DVD - Brass in Concert Championships 200711-Apr-2008
Highlights from the 2007 Brass in Concert Championships and World of Brass in Concert
Various bands, conductors and soloists
World of Brass DVD: WOB128
Produced in Widescreen 16:9 aspect ratio
The 2007 Brass in Concert Championship was not perhaps the most memorable of the 31 contests in the entertainment events history, but there was still more than enough brass inspired fare on the weekend to fill this DVD with plenty of well chosen items to sit back and enjoy in the comfort of your own home.
And sitting back in your favourite armchair, feet up, with a nice beverage of choice in hand is the best way to do just that, as this is a bit of a mammoth undertaking – a three disc set that features not only excerpts from each of the 12 competing bands, but also highlights of the quite startling World of Brass Concert that kicked things off on the Saturday night at The Sage, Gateshead.
That concert is showcased on DVD 1, and it gives you the opportunity to compare and contrast at leisure the performances of Grimethorpe Colliery and Eikanger Bjorsvik in concert mode just 24 hours before they took to the contesting stage.
It also gives you the opportunity to find out why so many people left the hall to walk home into the dark Gateshead night thrilled by the Norwegians and slightly disappointed by the Yorkshiremen too. Eikanger blew Grimethorpe out of the water – and it’s all here in glorious Technicolor and high quality reproduced sound once more.
That thrilling Norwegian smorgasbord sets you up very nicely to enjoy DVD disc 2 - although it does come as a bit of a disappointment that you first have to listen to the contest highlights of Reg Vardy and Whitburn as their contributions are shoehorned onto the first disc.
The producers have taken the welcome step of including items from each of the 12 competing bands in contest order, but as a result it does mean that the two early birds (and the contest started at 9.30am on the Sunday) seem a little divorced from the official proceedings that take up discs 2 & 3.
Both Reg Vardy and Whitburn didn’t feature too highly come the announcement of the results, perhaps as a consequence of their late MD replacements (they were not the only ones on the day) and slightly dated repertoire and presentation.
The same could also be said of nearly all the bands though. As we said in our retrospective of the contest, it was rather like looking at a days UK Gold television viewing at times, what with the number of repeats and re-runs that came our way.
There was still plenty of quality though, and you certainly hear that with the well chosen highlights from each of the contenders, such as Grimethorpe’s Marlene Dietrich inspired ‘Falling in Love Again’ and James Fieldhouse’s playing with the euphonium solo ‘On the Seashore’ with Hepworth.
Desford also chose to turn the clock back to the Howard Snell era and showcased three well executed pearls from his amazing entertainment output, whilst Fodens dusted off a few old corkers, including a revamped version of Glyn Williams’s record breaking attempt to play every instrument under the sun – plus the kitchen sink!
Eikanger meanwhile, couldn’t quite maintain their startling form from the night before in a mixed, but highly intelligent musical offering, whilst the other European challengers, Brass Band Oberosterreich (or should that be Hans Gansch accompanied by his band) presented some truly wonderful playing - at times.
Fairey gave a very British finish to a high gloss American patina whilst YBS just about did the same (despite some dodgy accents) in their entertaining programme too. That just left Brighouse and Leyland, and with the latter not quite managing to live up to early expectations it was Brighouse that brought the house down.
You can see and hear why: Tricky Dicky sets the tone from the word go with a very crafty bit of kilted showmanship, but his band also deliver the goods too, from a cracking Lionel Ritchie opener through a well executed cornet solo from Stephen Wilkinson, the trademark Evans swagger march and rip roaring closer. The undoubted pearl is a superbly choreographed, as well as musically arranged, ‘Mr Sandman’ – that is worth the price of the DVD alone.
The organisers should have handed over the £4,000 winners cheque there and then.
Although it doesn’t quite round off a very enjoyable release from World of Brass, it nevertheless makes the epic viewing experience well worth it – a bit like putting in your best time in the 25th mile of the London Marathon.
The production values as we have come to expect from the Timeline Vision guys are very good, with well chosen camera placements allowing for some neat close ups as well as panoramic on stage views. The sound and pictures marry up well too and it is nice to see that the editing reflects closely what was going on with the music – rather than just concentrating on the more photogenic faces in the bands! Frank Renton is his usual urbane self.
All in all it gives you an extended taste of a fine weekend of music making. The contest itself may not have quite been the most memorable in the events history, but you would never know that given the expertly chosen fare we have here.
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