2008 Norwegian National Championships - Preview: Second Division


4BR casts its eye over the 13 bands hoping to fight their way out of the Second Division at Bergen.

Geig HallSecond Division
Adjudicators: Paul Farr and Bjorn Sagstad

Friday 8th February (10.30)

Another promising contest in store here in the Second Division with 13 well matched bands.

Last year this contest fell into place quite neatly for the judges with the best bands picking the best pieces to suit their capabilities. If that occurs again then Paul Farr and Bjorn Sagstad should be able to sit back and enjoy the music – and what music it is.

You can’t fault the bands for their ambition this year, what with the likes of ‘Connotations’ and ‘Tallis Variations’ up against ‘The Forest of Dean’ and ‘Firestorm’ to name but a few. 

Last year adjudicator Kim Kofthouse neatly summed up the judging process by saying it was like making comparisons between apples and pears, oranges and bananas. Let’s hope Paul and Bjorn are up to date with their fruit shopping then.

Who do we think will win? Find out at the bottom of the page.  

Alexander Brass Band
Sverre Stakston Olsrud

National Record:
2007: 11th in First Section (Morten E. Hansen) (rel)
2006: 5th (Morten E. Hansen)
2005: 9th (Morten E. Hansen)
2004: =5th (Morten E. Hansen)
2003: 10th in Elite Division  (Morten Hansen) (rel)
2002: Winners of First Division (prom)
2001: Winners of Second Division (prom)
2000: 8th in Second Division
1999: 11th in First Division (rel)
1998: 7th in First Division
1997: Winners of Second Division (prom)
1996: 3rd in Second Division
1995: Winners of Third Division (prom)

Overall Record:
Winners of First Division 2002
Winners of Second Division 2001, 1997
Winners of Third Division 1995

Last Year: 11th in First Division 

Own Choice Selection:
2007: English Heritage
2006: Between the Two Rivers
2005: The Holy War

Alexander have seen both the ups and downs at this contest over the years, and last year they had a bit of a down in coming 11th after their performance of ‘English Heritage’ didn’t find favour with the judges due mainly to being in turns either brilliant or awful.  

This year they will be directed by Sverre Stakston Olsrud, and the new partnership certainly got off to a decent start at SIDDIS where they came 7th in the First Division. That should be a good starting point for better things ahead.   

Brøttum Musikkforening
Erling Myserth

National Record:
2007: 4th (Thorbjørn Lunde)
2006: 10th in First Division (Thorbjørn Lunde) (rel)
2005: 6th (Thorbjørn Lunde)
2004: 9th (Thorbjørn Lunde)
2003: Winners of Second Division (prom)
2002: 8th in First Division
2001: 3rd
2000: 9th in First Division

Overall Record:
Winners of Second Division 1999, 2003

Last Year: 4th 

Own Choice Selection:
2007: Diversions on a Bass Theme
2006: Chivalry
2005: Montage

Brøttum put the breaks on their fall through the divisions here last year when they came a very encouraging 4th under the direction of Thorbjørn Lunde. Their performance of ‘Diversions on a Bass Theme’ didn’t quite appeal to us last year but it had an authoritative stamp and if they can reproduce that here again then they could well be looking towards a podium finish or better.

Not a great result at SIDDIS where they came 14th in the First Division, so perhaps they still have a little bit of work to do before a return to the higher section is on the cards.   

Follesø Musikklag
Rune Hannisdal

National Record:
2007: 10th in First Division (Eirik Gjerdevik) (rel)
2006: Winners of Second Division (Egil Magnussen) (prom)
2005: 9th (Jan Arne Pope)
2004: 3rd in Third Division (Jan Arne Pope) (prom)
2003: 6th
2002: 10th
2001: 6th
2000: DNC

Overall Record:
Winners of Second Section 2006

Last Year: 10th in First Division (rel)

Own Choice Selection:
2007: Royal Parks
2006: Kaleidoscope
2005: Firestorm

Follesø dropped through the relegation trap door last year after their performance of ‘Royal Parks’ didn’t cut the mustard with the judges, especially in the middle section which lacked pathos. 

