2005 SIDDIS Championships - Contest retrospective


4BR takes a look back at the premier Norwegian Entertainment Contest, which this year saw the Elite Division title taken by Eikanger.

With 48 bands competing in four sections and ten of them premièring entire programmes, over 50 new works received their first performance at this year's Siddis Brass and it is difficult to think of a musical event anywhere in the world that can make a similar claim, but there is even more to Siddis than the advancement of the brass band repertoire.

The event is spread over three venues throughout Stavanger, the Clarion Hotel (which was also the venue for the well-attended after show party) for Division 1, Lille Konsertsal for Division 3 and the Konserthuset, which hosted Division 2, the Elite Division and the Gala Concert, which was performed by Stavanger. A free shuttle-bus operated throughout the day, connecting the venues.

The draw for all four sections was carried out on Friday evening and the event got underway at 9.00 am in all three halls simultaneously, or that would have been the case if Musikkorpset Gjallarhorn had registered in time for the draw for Division 2. It was still allowed to perform though, effectively being allocated draw number zero and performing 20 minutes before the event was due to start to a very small audience.

The standard of performance in the lower divisions really is quite remarkable and the overriding impression is that every single programme has been given meticulous thought and preparation by the conductors, most of whom appear to be highly trained and accomplished musicians themselves.

Third Division

In a hotly contested Division 3, Skui Brassband, conducted by Henrik Dalhaug, took the honours with a programme that was fairly challenging. It opened with Torstein Aagaard-Nilsen's Introduction, which was followed by Steve Sykes' arrangement of Sweet Georgia Brown, which was well played by tuba soloist, Jan Tore Jacobsen. John Williams' Hymn to the Fallen from Saving Private Ryan led into Barrie Gott's Light Walk and the winning programme closed with Gilbert Vinter's mini test-piece, Challenging Brass.

IMI Brass took 2nd place under Per-Erik Petersen with another interesting choice of music, this time with a strong Salvationist influence. Stephen Bulla's ARC Centenary opened, with Neil Hefti's Cute to follow. Richard Holz's Heralds of Victory led into Alan Silvestri's Feather Theme, in Sandy Smith's arrangement and the band finished with Andrew Mackereth's Keep me Praising.

Both bands had a total of 99 points, but Skui got the decision on a higher score for music.

Manger Old Star brass also performed well, being 3 points ahead of 4th with a programme that included an excellent flugel solo by Jarnfrid Gunnarson and a fine cornet solo by Rut Kongevold.

Second Division

Drawn last, Flesland Musikklag (Hogne Holmås) stormed to victory in Division 2 with a programme that had a strong Latin flavour. It opened with La Fiesta by Chick Corea, which led into the 2nd movement of Gordon Langford's Sinfonietta.

Birthe Engelsen was the excellent flugel soloist in Children of Sanchez and Chick Corea's virtuoso piece, Spain, closed a difficult but very well handled programme. It gave the band a 2-point margin of victory over Gjesdal Brass, conducted by Jonas Skartveit Rogne, who took the traditional approach with a programme that included works by John Williams, Gordon Langford, Ray Farr, Kenneth Downie and Dean Goffin. Again well led and all very well played by the band but not quite enough to take the title on the day.

Division One

There were plenty of challenging programmes in Division 1 and none more so than that of the winner, Oster Brass conducted by Frode Rydland, who played a single work by the conductor. Featuring a number of soloists throughout the band, Nordiske Messingtonar also provided the full ensemble with a number of challenges, but the band was up to the job and adjudicators, Nils Eivind Nikolaisen and Trond Korsgard had no hesitation in awarding them the top prize, with Radøy Brass (Svein Henrik Giske), whose programme was heavily influenced by its conductor and Howard Snell, in 2nd place and the excellent Kleppe Musikklag in 3rd, who played the entire Call of the Cossacks by Peter Graham.

