunately tended to over power the soloist at times.
The Day Thou Gavest was next up which displayed a truly big sound from the band with some very controlled and balanced playing.
David Thornton returned to stage to introduce the next item entitled Arioso which he himself has arranged from the enduring melody by Bach, for Euphonium quartet. The quartet was doubled to feature some of Australia’s best Euphonium talent. David, together with Matthew van Emmerik, Barry Garnon, Bob O’Brien, Thomas Humphrey, John Saunders, Matthew Hurditch and Mark Howcroft, filled the Cathedral with euphoria.
A fine collection of Euphoniums - pretty good players as well!
David then took centre stage once again to perform Terry Camsey’s A Joy Untold which easily got the hairs on the back of your neck tingling. This was some of the most beautiful Euphonium playing I have ever heard. Truly stunning.
Mark Freeh’s arrangement of the Cuban classic Malaguena rounded off the first half which showed off the band’s versatility with pizzazz.
Peter Meechan has certainly contributed some fine works for Brass Band and his fine composition Purcell Variants was an excellent opener for the second half. John Saunders interpretation of the score was inspiring and was clearly the band’s best contribution for the night.
The audience eagerly awaited the return of David Thornton and he certainly did not disappoint. Andy Scott’s My Mountain Top was easily the highlight of the night. Complete with accompanying CD, the band took a short break while David displayed what can only be described as a mesmerising display of shear talent. David had moved position half way down the Cathedral’s isle to allow the surround sound CD accompaniment to envelope the entire performance. I, along with every member of the audience, were spellbound by David’s sensitive playing. This is an absolute gem of a piece and David is to be congratulated for introducing this fine work to the Euphonium world.
David took a short break for the band to perform Dean Goffins The Light of the World which showed that the band was also capable of sensitive playing.
Devils Duel by Peter Meechan is the title track of David Thornton’s latest CD which takes its inspiration from the story of Paganini whose virtuosity was astounding. David certainly proved that he too is also capable of outstanding virtuosity in this energetic work.
David’s final offering was a very moving performance of Joy Webb’s There Will Be God. What a fitting choice to end with. David left no doubt that he can stir the emotions right to the very end.
It is often said that the famous Black Dyke Band have boasted Euphonium legends for over 150 years. Well, David Thornton is a living one!!
The Band finished the night off with Eric Ball’s The Kingdom Triumphant which was a fitting conclusion to a very memorable concert.