After the victory of 2006 the step up in class perhaps came a touch too soon, and it may take a bit of hard work and inspiration from new MD Rune Hannisdal to get them back on track. 8th place at SIDDIS wasn’t great but hope springs eternal and a decent own choice selection might prove beneficial.  

Gjesdal Brass Band
Jonas Skartveit Rogne

National Record:
2007: 8th (Reid Gilje)
2006: 2nd in Third Division (Christian Tenfjold) (prom)
2005: 8th (Russell Gray)
2004: 10th (Russell Gray)

Last Year: 8th 

Own Choice Selections:
2007: Firestorm
2006: Festivity
2005: The Long Ships 

Gjesdal are continuing to move in the right direction and they put in a fine account of Bulla’s ‘Firestorm’ last year to end up in 8th place under the direction of Reid Gilje. We had them right up in the prizes but it didn’t really make a mark with the judges and we felt they were a touch unlucky.

The band also took another step in the right direction under new MD Jonas Skartveit Rogne when they came 4th in the Second Division at SIDDIS. Another small step towards the top six may well be on the cards if they get things right once more then.   

Hornorkesteret Stavanger
  Clive Zwanswiniski

National Record:
2007: 5th (Geir Karlson)
2006: 4th (Geir Karlson)
2005: 8th (Geir Karlson)
2004: 11th in First Division (Russell Gray) (rel)
2003: 8th
2002: 2nd in Second Division (prom)
2001: 4th
2000: 5th 

Last Year: 5th

Own Choice Selections:
2007: Chivalry
2006: Variations on a Ninth
2005: The King of Elflands Daughter

Hornorkesteret Stavanger put in another fined performance here last year when they produced an authentic technical romp through Martin Ellerby’s ‘Chivalry’ which featured some excellent euphonium playing. 

This time the splendidly named Clive Zwanswiniski takes the baton with the ambition for another top six place or even better.   After the poor result at SIDDIS where they came 10th in the Second Division they may need to be on the top of their form.   

Kopervik Musikkorps:
Simon Dobson

National Record:
2007: 2nd in Third Division (John Philip Hannevik) (prom)
2006: Winners of Fourth Division (Selmer Simonsen) (prom)

Overall Record:
Winners Third Division 1989 

Last Year: 2nd in Third Division

Own Choice Selection:
2007: Trittico
2006: Voyage of Discovery - Goff Richards

Could well be an interesting combination this. The talented Simon Dobson makes his first appearance here with Kopervik and after two top class performances in the past two years under two of the best up and coming conductors in the land he has a couple of hard acts to follow. Last year’s effort on ‘Trittico’ was hallmarked by excellent ensemble quality and classy soloists.

The band’s past success here has been based on two craftily chosen own choice selections and another one could be the key. 

Musikkorpset Gjallarhorn
Espen Westbye

National Record:
2007: Winners of Third Division (Espen Westbye) (prom)
2006: 6th (Espen Westbye)
2005: 9th (Rolf Aksel Gilje)
2004: 11th in Second Division (Alan Fernie) (rel)
2003: 6th
2002: 3rd
2001: 5th
2000: 12th in First Division (rel)

Overall Record:
Winners of Second Division 1980, 1989, 1996
Winners of Third Division 2007 

Last Year: Winners of Third Division

Own Choice Selections:
2007: The Land of the Long White Cloud
2006: Excalibur
2005: Blazon 

Musikkorpset Gjallarhorn were clear winners of the Third Division title last year with an excellent performance of ‘Land of the Long White Cloud’ thathad all the hallmarks of excellent preparation and quality execution.  

Directed by the talent Espen Westbye they are surely one of the favourites to do well here this year too especially after they showed fine form at SIDDIS where they came 3rd.  Ones to watch out for perhaps? 

