The 4BR overall verdict:
Date Posted: 09.05.02
The 25th European Championships were a success. Very
well organised and slickly presented, it continues to set the agenda
for the movement in the 21st century. There were moments this year
however in which they may have to look at themselves and ask why
The Maurice Andre debacle cannot be repeated. He may have been a
great draw and a ticket seller, but it was obvious he was neither
up the task or particularly interested enough to give of his best
in the Friday night concert. It became an embarrassment, and for
a rumoured 6000 euros an expensive one at that. No real blame
can be placed on the organisers, but they will have learned a very
important lesson. Reputations count for nothing and next time it
may be better to go for what you know rather than what hope you
The Composers Competition was another success and there was
some fine young talent on show. The winner, Simon Dobson from Cornwall
will be a composer of note in the future and one who we would like
to hear more of if we can. The idea to present all four finalists
works in the evening concert was also a fine idea and proved popular,
even if the announcement of the winning composition got the title
The First Section was only a partial success though, and there is
a need we believe for the format to be looked at again possibly
in time for the 2004 contest in Scotland. There is surly a need
to get more bands involved and the 2004 contest could be the time
to get First Section bands from Wales, England, Scotland and Norway
to compete without it becoming too expensive for them or the organisers.
It would surly strengthen the contest as a whole.
The test pieces for the weekend were an unqualified success, with
Excalibur by Jan van der Roost a popular and accessible
work for the First Section and Piet Swerts Chain
a very challenging but listenable work in the Championship. It is
hoped that we get to hear more of this work possibly for
the Regionals in the UK or Grand Shield next year? It is a
true test of a band as a whole and the players individually (horn,
xylo and flugel players will sweat when they see their part) and
it deserves further play time.
The Own Choice selections continue to show that at this
level, the very best bands cannot get away with just very good performances,
and the vast majority of the bands in the top section gave outstanding
performances. It is an essential feature of the contest that bands
perform out of their skins in the afternoon and it would be fair
to say that if CWS Glasgow or Tredegar had performed as they did
at a contest in the UK then they would have walked away with a prize
without any problem. The standard was that high.
Finally, the organisers themselves should take great credit for
the way in which the whole weekend was run not 100% perfect
but very nearly and we must thank the people in the hall who made
it possible for 4BR to bring you up to date highlights of the weekend.
Nothing was too much trouble and their professionalism should be
something that others could well do and try and copy. It made things
so much easier for all concerned.
Heres looking forward to Bergen in 2003. Well be there!