Saturday 12, 18:35:53
That's it from The Royal Albert Hall and 4BR's live coverage. We hope you've enjoyed the day. There will be interviews and our usual post contest thoughts all to come this week but we leave you with a photograph of Philip Harper with the National Trophy.
Saturday 12, 18:17:10
1. Cory (Philip Harper) (13)*
2. Tredegar (Ian Porthouse) (5)*
3. Carlton Main Frickley Colliery (Phillip McCann) (7)*
4. Brighouse & Rastrick (Prof. David King) (1)*
5. Grimethorpe Colliery (Dr Robert Childs) (19)
6. Woodfalls (Dr Nicholas Childs) (8)
7. Leyland (Michael Bach) (18)
8. Reg Vardy (Russell Gray) (4)
9. Whitburn (Erik Janssen) (14)
10.Flowers (Paul Holland) (9)
11. Foden's (Allan Withington) (17)
12. Milnrow (Mareika Gray) (20)
13. Jaguar Landrover (Dave Lea) (3)
14. Northop Silver (Thomas Wyss) (16)
15. NASUWT Riverside (Ray Farr) (12)
16. Virtuosi GUS (John Berryman) (11)
17. Friary Guildford (Chris King) (2)
18. Kirkintilloch (David Roberts) (15)
19. Tongwynlais Temperance (Steve Sykes) (10)
20. Regent Brass (Alan Duguid) (6)
Best Instrumentalist: David Thornton, (euphonium), Brighouse & Rastrick
Youngest Player: Romana Halstead (Leyland)
* Top 4 pre-qualified for 2014 National Final
Saturday 12, 18:15:54
The band reps are taking to the stage. Not long to go now!!
Saturday 12, 17:32:57
Cory is on stage with Philip Harper ahead of the results which we anticipate at around 18.15
Saturday 12, 17:31:06
The 4 Bars Rest Prediction
2. Grimethorpe Colliery
4. Carlton Main Frickley Colliery
Dark horse Reg Vardy
Saturday 12, 17:22:37
Twenty bands down and and it's the end of a compelling contest in the Royal Albert Hall. Messrs. Read, Broadbent and Morrison are deliberating in the box and we'll be back with our prediction in a few minutes!
Saturday 12, 17:20:49
20. Milnrow (Mareika Gray) [17.03]
The last of the Royal Albert Hall debutantes takes to the stage as the final band of the day.
Th opening Andante unfolds well and there's pathos that exudes an old fashioned charm.
Th MD takes no prisoners in the Allegro Energico which sets off at a brisk pace. The ensemble isn't always immaculate and there's just a touch of harshness about the cornet sound but the essential energy of the music isn't allowed to relax.
There's just a hint of nerves about some of the solos as the exposed nature of the slow music makes itself felt but there's also a real sense of the band trying to conjure with the moods and atmosphere of the score. The reprise of the trombone declamation isn't uniform and the band doesn't quite have the sound to pull off a blazing ending. What it lacks in sound and breadth it makes up for in sheer spirit though. The applause is deservedly warm for a band that has made huge strides under Mareika Gray.
Overall: A debut of credit for Milnrow and the culmination of a remarkable year for the band.
Saturday 12, 16:58:35
19. Grimethorpe Colliery (Dr. Robert Childs) [16.40]
A refined and restrained opening of lyrical quality. Poise and melodic shape in equal measure.
The Allegro energico sets off at the perfect tempo for us. We hear the detail, notably in the cornets and the band seems to have both time and space but never at the expense of drive or excitement. The range of dynamics is ear opening at times and there's a discipline about this that impresses.
Solo lines in the slow music are uniformly fine (what an Eb bass sound!) and Roger Webster and Michael Dodd play with such style and immaculate phrasing.
The reprise of the Allegro is just a touch scrappy art times but the trombone declamation steadies the ship and the reprise of the main theme radiates sound and confidence as Kevin Crockford sings over the top of the band.
Overall: A potent musical statement if ever we've heard one. Bob Childs has made his mark.
