Brass in Concert DVD 20081-Apr-2009
There was plenty of fun and games at Brass in Concert, but does it all add up to an experience worth enjoying again? Malcolm Wood certainly thinks so...
As the marketing slogans say 'Don't delay, buy it, today' – you really won't be disappointed when you invest in this release.
In 2008, Brass in Concert had arguably its strongest ever line up of bands, just about all of who delivered the entertainment goods on stage. Timeline Vision has captured it all with really proactive camera work and nothing gets missed. The whole weekend unfolds chronologically before your very eyes, from the Gala Concert on the Saturday night to finishing off with Rochdale Borough Youth Band before the results on the Sunday.
Disc One opens with three selections from Brighouse's Gala Concert repertoire: Leigh Baker’s ‘Libertango’, ‘Agnus Dei’ and flugel soloist John Lee in ‘I’ve Got You Under My Skin’.
However, it is Stavanger that really delivers the sparkling entertainment and are a delight to listen to courtesy of a themed programme 'Edvard meets Edward', acknowledging Grieg and Elgar. The quality of playing throughout is top draw with a special mention to Nigel Fielding on soprano in a performance energised by Allan Withington.
Everything is so well polished and performed with a real musical freshness, and whilst it did raise a few eyebrows (there is one of the strangest musical interpretations of 'Can’t Take my Eyes off You’ you'll ever see) but you can't knock the playing. The quality of the musicianship shines through.
And so to the contest.
Hepworth (Cookson Homes) certainly woke up anyone who was bleary eyed at 9.30am on the Sunday morning with a set that included ‘Fireball XL 5 Zero G’ and some cracking Respighi in ‘Danza Orgiastica’.
Foden's was next up and their featured items are ‘The Eyes of a Child’ followed by the march, ‘The Champions’ (they did parade the British Open Shield of course) and finally, some brilliant tuba playing from Les Neish, in Andy Scott’s Concerto, ‘Salt of the Earth’.
Disc Two opens with more terrific Stavanger with their African themed programme influenced by Robin Dewhurst that brought them second place overall.
This was terrific stuff, with the ladies of the band in fine harmonic voice and some virtuoso bass trombone playing from Ingvild Rosenburg. The beautiful cornet sound of Evna Bortne shines through in ‘Reflection’ whilst the band relaxes in ‘La Cumparsita’ before finishing off in cracking style with ‘Hunting Wabbits’ and ‘Mambo to Go’.
Off the wall
Fairey's programme was a touch 'off the wall' but it was brilliantly done. Neil Hewson stars as Michael Jackson in Thriller before the evergreen Brian Taylor is simply class in ‘Just a Closer Walk with Thee’ It was certainly different.
Plenty was said and written about Whitburn's performance, but sadly (probably based on their low placing) only two offerings appear here - Chick Corea's ‘Spain’ and ‘Inuendo’ – an arrangement that brought Peter Meechan the prize for the Best Arrangement.
Brighouse, under the 'virginally-attired Alan Morrison' (to quote host Frank Renton) produce some lovely moments of musical magic, including Alford's ‘Thin Red Line’ complete with a corps of drums.
Grimethorpe were led by the charismatic Michael J Garasi and he arrives into the contesting arena dressed as a rather welterweight Rocky for their appropriately opening number. Their performance of ‘The Prayer’ is a real delight.
The core of Disc Three is made up of Cory's winning programme and the reigning Action Medical Youth Entertainment Champions, Rochdale Borough Youth.
Interspersed are some musical offerings from the other contenders, beginning with Leyland with music from Simon Dobson and the delightful sound of Nick Walkley in a ‘Lovely Day Tomorrow’. Iain Culross, is also in fine form in ‘A Time for Peace’ and YBS hit their straps with the ‘Finale’ from Shostakovich's ‘5th Symphony’.
Perennial attendee’s Reg Vardy feature in the enchanting ‘I Bring Thee All’ whilst Desford perform ‘Comedy Tonight’ and ‘The Battle of Bosworth’.
Cory was seriously impressive on the day. ‘Enter the Galaxies’ was a new composition from Paul Lovatt-Cooper that opens up their programme that featured everything from a cracking circus march to David Childs' winning solo performance of ‘Hot Canary’ and a prescriptive ‘An American Tale’. It's great stuff and a reminder that Cory really do produce the business when it counts.
Rochdale Borough Youth's programme is most definitely worth viewing (check out ‘Coronation Scott’) and it rounds of arguably one of the finest contests at Brass in Concert for a long time but most certainly, the best DVD of the event that has been produced thus far.
There's also some extras with a look at the Brass and Percussion Focus Day, a chat to the winning MD and his wife, all brought to you courtesy of Mr Brass in Concert himself, Frank Renton, who gives his insight into the day too.
Place your order, wait for it to arrive and sit back and enjoy. It’s worth every penny.
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