facebook twitter rss vimeo


CD Review: Over the Horizon

Soloist: Steve Stewart
Cory Band
Conductor: Philip Harper
Doyen Recordings: DOY CD376


Contrary to those who believe in mythical Faustian pacts, the very best soprano players in the world are products of nurture not nature. 

Their musical expressionism is built on a foundation of rock solid technique, moulded by hours of high quality practice - not a freakish serendipity of being born with a blue moon in their eye. 

Romantics may well believe in a musical Mephistopheles, but the modern day soprano virtuosos are all the offspring of hard graft. 

Overriding impression

That’s the overriding impression that you gain from listening to Steve Stewart on this substantive solo CD. All you have to do is to look at his CV. 

Forget the tics and the showmanship, the piercing grey blue eyes and the slightly manic stare of the CD cover, and simply listen to the musician at work. Then just think how much intensive labour he has put in over the years to be that good. 

Romantics may well believe in a musical Mephistopheles, but the modern day soprano virtuosos are all the offspring of hard graft. 

Measured against performers in any brass playing genre, he is a very fine player indeed; something that is fully endorsed by the quality shown on eight contrasting items - some old, some new, all played with nuance and style and a striking technical assuredness that leaves ample scope to layer richly coloured tonality.

Fizz and crackle

The choices, as well as the commissions, are very well made - delivered either with a confident swagger of ingenuity or a reserved introspection of lyrical beauty. The fizz and crackle of the pyrotechnics are balanced by the elements of textured, languid sonority – the hallmarks of great soprano playing few can match. His clever use of a 4 valve soprano and piccolo trumpet add a further dimension to the finesse. 

The familiar classics are played with fresh zest whilst the extended works from the pens of Dan Price, Ken Ferguson and Darrol Barry allow for a measured sense of freedom that never loses focus or interest (the poetic soliloquy is a lovely touch too).

It closes with the Arnold ‘Fantasy’ that perfectly lives up to its name, segueing into a title track that glistens with shards of diamond brilliance to end on a ferocious blast of piercing excitement – the epitome of nurtured soprano artistry.

Iwan Fox

To Purchase: 


Play List:

1. Rhapsody for Eb Soprano Cornet (Robert Eaves)
2-4. Concertino for Eb Soprano Cornet (Darrol Barry)
5. Soliloquy (Darrol Barry)
6-8. Concerto for Soprano Cornet (Dan Price)
9. Capriccio (Philip Sparke)
10. Brandane Rhapsody (Ken Ferguson)
11. Fantasy for Trumpet (Malcolm Arnold)
12. Over the Horizon (Christopher Bond)

Black Dyke Band - Mirfield Parish Church

Thursday 22 March • Mirfield Parish Church, 38 Church Lane, Mirfield WF14 9HX

Regent Hall Concerts - Royal Welsh College of Music & Drama Brass Band

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

The Fairey Band - Ensembles from Bramhall High School

Friday 23 March • Bramhall High School. Seal Road. Stockport SK72JT

Croydon Citadel Band - The International Staff Band of The Salvation Army

Saturday 24 March • The Salvation Army. Booth Rd. Croydon. CR0 1XY CR0 1XY

Black Dyke Band - Newtown (Powys)

Saturday 24 March • Theatre Hafren, Llanidloes Rd, Newtown SY16 4HU

Cheshire Constabulary Band

March 22 • We are still looking for a Tenor Horn, Cornet and snare drummers (for our Corps of drums). Smart friendly well run band with varied engagements, just one rehearsal a week. Open to all walks of life (you do not need to work for the Police!)


March 22 • Do you want to be part of one of the best run brass band organisations in the North West of England? Then look no further. The Pemberton Old Wigan DW organisation are holding auditions for the position of Conductor for their B band. The band is currently well placed in the 2nd section North West area and are looking for an ambitious and forward looking candidate who can take the band forward. No time wasters please.

Chelmsford Silver Band

March 22 • Chelmsford Silver Band require the following. Bb bass, Cornet and 2nd Baritone players. A non-contesting band, established for over 50 years and enjoy a good reputation performing at local and regional events plus organizing our own concerts.

John Maines

BA (Hons)
Presenter, compere and conductor