One of the joys of covering the Norwegian National Championships is that you can take a short back stage detour to listen to the bands perform in the Peer Gynt Hall in between the comfort breaks in the main auditorium.
There was plenty to enjoy too as with a mixture of good fortune and logistical planning, we managed to hear quite a few of the bands in the three sections that took place there.
Third Division podium finishers give 4BR a smile
Reid Gilje made it a personal ‘National Double’ in the Third Division on the Friday, as he led Flesland Musikklag, which comes from the area around Bergen’s international airport, to their first National success.
A boldly coloured rendition of ‘Excalibur’ by Jan van der Roost, enhanced by their prize winning percussion section, gave them a two point winning margin over Trondheim Politi’s Brass directed by Espen Andersen, who delivered a high energy performance of Stephen Bulla’s ‘Firestorm’.
Third place went to Gjovik Brass conducted by Thorbjorn Lunde, after they set the early contest marker with a detailed rendition of ‘Psalms & Alleluias’ by Philip Wilby, and which saw their solo cornet player take the ‘Best Soloist’ Prize.
In a contest that featured many ambitious choices of repertoire – some more successful than others – fourth place went to Skui Brass, with an intriguing musical duo of ‘Introduction’ by Torstein Aagaard-Nilsen and ‘Toccata’ by Rolf Wallin.
Behind them came Stangaland’s solid rendition of ‘Princethorpe Variations’ in fifth and Agder’s ambitious account of Vinter’s iconic ‘Spectrum’.
Fourth Division prize winners smile for the camera
There was a Hordaland area clean sweep in the Third Division as Tysnes Musikklag, Hordvik Musikklag and Lyshornet Brass battled it out between themselves for the domestic as well as National bragging rights.
In the end it was a well worked rendition of Philip Sparke’s ‘Portrait of a City’ directed by the vastly experienced Yngve Nikolaisen that saw Tysnes claim the 12,000 Krone first prize.
It was the band’s first National success since 2000 – also conducted by Yngve.
Tysnes was pushed all the way to the finishing line by two ‘back to back’ performances from their rivals earlier in the contest.
Lyshornet in Welsh action...
Hordvik, directed by Eikanger’s euphonium star Patrick Randefalk delivered a solid rendition of ‘Dimensions’ by Peter Graham, which included prize winning contributions from his fine solo euphonium and tuba section.
Meanwhile, the vastly experienced Karl Ole Midtbo led Lyshornet in two contrasting works of ‘David of the White Rock’ and ‘The Call of the Righteous’. (The 4BR Editor just managing to make it into the hall in time to hear the iconic Welsh tune played!)
The final top six places were taken by Flora Bremanger, with an exciting rendition of ‘Dark Side of the Moon’, Musikkorpset Heimdal’s, neatly portrayed ‘Occassion’ by Edward Gregosn, and Imi Brass with the rarely heard, ‘Acolastus’.
The first prize winners in the new Fifth Division
There was a great contesting atmosphere in the fledgling Fifth Division contest where bands full to the brim with enthusiasm and talent provided wonderful entertainment in the Peer Gynt Hall on Friday morning.
In the end the first ever Fifth Division National title and the 7,000 Krone first prize was won by Bertnes Brass conducted by Borre Birkeland, who showed their ambition with a colourful rendition of ‘Laudate Dominum’.
The band’s cornet section won the ‘Best Section’ Award.
It was a performance that proved just good enough to beat off the challenge of Filadelphia Hornokester Dramman, playing Torstein Aagaard-Nilsen’s ‘New Waves’ and ‘The Call of the Righteous’, with Sotra Brass in third, playing, ‘A Celtic Suite’.
Their snare drum player claimed the ‘Best Soloist’ prize.
The final top six places went to Alsvag Brass, who gave a well worked rendition of Malcolm Arnold’s classic ‘Little Suite No 1’ off the number 1 draw to come fourth, with Tysvaer Brass in fifth with their interesting ‘The Saga of Tyrfing’ that followed them on stage.
Fjordbrass Lavik took sixth place rounding off what had been an immensely enjoyable event with a rousing rendition of ‘Dimensions’ under the baton of Jason Burn.
The scene of celebration the stage of the Grieghallen on Saturday night when the result was announced was proof positive that the introduction of the new division has been an overwhelming success.