Sagvåg Musikklag
Havard Kroka

National Record:
2007: 10th (Havard Kroka)
2006: 7th (Havard Kroka)
2005: 10th (Michael Fowles)
2004: 8th (Michael Fowles)
2003: 9th First Division (rel)
2002: 5th
2001: 9th
2000: 8th
1999: 8th 

Overall Record:
Winners of First Division 1995

Last Year: 10th 

Own Choice Selections:
2007: A London Overture
2006: Blitz
2005: Music for the Common Man

Sagvåg Musikklag dropped a few places last year after their performance of ‘A London Overture’ never quite came off as they would have hoped, although it did improve greatly after a disappointing opening section that surely undermined their chances of coming any higher. 

Havard Kroka directs once more and they will be hoping that perhaps they can once more catch the ears of the judges. 6thh place at SIDDIS perhaps gives an indication on current form of where they may end up, but if they click they may push further towards the prizes.    

Skui Brass Band
Michael Antrobus

National Record:
2007: 3rd in Third Division (Henrik Dalhaug) (prom)
2006: 10th (Henrik Dalhaug)
2005: 12th (Trond Nilsen)
2004: 3rd in Fourth Division (Trond Nilsen) (prom)
2003: 3rd
2002: DNC
2001: DNC
2000: DNC

Last Year: 3rd in Third Division (prom)

Own Choice Selections:
2007: Symphony of Marches
2006: Renaissance
2005: Partita Postcards from Home 

Skui Brass is certainly making moves in the right direction and have engaged the highly experienced Michael Antrobus to lead them this year.

Last year they pushed themselves to the limit with Vinter’s ‘Symphony of Marches’ and it paid off as it gained them 3rd place and promotion. It was a performance full of style and rhythmic control even if it was edge of the seat stuff at times.  The band also showed good form at SIDDIS where they came 8th in the First Division, so they could well feature here if they can play like that once more.   

Stangaland Brass
Reid Gilje

National Record:
2007: 6th (Yngve Nikolaisen)
2006: 9th (Eirik Gjerdevik)
2005: 6th (Morten E. Hansen)
2004: 10th (Morten E. Hansen)
2003: 12th
2002: 4th
2001: 10th
2000: Joint 5th

Last Year: 6th  

Own Choice Selections:
2007: Variations on a Ninth
2006: Trittico
2005: Tallis Variations

Stangaland are still bobbing about in the middle reaches of this division, but the appointment of the talented and experienced Reid Gilje may just be the right move to finally push the band towards the podium places. 

Vinter didn’t quite work for them last year (it was well enough played but just needed a touch more Vinter wit) so it will be interesting to see what they choose this time around.  They may have to up their form from SIDDIS though where they came a disappointing 9th.  

Tysnes Musikklag
Yngve Nikolaisen

National Record:
2007: 9th (Yngve Nikolaisen)
2006: 3rd (Eirik Gjerdevik)
2005: 2nd in Third Division (Yngve Nikolaisen) (prom) 
2004: 12th (Yngve Nikolaisen)   (rel)
2003: 5th
2002: 11th
2001: 12th
2000: Winners of Third Division (Yngve Nikolaisen) (prom)

Overall Record:
Winners of Third Division 2000 

Last Year: 9th

Own Choice Selections:
2007: The Year of the Dragon
2006: A London Overture
2005: The Plantagenets 

Tysnes perhaps over stretched themselves last year in picking ‘Year of the Dragon’ but you couldn’t fault them on their ambition. A fine trombone soloist was a feature but an under speed finale ruined their chances of coming any higher than 9th.

They may need more than ambition though if they are to push back up towards the top end of the prize list this year, so it will be interesting to see what piece they go for.  No SIDDIS outing to gauge form so a bit of a dark horse?  