Saturday 12, 16:36:28
18. Leyland (Michael Bach) [16:17]
The opening is a gift for Michael Bach's powers of emotional drama and there's an immediate presence about this that grabs the attention.
The Allegro energico sets off at a bristling tempo and its dramatic, life affirming stuff. The music unfolds in a persuasive , engaging fashion and although it threatens to get a touch harsh at times its hard not to get caught in the sweep of the playing.
The melodic lines coalesce so well in the Colla parte and solo cornet sings beautifully. The sense of calm in the Piu lento is palpable and its a well handled transition into the reprise of the Allegro. There just a few miscued entries heard which unsettle the musical picture fleetingly but the MD builds well to the final paragraphs.
There's warmth and dynamic control in the return of the main theme and its a big bold ending.
Overall: A reading of typical intensity from Leyland and Michael Bach. It was brazen stuff at times but high on emotion and adrenalin.
Saturday 12, 16:16:15
17. Foden's (Allan Withington) [15.57]
Anna Hughes Williams takes the top chair in Mark Wilkinson's enforced absence as the performance gets off to a luminous, lyrically compelling start.
The Allegro energico is certainly dynamic but we are not hearing the absolute clarity and balance that marked Tredegar and Cory out earlier in the day. It's still high quality stuff though and Allan Withington cranks the tension up in his own inimitable way.
The transition into the Poco meno mosso is so beautifully dreamy and Anna Hughes Williams shines in the ensuing cornet solo.
What a glorious horn sound in the Serenissima and the band creates such glowing, transparent textures in the Piu Lento as a we head into the reprise of the Allegro. There's an inexorable feeling about the build up to the closing moments and the waves build into a triumphant final pean.
Overall: A curious performance from Foden's. Magical in parts but overall it just didn't catch fire for us.
Saturday 12, 15:53:43
16. Northop (Thomas Wyss) [15.37]
The opening is well shaped and we immediately hear the musical intent of the MD and the band.
The detail in the Allegro Energico is not always clear but again, there's a determination about this that hits home. The trombones are not the most cultured in their declamation of Life Divine and the Alla Marcia doesn't quite exhibit the 'nobilmente' marking of the score.
The Poco meno mosso flows well and although there are one or two uncomfortable moments (soprano), there a hushed atmosphere as we head into the Serenissima.
The return of the Allegro lacks drama and the band seems to audibly tire as it progresses to a restrained final peroration.
Overall: A determined if somewhat monochrome effort from Northop with the physical demands of the score taking their toll as the performance progressed.
Saturday 12, 15:34:59
15. Kirkintilloch (David Roberts) [15.15]
The opening dynamic is a tad heavy for piano but the Allegro Energico sets off at a good pace and although the ensemble is not always absolutely crisp, the momentum is kept up.
The Poco meno mosso is finely shaped and the principal cornet delivers a beautifully intoned solo as we head into the Colla parte. One or two slips start to appear and it needs to move along a little more in the bars preceding the reprise of the Allegro, which in contrast moves briskly onward.
The approach to the end is well paced and the band tries to leave something in the tanks for the concluding bars which are spirited if not displaying the greatest breadth of sound.
Overall: A performance that just lost its way at times but should hold its on in the middle of the table today.
Saturday 12, 15:14:58
14. Whitburn (Eric Janssen) [14.55]
The MD immediately nails his flag to the mast by playing the sentimentalist card in the opening bars which are finely played but milked to the ninth degree.
The Allegro energico sets off at a bristling pace and we are starting to sense that this is a performance that is aiming for the musical extremes of the score. The trombone declamation is big and bold but contrasts effectively with the tender lyricism of the Poco meno mosso and Colla parte. We don't quite sense the mysticism of the Serenissima but the solo playing is generally secure with solo euphonium in particular shining through.
The return of the main theme doesn't entirely gel as the tubular bells player moves the bells to the front of the stage. Its a fine close though to a performance of honesty that could well push for the top six today.
Overall: One for the sentimentalists and a performance of heartfelt emotion.
