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Pontins Championships 2002:

Third Section:

We give the 4BR Retrospective on the performances, plus the official adjudicators remarks for the winners.

This piece certainly tested the bands; not so much the ensemble playing, it was the lyrical exposed solo lines that virtually every band found trouble with.

Gareth Pritchard and Melvin White were given a real challenge to keep up with the pace of the contest, with little percussion and a relatively short piece the contest galloped along. Conductors invariably wondered what was going on as they needed to wait some time for the whistle to commence their performances, but as we were later told it was nothing more than the need for time to complete the formalities of writing the remarks etc. “The Land of the Mountain and the Flood” was a good test for the bands here – and very apt given the weather conditions all weekend and James Scott must be congratulated once more for his choice. It was just right in both terms of technique and musicality to test the bands to the full.

This contest had an outstanding performance, and that came from the winners of the section, Wire Brass. Paul Andrews conducted the band and few would argue that this impressive and first-rate performance was a worthy winner. Of particular note was the playing from the euphonium, solo horn and basses.

Greenhalls Brewery took a notch or three off the tempo from the Fleetwood Contest they played this piece at a few weeks ago and didn't it work out well for them. Quite aggressive in attack, there was some insecurity around the stands but that didn't detract from an assertive performance that gained them 2nd place.

Timperley Band took 3rd spot with some well-balanced and detailed playing. They played well in Torquay in the 4th section and took on the challenge of this strong third section once again producing the goods. A band on the up.

Fourth place went to Boarshurst and they played according to form in taking this prize. There was much to relish in their performance that only suffered from the odd soloist insecurities. Well directed and a performance that could on another day perhaps come a touch higher.

Rainford Silver under the baton of Bryan Harper gave a well-disciplined performance of the piece. The playing had some quite pointed dynamics and share of scratches but again the band came through and fifth place was their reward. Lanchester Band chose a very brisk tempo in comparison to many bands but the performance had plenty of character that earned its place in the frame if not the prize money.

United Norwest 2000 Brass in 7th place chose a measured tempo and was a sympathetic reading of the score. The solo euphonium was a little bit troubled on the day but then so were lots of others.

The bands finishing in 8th through to 12th place Syston, West Mercia Constabulary, Bream Silver, Ebbw Vale and Audley Brass all played in similar style and direction to that of United Norwest 2000 just above them, so it was not surprising then that these bands were so closely grouped. They too had their wobbly moments in those exposed solo lines that were to be the undoing of many performances - as was the trend from here onward where the playing style became quite jagged.

Bream Silver chose an interesting formation placing the cornets on the left, euphs, baritones and basses to the right with the trombones behind the horns facing forward whilst fantastic shirt of the day went to the conductor of Syston Band (black with bold multi-coloured dots with satin green bowtie - magic).

Foresters Brass 2000 (13th) chose a very quick tempo and will be disappointed, one would think, in not coming higher placed whilst Pontypool Brass (14th) took a more measured tempo but again those splits and style proved costly. Let's hope the timp player from Foresters can afford a new felt after sending his stick head flying when his smashed spectacularly on the last note.

Two very contrasting performances from 15th and 16th placed bands respectively Dronfield (CMW) took the piece very quickly whilst Greenfield took it a good few metronome marks slower. City of Chester (17th), Maltby Miners Welfare (18th) and Clifton and Lightcliffe (19th) were shaky and unfortunately suffered at the hands of tuning and balance.

So how did we fair with our dodgy predictions and we would have to say not bad really - no let's be honest about it we were pretty damn good.

Wire - 4BR Prediction 1 - Actual 1
Foresters Brass 2000 - 4BR Prediction 2 - Actual 13
Hebden Bridge (Walkley Clogs) - 4BR Prediction 3 - Actual Withdrew
Lanchester - 4BR Prediction 4 - Actual 6
Boarshurst - 4BR Prediction 5 - Actual 4
Greenhalls Brewery - 4BR Prediction 6 - Actual 2
Timperley - 4BR Prediction - Dark Horse - Actual 3

So our predicted bands pretty well came up trumps for us with 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th and 6th. So we missed out on 5th with Rainford Silver who did that bit play with that bit extra we suggested to figure so in only giving Foresters the kiss of death perhaps we're beginning to get the measure of third section. Well until the next time at least…….

Adjudicators Remarks:

1. Wire Brass

Good start with well placed rhythms and sounds. All detail is clearly heard and the lead into 4 almost works. Nice sounding cornets at 4 and the sop excells before 6 where a well balanced tutti sound is heard. Confident solo cornet (s) at 9. Nice lyrical euph solo (with good accompaniment too).

Good intonation at 11 if a little heavy though. All melodic lines are shaped well. Good lead into 15 where the troms do very well and again the full sound is impressive. 18 is handled well with all semi quavers dealt with well. Tenor horns perhaps a little loud. Good dynamic contrasts and even alomost pp at 19. 21 is as good as the opening. Good links between soloists before 25 and from here the music flows well and sounds exactly right. Con Brio, comes to life as it should! 29 has the right amount of impetus. Cornet is nice at 30. Ensemble not perfect before 32 and not together in fanfare either. Excellent basses and euphs at 35 and the ending is strong and convincing.

All round excellent performance. Very well directed throughout. Thank You all.

Gareth Pritchard.

Nice mature sounds. Expressive solo cornet. So much time to bring out the detail. Big soprano at 5. Some good sounds in 6. Not convinced by dim to 8 destroys the point of sub p. Nice moments – 9/10 expressive euph. Nice shapes from soloists (shade too loud). 15/16 balance nearly works – quaver/semi quaver not always accurate. 18 one or two momentary lapses but this generally worls very well. Nice build to 23. Baritone link nearly works. Nice build to 26. Some super sounds (SD?)

Generally very convincing. Thank You

Melvin White.


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The Heaton Collection -  Available with 4BR shopping