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2014 4BR Awards — Test Piece of the Year

Lots and lots of test pieces were performed in 2014 — some better than others it must be said. So which one was the best of the bunch though?

The nominations from the 4BR team for consideration are...

Oliver Waespi

As if a voice were in them (Oliver Waespi)

The set piece for the top section bands at the Swiss National Championship was a masterful new work of musical maturity from the increasingly influential Swiss composer.

Inspired by a 19th century Wordsworth poem, Waespi captured the elemental majesty, mystery and sheer force of nature that can be found amid the sublime beauty of the Alpine Simplon Pass.  

It is music that gives the brass band the opportunity to express itself in a modern way without losing the essential connection to its traditional tonal textures.


rOBERT sIMPSON

Energy (Robert Simpson)

Over 40 years now since it was first performed, Simpson’s remarkable composition still retains its cutting edge of cerebral difficulty - despite being derived from the simplest of thematic ideas.   

The ability of a MD to increase the pace of the music incrementally without discernible loss of underlying momentum remains an amazingly troublesome thing to do - as was shown at the Butlins Mineworkers Championship this year.  

‘Energy’ was the perfect antidote to the crass, under developed musical bling we were injected with throughout much of 2014.


Simon Dobson 

Journey of the Lone Wolf (Simon Dobson)

Dobson’s evocative work (used at the Belgian Nationals amongst others) was one of the musical delights of 2014 - and deservedly won him his second British Composer Award. 

It was a darkly edged portrait of Bela Bartok’s musical, social and political inspirations, and took the listener on a melancholic trip into the psyche of a much misunderstood composer - from the early folk music explorations, to his lonely time in America and his ultimate, sad death: A man of complex emotions, difficult relationships but undoubted genius.


Stphan Hodel

The Legend of Curupira (Stephan Hodel)

And now for something completely different; a red headed, alcohol swilling, cacked legged, pig riding, eco-warrior Brazilian dwarf.

Hodel’s First Section work at the Swiss Nationals was packed with colour, excitement, mystery, mayhem and sheer unadulterated joyfulness. It asked questions of style and musicianship, of wit and interpretation - all ending up in a samba inspired finale that left everyone in the hall - players and audiences alike - with huge smiles of satisfaction on their faces.


Ed de Boer

Vita Aeterna Variations (Ed de Boer)

A musical triumph in all senses of the word. Not just because the British Open organisers picked it, but they did so knowing it was such a lengthy and demanding work that could only be truly mastered by the very best bands in the world.

Beautifully constructed and developed from a simple theme, De Boer never resorted to artifice or effect; no single bar wasted in the pursuit of its ultimate musical goal.  As a result, the very best bands at Symphony Hall did a magnificent brass band work, full justice.



Foden's Band - St Michaels & All Angels Church

Saturday 25 May • Egerton Road, Ashton on Ribble, Preston PR2 1AJ


St Pinnock Brass Band - Rock Choir Cornwall

Sunday 26 May • Sterts Theatre, . Sterts, . Liskeard, . PL14 5AZ PL14 5AZ


Contest: All England International Masters

Sunday 26 May • The Lighthouse Theatre, Kettering Conference Centre, Thurston Drive NN15 6PB


Lewes, Glynde and Beddingham Brass Band - Eastbourne Bandstand - 1812 concert

Wednesday 29 May • Bandstand, Grand Parade, Eastbourne BN21 3AD


Black Dyke Band - George Lawton Hall, Mossley

Thursday 30 May • George Lawton Hall, Stamford St, Mossley, Ashton-under-Lyne OL5 0HR


Stannington Brass Band

May 23 • A rare opportunity has arisen to join one of Sheffield's leading bands with a vacancy for an EEb TUBA PLAYER to complete our bass section. We have a good band room atmosphere and a calendar of interesting concerts and contests.


Horbury Victoria Band

May 22 • Horbury Victoria Band.. Preparing in good time for section one next year require Solo Euphonium and Front Row Cornet.. A not too busy, friendly and happy band. Rehearsal Wednesday 8pm


Hathersage Band

May 22 • BBb Bass to join in our music making under MD Andy Furmidge. Hathersage Brass Band is a non-contesting band whose friendly members enjoy performing at Village Galas and Fetes as well as several Christmas concerts.


Neil Samuel


Conductor