Dutch Brass Band Championships
Saturday 7th December 2002
The contest, of note for its wonderful cordiality, saw eight bands
take the stage of the Matiniplaza in Gronignen to play Lac Leman
(Lake Geneva) Opus 173 by Derek Bourgeois. A most testing composition
surprisingly it was not, in the main, the demanding technical lines
or the awkward key signature changes (like 6 sharps) that found
bands out but more often occasional solo lines of subtle scoring.
The draw was completed at 16.00hrs and the contest commenced at
19.15hrs with Brassband Rijnmond under the direction Erik Jansen.
Nerves perhaps played a part as they opened rather nervously causing
some important linking semis to just lack the flow that they should
have had. Settling the band took the Presto  very well with some
undeniably committed playing this only unsettled with some loose
unison playing in the lower band . Things got a little rushed
and with less than seamless phrasing in the Allegro con Brio 
however the horns were commendable  with style and refinement.
A decent standard set then by the band from the "Rijnmond"
region (greater Rotterdam) but a final placing of 7th.
The home team Provinciale Brassband Groningen, under their conductor
Siemen Hoeksta, played with refined musicianship and sensitivity
and were completely persuasive bringing magnetism to the music.
The lower band played exceptionally well, as did the horns. In particular
the band showed class with the ff  and wonderful dynamics all
through notably before  and  where the pp was really well
controlled. Draw number 2 and this was the one to beat we felt.
Benny Wiame and the Brass Band Schoonhoven performance had maybe
one or two too many slips to claim top spot but in this 4th place
performance the cornet section produced some good unison playing
and again this was another performance benefited from some stylish
horn playing. The band worked hard in rehearsal up to this contest
and the best playing from this came through in the 11/8 passage
, the section following the fff  and well the balanced and
controlled ending from 3rd in the draw.
4th on the platform Brassband Limburg, under the baton of Frans
Violet, didn't feel at ease at the start of the piece and it rocked
a little as a result but this was swept away with a quality and
concerted marcato . This then set the pattern for their performance
that probably suffered more at the hands of balance than any other
De Bazuin conductor Klaas van der Woude gained the runners-up place
with a performance, playing 5th, that took lots of risks especially
with tempo but this made it undeniably exiting throughout. Percussion
had a day of note with some excellent playing as all through. The
MD went looking for the atmosphere of the composer's inspiration
(Lake Geneva) and achieved a quality performance.
The contest pushed on into the evening when 6th in the draw Soli
Brass took the stage. With dynamics perhaps on the upper side at
the start the piece took a little time to settle and the MD chose
to draw back the ending which differed from other performances.
The percussion was brought forward  and was reasonably performed
but as we commented in our introduction, it was the drops in solo
lines which upset a generally solid performance.
De Wâldsang settled quickly after tentative opening. The
flugel sound in the triplets  had a distinctly horn feel about
it as things moved along quite steadily. The bass solo playing 
was top draw stuff and the band played particularly well through
this passage and capped this with one of the best interpretations
of the day with the fff at . A fine ending epitomised a performance
played with lots of enjoyment and elan deserving its place in the
Almost 22.00hrs and Altena Brass took the stage and never quite
felt at ease with the music. The best playing unquestionably came
from the basses  and this continued through to  and the
major key change. A not unsatisfying performance which unfortunately
had a few too many errors on the day which was a shame.
Well we pitched are hat into the ring at the end of the section
and went for the spontaneous performance of 'De Bazuin in 1st place
with Provinciale Brassband Groningen as runners-up and got it the
wrong way round ! (Surprise surprise) but with that, we headed for
the after contest fun in the bar where we mingled with the players
and friends with good humour long into the night at the end of a
happy and most enjoyable Championships.