Vennesla Kristne Brass
Vidar Lovbrotte
National Record:

2007: 7th (Bjorn Breistein)
2006: 12th in First Division (David Tellefsen) (rel)
2005: 10th (David Tellefsen)
2004: Winners of Second Division (David Tellefsen) (prom)
2003: 10th in First Division (rel)
2002: Winners in Second Division (prom)
2001: 10th in First Division (rel)
2000: 3rd
1999: 4th 

Overall Record:
Winners of Second Division 2002, 2004 

Last Year: 7th 

Own Choice Selections:
2007: Tallis Variations
2006: The Pilgrim
2005: Journey into Freedom

Vennesla tasted the rarefied atmosphere of the First Section in 2005 and 2006 and found it just a bit too uncomfortable for them, and their return to this level saw them put in a solid performance last year in coming 7th playing ‘Tallis Variations’ which although technically proficient lacked for warmth. 

Vidar Lovbrotte now has the job to try and push them back towards the prizes at this level and they have done it before – and not so long ago. No SIDDIS to show how they currently stand, but they may be quietly confident.   

Ørskog Brass
John Hudson

National Record:
2007: 3rd (John Hudson)
2006: 6th (Henrik Dalhaug)
2005: 12th in First Division (Michael Antrobus) (rel)
2004: 4th  (Michael Antrobus)
2003: 2nd Second Division
2002: 7th
2001: 11th in First Division
2000: 2nd

Last Year: 3rd

Own Choice Selections:
2007: English Heritage
2006: Trittico
2005: Five Blooms in a Welsh Garden

Could this be the year when Ørskog make the breakthrough and return to the First Division for the first time since 2001 – if last year’s fine performance is built on then they could well be celebrating just that. 

John Hudson did a fine job last year on a piece that he knew inside out of course (and which featured Alan Morrison no less on third cornet), so it will be interesting to see what they pick this time around.  

Own Choice Selections:

A.      Natalis (Ellerby)  
B.      Trittico (Curnow)  
C.      The Plantagenets (Gregson)  
D.      The Present Age (Condon)   
E.       Firestorm (Bulla)
F.       Tallis Variations (Sparke) 
G.       Forest of Dean (Bourgeois) 
H.       Tallis Variations (Sparke)
I.       Connotations (Gregson)  
J.       The Forest of Dean (Bourgeois) 
K.       Diversions (Sparke) 
L.       Connotations (Gregson)
M.      Dances and Alleluias (Sparke)  

2007 Result: 

1. Jølster Musikklag (Arvid Anthun) - 95
2. Tertnes Amatørkorps (Tormod Flaten) - 93
3. Ørskog Brass (John Hudson) - 91
4. Brøttum Brass (Thorbjørn Lunde) - 90
5. Hornorkesteret Stavanger (Geir Karlsson) - 89
6. Stangaland Brass (Yngve Nikolaisen) - 88
7. Vennesla Kristne Brass (Bjørn E. Breistein) - 87
8. Gjesdal Brass Band (Reid Gilje) - 86
9. Tysnes Musikklag (Yngve Nikolaisen) - 84
10. Sagvåg Musikklag (Håvard Kroka) - 83
11. Tromsø Brass (Robert Skoglund Jensen) - 81
12. Flesland Musikklag (Svein Henrik Giske) - 80
13. Bergen Brass Band (Helge Haukås) - 78

Soloist prize: Eb tuba, Ørskog Brass
Best section: Trombones, Jølster Musikklag 

4BR Prediction:

It could very well be a close old contest this one, but there are still a few form horses here that we think will make a mark. 

We put our hard earned Krone on an up and coming band and last year’s impressive Musikkorpset Gjallarhorn may be worth a punt.  Pushing them all the way could well be the likes of Kopervik and Hornorkesteret Stavanager.
There are so many bands to choose from that it could be difficult if they al play to form, but we opt for a top six finish for Folleso, Brottum and Orskog with Alexander as our dark horses.  

1. Musikkorpset Gjallarhorn
2. Kopervik Musikkorps
3. Hornorkesteret Stavanger
4. Follesø Musikklag
5. Brøttum Musikkforening
6. Ørskog Brass

Dark Horse: Alexander Brass


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