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2004 Scottish Regional Championships - Retrospective

Fourth Section
Sunday 14th March

Test Piece: Partita – Edward Gregson
Adjudicator: Frank Renton & Raymond Tennant

A healthy entry of 11 bands this year and Penicuik Silver drew the short straw and played first. The opening movement was safe enough but the style was slightly stodgy and some intonation problems were evident. We heard a much better band in the 2nd movement with an excellent cornet solo (from the 3rd man we think) and a confident euphonium. The last movement opened steadily but there was some untidiness in the rhythmic quaver entries. It was a good effort all round and musically quite satisfying. 7 th from the judges was slightly on the harsh side for us but there were enough slips to rule them out of contention. Star player – solo cornet in the 2 nd movement.

Dysart Colliery were making their first appearance for many years and were noticeably under strength, with only 19 players on stage. The first movement was a bit of a struggle for them, with a real lack of togetherness in the ensemble and intonation problems throughout the band. We heard a good cornet solo in the 2nd movement but the accompaniments lacked real security. The start of the last movement was a bit chaotic and the band did well to negotiate their way to the end without further calamity. It was a good effort from some of the younger soloists but overall it lacked direction. 11th place was absolutely correct. Star player – solo cornet.

Dunfermline Town under Steve Duncan made a secure opening and we heard a good bass section. Just a slight touch of poor intonation in the euphs and baris but it was a good 1st movement nevertheless. The 2nd movement opened slightly untidily but the solo cornet was excellent. The horn section and euphonium did well too and this was a well-shaped movement for them. A good start to the last one too and it flowed well all the way to the finish, in spite of a slight touch of untidiness in the repeat. A good reading from the conductor and a performance from the band that was always going to be difficult to beat. In the end their 1st prize was thoroughly deserved. Star player – solo cornet.

Coalburn Silver had a good opening movement, with an especially nice soprano sound sitting nicely above the band. Some untidiness and untunefulness at the start of the 2nd movement could have cost them, but the euphonium solo was excellent. A tidy last movement featured an especially good euphonium counter melody, but once again intonation problems crept in. A good show though that was worthy of the 4th place that they got. Star players – Euphoniums.

Stranraer Brass opened tidily and the sound was good. Just some slight muddiness in the inner parts, but generally good. We heard a few splits at the start of the slow movement and one or two clips in the solo lines. The soprano and euphonium did well though and the back row cornets were first rate. They seemed to find their form on the last movement and the music flowed well to the end. The earlier mistakes were costly though and 8th place wasn’t far away for us. Star players – back row cornets.

A good tempo but a lack of balance and intonation problems were noticeable from the start for Hawick Saxhorn. They did have a fine euphonium player though. More intonation problems at the start of the next one, but the cornet solo was very well played and we liked the way the conductor handled the tempo changes. Some loose entries in number 3, but it settled down well and the horns were especially good. Not their very best but 7th place was right on the mark for us. Star players – horn section.

Dundee Instrumental (St. Margaret’s) made a good solid start and had a nice overall sound and balance. Slight scrappiness at the start of movement 2, cornet and euphonium both did well. Slight intonation problems in the horns just took the shine off it a bit. We felt they tired a bit in the 3rd movement and more intonation problems proved costly, which was a pity because they started so well. 5th from the judges and that was fine with us. Star player – solo euphonium.

Creetown Silver had an understated sound and some of the opening ensemble was inaccurate. Another good euphonium player though. They sounded like a different band in the second movement and it went very well for them, with an especially nice solo cornet well complemented by the euphonium soprano. Alas, they resorted to their previous mode and early entries were very costly for them at the opening and recapitulation in movement 3. Much to commend this but 6th was a good return for them. Star player – solo cornet.

Our tip for victory, Bon Accord Silver B, made a brisk opening and it was well balanced with just a couple of slips from the cornets losing them a few points. Lack of togetherness at the start of the middle movement might have cost them too, but it developed into a nice movement with nice cornet and euphonium solos. The closing movement worked well for them and it flowed nicely to the end, with the horns sounding particularly good. A good reading that could have got a promotion spot if they had been able to eliminate some of the early slips. 3rd place from the adjudicators was pretty close for us. Star player – solo euphonium.

Queensferry High had a nice and clean opening and a big sound was in evidence. A slight bit of hesitance at the start of movement 2, but it recovered well and we heard good solo work all round. Dynamics may have been a shade on the safe side but the movement worked well for them. The 3rd movement was very clean too and they demonstrated a lot of maturity for such a young band. The judges had them 10th, which was a long way from the 2nd place that we gave them. We’re still puzzling over this one. Star player – solo euphonium.

Newlands Concert Brass and Mark Bell were the last to play on Saturday night and what a good performance it was. The first movement all worked for them and we heard a good bass section throughout. Some slips and cornet intonation may have cost them in the 2nd movement but we liked the musical shape and all the soloists were in control. The third movement flowed well too and we heard another good horn section. The build up to the end was terrific and the judges liked them enough to give them 2nd place and a trip to Harrogate. We had them one place lower but it was very close. Star player – Conductor for a terrific reading.

We predicted that this would be competitive and we were right. No doubt about the winners, Dunfermline Town who we had 5th in our prediction. Newlands were very good too and will do well at the finals. Bon Accord B, our tip for the top was 3 rd but we have no idea what happened to Queensferry, who we liked a lot on the day. Another 4 out of 6 for us though, which is the same as 2 out of 3, which we all know isn’t bad.

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