Saturday 12, 15:11:07
Presenter for the Championships - Simone Rebello
Saturday 12, 14:51:48
13. Cory (Philip Harper) [14.33]
A meltingly lyrical opening as the cornet carillons come through the textures and Philip Harper turns to the sections of his band in turn shaping the melodic lines.
The Allegro Energico is bang on the tempo and the band seems to have all the time in the world to cram the detail into the musical picture. The nuances of the dynamics are so finely observed and trombones declamation of Life Divine is laced with authority.
The Brillante marking that follows the Alla Marcia leaps off the page and precedes a beautifully dreamy transition into the Poco meno mosso. This is such cultured playing. Matthew White sings in his upper euphonium register in the Colla parte and the Serenissimo verges on the spiritual in its touching reverence.
The reprise of the Allegro is so brilliantly detailed. It just bristles and crackles with detail and intent and the pacing of the approach to the reprise of the main theme is perfection. There's so much depth to both the sound and the emotion here with the final pean blazing triumphantly.
Overall: A performance of breathtaking control, detail and pathos. Virtuosity and stunning sound allied with a rich vein of emotion.
Saturday 12, 14:30:28
12. NASUWT Riverside (Ray Farr) [14.12]
A restrained and thoughtfully shaped opening leads into a flying Allegro energico. The dynamic level just masks some of the detail for us although there is quality individual playing on display with an excellent contribution from the band's principal cornet player who shines throughout.
Trombones are not entirely uniform in their declamation and the tension just tends to lapse at times but Ray Farr keeps the music flowing well in the Poco meno mosso and Colla parte.
Increasing slips start to creep in and the atmosphere of the Serenissimo is unsettled as a result. The return of the Allegro energico tends to rush ahead and the cornet section struggles to get the detail in. The dynamics are well controlled at the main theme returns and the band strives to find the breadth required in the concluding bars.
Overall: A creditable performance from the North of England champions with the band's principal cornet player shining through.
Saturday 12, 14:09:26
11. Virtuosi GUS (John Berryman)
It's the end of an era for John Berryman and GUS as the MD takes to the stage for his last contest prior to his retirement.
There's a feeling of poise about the opening and the sounds from the middle of the band emanate warmth. What a fine opening statement.
Th Allegro sets off at just the right tempo and although there are passing minor blemishes, we hear the detail with impressive clarity whilst solo entries are executed cleanly with a fine contribution from soprano cornet.
There's a mix of mystery and reverence about the Serenissimo. What a shame that solo cornet falters in the Colla parte. The band rallies though and the trombones reprise their declamation with dynamic restraint.
Th final paragraphs are bold although as the main theme returns we need to hear more weight and depth of sound. The triumphant ending heralds a burst of affection for John Berryman as the band rises to its feet.
Overall: John Berryman says his farewell in style with a typically workmanlike performance.
Saturday 12, 13:35:32
Interval for approx. 10 minutes
We are at the half way stage in the Royal Albert Hall and it's been an engaging contest so far on a piece that gets to the very heart of what brass band music is all about.
Stamina has been a major factor with few bands succeeding in sustaining their performances to the triumphant strains of the concluding blaze off triumph.
The band that has got closest for us so far is Tredegar with a performance of immense stature with Carlton Main in second place followed by closely by an inspired Reg Vardy and Brighouse and Rastrick
Saturday 12, 13:31:25
10. Tongwynlais Temperance (Steve Sykes) [13.11]
'Ton' goes for the sentimentalists in the audience with a heart on sleeve approach to the opening at one of the slower opening tempi we've heard so far. It's finely balanced though and the restrained lyricism is pulled off with aplomb.
The lid is kept on the dynamic levels in the Allegro Energixo but it flies along. We don't always here the cornet detail with clarity and the trombones declamation isn't quite as one. The Alla Marcia has bags of spirit rather than swagger but there is high quality playing heard.
The Serenessimo has a Tallis like mysticism about it in the last few bars and a series of well executed solos pave the way for the return of the Allegro.