Elite Division

The Elite Division was last to get started in the main hall. Amongst the early bands were impressive performances from Jaren Hornmusikkforening, conducted by Eckhard Baur, who also plays a mean jazz trumpet, and Krohnengen, conducted by Martin Winter. Both bands performed new conceptual works by their conductors and nobody could fail to be impressed by the level of detail to which both had gone in their quests for glory. Krohnengen used a top-class mime artist and dancer in Jarle Solheim throughout its performance of Martin Winter's The Elves' Christmas Party and it did work extremely well. They will consider themselves unfortunate to have finished as low as 7th place.

Oslo Brass Band had a strange programme, with works by two composers, John Williams and Gustav Mahler. Three film scores and Mahler's 3rd Symphony appears to be an unusual mix and that's how it came across. It is a terrific band though, most of its players being from the orchestras in Olso, and in Stian Eilertsen it has a fantastic trumpet/cornet player. Mikal Engen wasn't so bad on tuba either, but he needed to start his solo again when the music blew off the stand and the band's 4th place overall was about right.

Manger Musikklag is also a fine band under Bjorn Sagstad, but putting the entire Rhapsody in Blue on the programme meant there was a lot of time that the band wasn't showing off its true potential when the piano soloist was. 3rd place was possibly on the generous side for Manger as there were a few ensemble problems during the performance too.

Selmer Simonsen and Stavanger put in a performance that deserved to win almost any band contest. Stavanger's reputation precedes it, of course, and the standard of presentation was magnificent. The playing wasn't so bad either and Robin Dewhurst's programme had a nice balance about it that provided the audience with what it wanted. Soprano player, Espen Westby, was featured in a couple of the pieces and there are few bands with someone of his ability in that exposed position. The trombone section (enhanced in one piece by Runar Vaernes, who was on solo euphonium, which he played left handed because of an injury to his right) was also terrific in its piano-accompanied feature. The finisher, Robin Dewhurst's Flight of the Wild Geese, was truly exhilarating and the large audience was convinced that the local favourite would have done enough.

Unfortunately for Stavanger, Eikanger was also on top form and its programme, which included works composed or arranged by Frode Rydland, Svein Henrik Giske and conductor, Reid Gilje, succeeded in showing this great band and its constituent parts off to the absolute maximum. Its opener, Reid Gilje's Hey, Hey!!!, comprised of a fairly simple background melody, which allowed all the band's main players to be individually introduced by name as they stood to do what they do best. It was, indeed, a quite stunning display of virtuosity and invention from a great combination. Much of the programme was in a slightly similar vein, but it was no great surprise when Eikanger was announced as the winner.

That announcement itself was a spectacular affair. What better way to increase the tension than by starting with the band that finished last and working up to the top three, whose representatives then took the stage to await their fate? A huge screen simultaneously displayed the results and the whole affair had a sophisticated ‘Eurovision' feel to it. It works extremely well, though, and it is both informative and thrilling for the audience.

Stavanger's pre-result Gala Concert was equally as impressive as its contest performance and the guest soloists, Espen Westbye, Frank Brodahl and Martin Winter gave a dazzling display of ‘screaming' that would stand scrutiny in any company. All three had earlier performed solos and Martin Winter's control and artistry in Percy Code's Zelda was the equal of anything heard during the day.

Overall, it was a fabulous day of music-making and the organisers, a hard-working group of supporters of Stavanger Band, should be immensely proud of their own achievements as well as the many musical triumphs that the event inspires.

Full results:

Elite Division
Adjudicators: Frode Amundsen & Goff Richards.

1. Eikanger-Bjørsvik Musikklag, (Reid Gilje) 9 (programme), 98 (music) = 107
2. Stavanger Brass Band, (Selmer Simonsen) 9, 97 = 106
3. Manger Musikklag, (Bjørn Sagstad) 7, 94 = 101
4. Oslo Brassband, (Morten Wensberg) 7, 91 = 98
5. Sandefjord Brass Symposium, (John Philip Hannevik) 7, 90 = 97
6. Oslofjord Brass, (Tarjei Grimsby) 5, 89 = 94
7. Krohnengen Brass Band, (Martin Winter) 6, 88 = 94
8. Jaren Hornmusikkforening, (Eckhard Baur) 6, 87 = 93
9. Krokbjør Brass, (Tor Kristian Ravnanger Innbjør) 4, 84 = 88

Solo prize: Stian Eilertsen, trumpet, Oslo Brass.

