2005 4BR Awards - Contest Performance of the Year


Here is a real tricky one for you to vote on. What was the very best contest performance you heard during 2005 - and we don't just mean one that took the winners prize either. There is a possible endless selection to choose from...


Literally hundreds to choose from for you here isn't there? Any winning performance - be it in the Fourth Section or Championship level deserves a mention, as well as those performances where the players and especially the audiences thought thrilled the pants off them, but didn't get even a mention from the adjudicators.

This could have been an endless list, but we narrowed out choices down to the five which we thought deserve consideration, and they were: Black Dyke - ‘Journey to the Centre of the Earth' – European Championships; Grimethorpe Colliery (UK Coal) – ‘Rienzi' – Yorkshire Regional Championships; Buy As You View – ‘Eden' – National Championships of Great Britain; Grimethorpe Colliery (UK Coal) – ‘The Night to Sing' – British Open; Eikanger Bjorsvik Musikklag – ‘Riffs and Interludes' – Norwegian Championships.

They are all Championship performances this year as in terms of sheer brilliance it would be hard to beat them anywhere and at any level.

We would add that we could have easily replaced all five with some or all of the following;  Grimethorpe at  London; Dyke at the Open and on the set test at the European; Leyland at London; Stavanger on their set work at the Norwegian Championships; Brisbane Excelsior at the Australian Championships; Gothenburg at the New Zealand Championships; BAYV at Welsh Regional Championships; Valley Brass (Haydock) at Harrogate; Jersey Premier at Harrogate: Wire Brass at Harrogate. Again the list was just about endless and we could have put forward a persuasive case for any and plenty more, so get your thinking caps on. 

Black DykeBlack Dyke – Journey to the Centre of the Earth
European Championships

This was Black Dyke's response to YBS and their ‘Music of the Spheres' which so brilliantly took their rivals to the European title 12 months previously.

Perhaps more musical smoke and mirrors than absolute technical substance, the piece was epic film music for brass band and it was given an epic performance by Black Dyke with all their main players showcasing themselves brilliantly and the ensemble backing them to the hilt. It brought the house down in Holland, and won Dyke the own choice section of the contest by two clear points and seven overall.  Dyke were on sensational form though.

Grimethorpe Grimethorpe Colliery (UK Coal) – Rienzi
Yorkshire Regional Championships

'Rienzi' was not a good test piece, but you still can't take away from Grimethorpe that on the day at Bradford and with a cracking Black Dyke performance already in the adjudicator's thoughts, Richard Evans and the band turned back the clock and produced a stunning performance.

It was a piece that couldn't have suited Grimey and Tricky Dicky any better – it was right up their street, but they still had to produce the goods. You knew it was going well when the MD started wiggle his hips and wear a smile as big as his best cravats – you knew it was going to be a winner when the packed hall just erupted at the end. Pure old fashioned brass band playing of a quality that is so rarely heard today – stunning indeed. 

BAYV logoBuy As You View Band – Eden
National Championships of Great Britain

Everyone knows who the adjudicators thought had won on ‘Eden', but for a huge amount of people in the hall on the day, perhaps the most thrilling and complete performance came from BAYV directed by Dr. Robert Childs.

All the soloists were on excellent form – especially Chris Thomas on trombone and the incredible David Childs on euphonium, and the sense of control and the amount of detail brought from such a difficult score was at times frightening.  In the end it came third, but it could, and possibly should have won. A performance of rare merit and execution.

Grimethorpe Grimethorpe Colliery (UK Coal) – The Night to Sing
The British Open

The winning performance from Black Dyke was perhaps only surpassed on the day by this equally brilliant but almost criminally ignored reading from Allan Withington and Grimethorpe, that was perhaps the only performance that fully realised the intentions of Bram Tovey's score.

Grimey were on the top of their game – both soloists and ensemble, and the MD brought space and time to the lyrical sections in particular and captured the subtly warmth and affection of the humour that so many played as slapstick. They did take a few risks with the music at the very end (the inclusion of pedal notes) but by then the vast majority of the audience knew they had heard the the potential winners.  Not so the judges.

EikangerEikanger Bjorsvik Musikklag – Riffs and Interludes
Norwegian Championships

The standard of performances from the very best bands at the Norwegian Championships this year was as high as anything you would hear anywhere in the world, and Eikanger in particular were on sensational form.

Eikanger are more than most at home performing contemporary music, and ‘Riffs and Interludes' suited their almost orchestral ensemble approach to a tee. Each of the sections of the work unfolded with such accuracy and security, whilst the electronic effects and the use of bells immersed in anti freeze were not seen as gimmicks but as integral parts of the music. It all worked, and revealed a superb composition for brass band that was something of a revelation. Playing as good as this is rare indeed. 


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