There's a real rush of adrenalin as we approach the final paragraphs and the band builds to a big conclusion but one that just needs a tad more breadth.
Overall: A convincing presentation marked by some playing of real quality. We just needed more breadth at key moments.
Saturday 12, 13:07:51
9. Flowers (Paul Holland) [12.49]
A well negotiated opening if a little solid dynamically for piano. The Allegro Energico fizzes along with gusto although one or two cornet entries also go flying along the way. Its a persuasive approach though and there's a sense that the band is giving the music it's all.
The Alla Marcia could do with a little more swagger but band and MD are going for the excitement here and there's certainly no shortage of momentum.
The transition into the Poco meno mosso is not as luminous as some but solo cornet flows so well and the Colla parte has a nice sense of ebb and rubato. A momentary cornet slip ruffles the calmness but it settles. The tempo just needs to move on a touch for us we approach the reprise of the Allegro Energico.
The run up to the conclusion is again well paced and the dynamics are kept admirably on the leash although the ending lacks breadth with stamina again a factor in a piece that's proving to be a huge blow.
Overall: A persuasive account from Flowers albeit one of many that has noticeably tired in the final stages.
Saturday 12, 12:47:08
8. Woodfalls (Dr. Nicholas Childs) [12.28]
Woodfalls takes to the stage with five basses and one back row cornet player short.
Opening is safely negotiated although the balance sometimes threatens to obscure the key melodic lines.
As with a good number of performance so far some nasty slips poke through the textures as the Allegro Energico takes its toll. There is a good drive about this though and the Alla Marcia is bang on the tempo with just the right feeling of bravura.
Warm sounds emanate from the Poco meno mosso and although the consistency of the solos varies, the best amongst them display impressive quality.
The return of the Allegro Energico is more settled than the opening and there is a clear intention to build the cumulative energy through the Allegro Deciso. The stamina of the band is hit hard in the final stages though as it reaches a tired sounding conclusion
Overall: A convincing musical show from Woodfalls. Not without errors but plenty to impress
Saturday 12, 12:23:25
7. Carlton Main Frickley Colliery (Phillip McCann) [12.06]
The radiant lyricism of the opening suits Philip McCann to a tee and there is warmth and clear affection in the playing from the starts with Kirsty Abbotts immediately making an impression on principal cornet.
The Allegro Energico sets off at a brisk pace although on occasions the ensemble loses a touch of clarity and precision. Fine sounds from the trombones as they enunciate their declamation with authority and there is both energy and momentum on display.
The Poco meno mosso is beautifully done with solo cornet again displaying the full warmth of her sound and the hushed reverence of the Serenissimo is played with heart on sleeve emotion.
Concentration levels take something of a dive in the return of the Allegro Energico as one or two slips start to creep in but the cumulative energy as we approach the final apotheosis is well controlled with well paced dynamics leading to a triumphant conclusion.
Overall: A performance that really played to the musical qualities of the score. Quintessential McCann and Carlton.
Saturday 12, 12:03:32
6. Regent Brass (Alan Duguid) [11.45]
The opening lacks a touch of warmth and as soon as we hit the Allegro Energico the wayward entries start to mount alarmingly. The MD paces the performance well and gradually the band seems to settle. Debutant nerves are playing a part here we suspect.
There a sense of forward motion to the slower music but the inconsistencies of execution continue to undermine with slips that are often glaringly obvious. Its a shame as the MD displays a clear awareness of what is needed but as the performance progresses to a tired sounding conclusion, the score took a serious toll on the Londoners.
Overall: An Albert Hall baptism of Gregsonian fire for Regent Brass.
Saturday 12, 12:01:50
Alan Hope - Appointed first Honorary President of the National Brass Band Championships of Great Britain
Saturday 12, 11:44:48
Apologies: Technical issue with sound quality
5. Tredegar (Ian Porthouse) [11.25]
What a gloriously controlled opening. It emanates warmth, lyrical beauty and control. The Allegro Energico bristles with electricity and flies along at a daring pace. There's a sense that this right on the edge but there's an excitement that we haven't heard so far today.
