The 2002 4BarsRest awards:
Conductor of the Year
Last year Dr. David King took the award as the best man with the
baton, but this year there have been any number of men (and women)
who have impressed us at 4BR. The successful new breed of Musical
Directors are by and large ex players who have served something
of an apprenticeship before taking over at the very top bands –
all appear to have strong personalities and an insatiable will to
win, whilst all seem to be in or around their early to mid 40’s.
This could mean that the next ten years or so will be dominated
by these faces as the newest generation has yet really to appear,
but there may be new (or old) conductor who might just break their
hegemony in 2003.
When Fodens went for the MD of Ransomes there were more than a
few eyebrows raised across the bandrooms of Yorkshire and Lancashire
in particular. However he has proved to have been an inspired choice
by the band and he has shown in 2002 that his appointment has been
a great success.
He led Fodens to a very fine victory at the Regional Championships,
whilst he brought an inspired performance from them to win at Cambridge.
Although he didn’t take the band at either the Open or Nationals
he worked the band hard in preperation and he himself stated that
he was willing and grateful to learn from Bramwell Tovey –
such an attitude speaks volumes and will be of benefit to him and
Fodens in the future. The runners up spot at Spennymoor ended a
fine years work and cemented his place with the band as well as
in the limelight as a conductor to sit up and take note of.
There is a silly argument that says that given the talent Manchester
United have at their disposal any fool could manage to win trophies
with them, whilst many people think the same of BAYV Cory –
both are fatuous as the real skill is the ability to blend your
mixture of undoubted individual talents into a coherent team. Robert
Childs once more in 2002 has proved he has the innate ability to
do this in spades.
BAYV Cory’s performances has been built directly on the foundations
laid by the MD – foundations that are meticulously constructed
through hard work and attention to detail and the results have been
spectacular. His band responds to his clear musical intentions whilst
his own style is deceptively easy and simple to follow. However,
there is never a bar that goes unnoticed or unrehearsed so the end
result is always close to winning the big prizes on offer. A second
Open and runners up at the Nationals tells you something about how
good he has been at his job this year.
Although technically speaking Bram Tovey isn’t a full time
brass band conductor his two performances in directing Fodens in
2002 were something to cherish. Many may carp and say that however
brilliant he was, Fodens still didn’t win a bean with him
at the helm – but that’s to miss the point entirely.
What Mr Tovey brought to the podium was sheer, undulated class.
His interpretations were almost too orchestral perhaps for some
conservative ears, and Fodens did suffer some problems with tuning
at both the Open and Nationals, but his performances were simply
awesome. Beautifully realised pictures with touches of almost arrogant
brilliant interpretation, Tovey was a country mile in class above
anyone else on the days at Birmingham and London. That he didn’t
win was a pity - that we may not see him again working at his craft
for at least another year is almost criminal.
A year that reads one win and three third places may seem to be
something to shout about, but such are the expectations at Black
Dyke under Nicholas Childs that the band and the MD will surely
see 2002 as a year of missed opportunities and when a bit of luck
The early draws at both the Open and London seemed to scupper the
Queensbury bands chances of adding further successes to their CV
but on each of those occasions they showed tantalising glimpses
of just how brilliant they can be under the Welshman’s direction.
At times the hairs on the back of your neck stood on end and the
way in which he stretched his band to the very limits (especially
in the quieter passages of the years test pieces) was something
else. He has brought back the “old” sound of Dyke –
full, fat and rounded and has a team of players that can on their
day be unbeatable. It wasn’t to be in 2002, although it was
very close on more than one occasion. He has laid the foundation
for something special – now if only they can get a later draw
come September in Birmingham……
It may be said that 2002 has been something of a quiet year for
David King, but once more he showed that at times he can drag an
almost unbelievable sets of performances from his band YBS. At the
European Championships he took immense risks with the set work –
it was very, very different to all the other performances, whilst
he coaxed a truly memorable show on “Concerto Grosso”
from what was still a very young and somewhat inexperienced group
of “new” YBS players.
In addition he also put himself on the line with other bands –
some with disappointing results but he did show that the European
stage brings the best out of him when he returned to drive Manger
to the Norwegian title as well as the SIDDIS crown.
How to vote....
Make sure you read all the articles
for each category before going to the voting