1st Division
Nils Eivind Nikolaisen & Trond Korsgord.

1. Oster Brass, (Frode Rydland) 9, 96 = 105
2. Radøy Brass, (Svein Henrik Giske) 8, 95 = 103
3. Kleppe Musikklag, (Eirik Gjerdevik) 7, 93 = 100
4. Kopervik Musikkorps, (Melvin White) 8, 92 = 100
4. Sagvåg Musikklag, (Håvard Kroka) 7, 92 = 99
6. Askøy Brass Band, (Egil Magnussen) 7, 91 = 98
6. Sola Brass Band, (Rune Gundersen) 7, 91 = 98
8. Alexander Brass Band, (Morten E. Hansen) 5, 90 = 95
9. Sørum Musikklag, (Christian Tennfjord) 7, 88 = 95
10. Hasle Brass, (Tarjei Gilbrant) 7, 87 = 94
11. Bergen Brass Band, (Helge Haukås) 6, 87 = 93
12. Vennesla Kristne Brass, (David Tellefsen ) 6, 84 = 90
13. Hornorkestret Stavanger, (Geir Karlson) 5, 84 = 89
14. Haukås Musikklag, (Thor-Arne Pedersen) 6, 82 = 88

Solo prize: Jan Kare Nilsen, trombone, Vennesla Kristne Brass.

2nd Division
Major Graham Jones & Torstein Aagaard-Nilsen

1. Flesland Musikklag, (Hogne O. Holmås) 9, 96 = 105
2. Gjesdal Brass Band, (Jonas Skartveit Rogne) 8, 95 = 103
3. Tysnes Musikklag, (Yngve Nikolaisen) 7, 95 = 102
4. Rong Brass, (Stian Svendsen) 7, 94 = 101
5. Stangaland Brass, (Morten E. Hansen) 8, 92 = 100
6. Laksevåg Musikkforening, (Tom Brevik) 6, 91 = 97
7. Musikkorpset Gjallarhorn, (Espen Westbye) 8, 88 = 96
8. Follesø Musikklag, (Jan Arne Pupe) 7, 87 = 94
9. Austrheim-Lindås Musikklag, (Pål Magne Austnes) 7, 86 = 93
10. Arendal & Grimstad Brass, (Siri Jørgensen) 6, 85 = 91
11. Skeie Glad-Brass, (Einar Mæland) 6, 84 = 90

Solo prize: Camilla Sjovoll, cornet, Tysnes Musikklag.

3rd Division
Morten Ovrebekk & Trond Elnes

1. Skui Brassband, (Henrik Dalhaug) 6-1, 94 = 99
2. IMI Brass, (Per-Erik Petersen) 7, 92 = 99
3. Manger Old Star Brass, (Johannes Mangersnes) 8, 90 = 98
4. Hordvik Musikklag, (Knut Emil Mjøs) 7, 88 = 95
5. Rosendal Musikklag, (Yngve Nikolaisen) 6, 88 = 94
6. Eidsberg Brass Band, (Guttorm Langstøyl) 5, 86 = 91
7. Fitjar Musikklag, (Per Olav Paulsen) 6, 84 = 90
8. Hetlevik Musikklag, (Hans Øyvind Lunde) 7, 82 = 89
8. Randaberg Musikkorps, (Geir Ullenes) 6, 82 = 88
10. Ungdomskorpset Samklang, (Pål Austnes) 5, 82 = 87
11. Indre Torungen Brass Ensemble, (Lars Bjørnar Strengenes) 7, 79 = 86
12. Herre Ungdomskorps, (Thorleif Andersen) 5, 80 = 85
13. Langhus Brass, (Idar Torskangerpoll) 6, 79 = 85
14. Grenland Ungdoms Brass Band, (Ketil Klingberg) 5, 78 = 83

Solo prize: Anette Marie Lund, trombone, Langhus Brass.


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