There's a limpid delicacy to the Tempo primo and the trombones declamation is a life divine indeed. So authoritative. The band sound is immensely strong but also finely balanced and as we move into the expressive paragraphs of the Colla parte, solo euphonium shines as he sings his solo with security and gracious sensitivity. The Serenissimo is so well handled and solo cornet impresses.
The shape of the performance is a key factor here and the return of the Allegro Energico is so well paced. The sense of the music building towards the final pean never ceases and this has us sitting on the edges of our seats for the first time today.
The close is one of majestic triumphalism that has the audience in raptures.
Overall: A performance of immense sound and stature that embodied every facet and nuance of Gregson's radiant score. Magnificent stuff and a fine follow up to Tred's Open wining performance.
Saturday 12, 11:23:45
4. Reg Vardy (Russell Gray) [11.05]
The opening has warmth and pathos and it unfolds with thoughtful purpose as we head into the Allegro Energico. We don't always hear the clarity needed here as the textures become muddied at times with some solo lines sometimes tending to be lumpy.
Trombone declamation could be more authoritative but there's a swagger and shoulders back Britishness that hits the spot in the Alla Marcia.
The Poco meno mosso flows nicely and the band creates an almost pastoral atmosphere that takes us right back to the classics of Holst and VW. Stylistically this seems so right although the execution is not always entirely consistent. Its effective nonetheless though.
And now we want to hear real energy and verve in the return of the Allegro Energico but it doesn't quite happen. Somehow the momentum that was needed to offset the lyrical atmosphere of the central section is missing and we find ourselves willing it on but there is so much about this that gets right inside the spirit of the music as the performance ends in radiant fashion.
Overall: Russell Gray directs with authority and there is so much style and insight heard from Reg Vardy.
Saturday 12, 11:02:25
3. Jaguar Landrover (Dave Lea) [11.45]
Nice horn sound to open and there is a sense of sentimentality that isn't cloying thanks to the tempo moving on. We hear the cornet carillons and the Allegro Energico has momentum and is perfectly pitched in terms of tempo. Ensemble is a touch scrappy at times but the style is right on the money.
Sop slips into the return of the Allegro Energico and trombones have a tendency to rasp in the declamation at the Piu Lento. The Alla Marcia is effective and cornet detail is heard with clarity. Eb bass solo doesn't quite come off. Lovely sounds from solo euphonium in the Serenissimo but elsewhere the slips and errors begin to build.
It's a shame when there is so much to commend in the musicality of the MD's approach.
Individual voices don't always speak with clarity and precision in the reprise of the Allegro Energico and although dynamics are kept well under control the close took its toll on the band's stamina and sound.
Overall: An excellent stylistic approach but a performance that one sensed didn't quite shape up to the band's true capabilities.
Saturday 12, 10:42:16
Apologies: Technical issue with sound quality
2. Friary Guildford (Chris King) [10.24]
A flowing opening although the balance of the solo lines is not always perfect. Soprano is a little too prominent in the picture for us but the transition into the Allegro Deciso is well handled. The odd nasty moment (solo horn) threatens to undermine.
Trombone's tuning in the Piu lento is not always true but the style is well found and there is a bravura about the Alla Marcia that we like. The MD keeps it moving in the Poco meno mosso and the soloists do well until the Colla parte when cracks start to emerge. Tuning also causes problems and solo horn struggles once again.
The transition into the reprise of the Allegro Deciso is good and again the faster music has spirit. It's such a shame that those little slips raise their heads once too often. Stamina takes its toll and we need to hear more breadth and majesty in the final pean.
Overall: A brave attempt from the London and Southern Counties debutantes but one that ultimately fell prey to one too many slips. Plenty to commend in the style and approach though.
Saturday 12, 10:41:12
We have spoken to a delighted David King backstage after the performance of Brighouse and he stated that he felt Brighouse could have done no more for him
It ranks as perhaps the best performance from Brighouse under his command here he said.
A very happy Australian then....
Saturday 12, 10:22:53
Live Comments by Chris Thomas
1. Brighouse and Rastrick (David King)
A beautifully lyrical opening paragraph Maybe a touch more drive needed in the Allegro Energico but the detail is always evident. The contrasts are well handled and the declamation of the trombones impresses.
The 'Nobilmente' marking of the March could be more defined but as we head into the lyricism of the Serenissimo, solo cornet momentarily falters. There are moments of fragility here and the the music just loses its flow on occasions.
The Allegro Deciso recovers the musical picture and the closing moments have pathos as we head into triumphant final apotheosis. Again though it's not without the odd twinge of discomfort.
Overall: Moments of majesty but with an error count that could prove decisive from such an early draw.
Saturday 12, 10:04:09
Brighouse & Rastrick take to the stage to warm applause from the auditorium.
David King waits in the wings looking determined and confident. If he wins from here it will be perhaps his greatest ever contest achievement.
He has done everything else in banding so victory off number 1?
Saturday 12, 09:59:59
Only a few minutes to go now before the West Riding heavyweights take to the stage.
There is a big old crowd in and people are already talking about it being a fight between the Welsh and the forces of the House of York and Lancaster.
Tredegar percussion team looking up to the challenge
There may well be a few others with thoughts of claims to the title though...
Saturday 12, 09:53:07
The hall is beginning to fill up now and there is a real buzz in the air with Brighouse & Rastrick to open proceedings off the number 1 draw.
It's certainly an interesting draw with Open champion Tredegar at 5 and Cory at 13 and a swath of big hitters to close.
Can Brighouse set a marker that cannot be beaten today. We've spoken to David King and he's so confident that his band can do it.
You wouldn't bet against him.
Saturday 12, 09:47:43
Saturday 12, 09:35:08
Brighouse & Rastrick (Prof. David King) 1
Carlton Main Frickley Colliery (Phillip McCann) 7
Cory (Philip Harper) 13
Flowers (Paul Holland) 9
Foden's (Allan Withington) 17
Friary Guildford (Chris King) 2
Grimethorpe Colliery (Dr Robert Childs) 19
Jaguar Land Rover (Dave Lea) 3
Kirkintilloch (David Roberts) 15
Leyland (Michael Bach) 18
Milnrow (Mareika Gray) 20
NASUWT Riverside (Ray Farr) 12
Northop Silver (Thomas Wyss) 16
Regent Brass (Alan Duguid) 6
Reg Vardy (Russell Gray) 4
Tongwynlais Temperance (Steve Sykes) 10
Tredegar (Ian Porthouse) 5
Virtuosi GUS (John Berryman) 11
Whitburn (Erik Janssen) 14
Woodfalls (Dr Nicholas Childs) 8
Saturday 12, 08:06:38
The pre-Nationals hotel buzz at breakfast in London.
Japanese and American tourists wondering about trip to the Houses of Parliament and Buck House, voices from Yorkshire, Lancs and Wales more concerned about the possibility of an early draw.
The last minute preparations are now done - a last run through for the bands and then the action starts at 10.00am.
It promises to be a great day.
Saturday 12, 07:04:46
There is an old memory of years past about the early morning weather in London this morning - a real Edwardian pea- soup, dank and drizzling day.
Hopefully it will all brighten up ahead of the draw at 9.00am, although it would be great to see memories of Old Albert Hall years past with crowds jostling for tickets up Kensington High Street.
There is a great deal of expectancy in the air - and you suspect a memorable contesting day is about to unfold - at least for one band.
Saturday 12, 01:47:40
Friday 11, 18:38:20
A truly superb and enjoyable presentation from Prof Gregson at Regent Hall. It wasn't just an historical guide but a detailed guide to his piece. He knows it is difficult.
Friday 11, 15:11:44
Hello from London. Not the most pleasant of days but we're looking forward to a great day of contesting tomorrow at the Royal Albert Hall.
First though... we're off to Regent Hall.