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2018 British Open Championship
As it happened

All the action from the 22018 British Open Championship — As it happened

Tuesday 11, 09:34:48

Presentations


1st. Cory (Philip Harper)


2nd. Valaisia Brass Band (Arsene Duc)


3rd. Brighouse & Rastrick (Prof. David King)


4th. Eikanger-Bjorsvik Musikklag (Bjarte Engeset)


5th. Black Dyke (Prof. Nicholas J. Childs)


6. Leyland (Thomas Wyss)


Monday 10, 18:56:24

An absolute stunner!

This is what the the three judges wrote about Cory's winning performance:

Good atmospheric opening—fine control from all players. Fabulous euph euph at 24.

26—so clear!

In Cold Blood—fine sounds. Great solo trom and xylo—splendid intensity all through as well as detail.

All so good. Slight pushing at 160, but so exciting. 199—Death bell is just right and great dim by solo horn.

Off stage is just right too. Chorale is splendidly sombre and well controlled.

230—nice shaped, euph line is affecting and a lovely lilt in the cornet solo. Beautiful baritones and so well shaped and musical.

245—shame about the slip, but a small blemish on a beautiful face is not ugly!

277—fine sop. 292—good groove here

321—well done solo cornet. Good sop sounds and well controlled cornet duet at 362. Rit in 375??? Exciting and brilliant close.

An absolute stunner!

It’s a close call so far, but your slow playing was superlative, notched you in front.

Stephen Roberts


Bar 10—don’t breath there Euph—tuned perc maybe a bit too much—but lovely work from soloists.
15 (tick)

24—good
26—well delivered
28—good pace and detailing
59—brisk tempo and style. Trom good—xylo fine—good ensemble.
Quality playing this — into 10/8.
154—all measured
160—brilliant—very assured and with great panache.
183 (tick)
192—bold sound and style
199—well matched chord—nice links to (Mvt) 3.
Cornet sounds off stage (at last)—v(ery) good quality cornets.
213—nice blend and good dynamics—horn solo well well placed. Bass trom just slightly louder than others—but excellent ensemble and dynamics. 230—don’t overcook. Euph—lovely touch of rubato.
239—some lovely playing here—just ebb and flow without losing pace and line
247—beautiful
257—unlucky bari
260—nice tone nd movement
271—nice transition
277—big moment!

(Mvt) 4—Good tempo, quality, poise and space. 345—hi-hat back a bit. 354—huge sound—but controlled.
362—great control
369—tempi so well chosen—driving you at this fastest tempo—reflective and controlled—building to an amazing display of raw power and drive

This was a really top quality performance that had some rare moments of magic that set it apart. I particularly enjoyed the way each tempo and style was so well judged.

Fantastic performance

Rob Wiffin


Beautifully delivered cornet/euph, tastefully shaped.

Piu mosso has the right movement.
Sop/Euph impress 23, 24. Flug is expressive, contrasted by the razor sharp demi semis in cornets.
Agitato—so much energy, drive, determination and class. 84—Trom fine, and xylo. Bucket-loads of detail page after page.

183 — has such poise and an air of authority. 199 melts away to perfection.
Memoriam—effective cornet calls. 213—Haunting sounds, wonderful. 230 — so much care, this is very touching, you maintain such a beautiful atmosphere.
The music builds with clear lines and emotion. Energico dances along. So much detail. 322—awesome cornet!

Meno mosso works perfectly, as does Maestoso, great colour from percussion too. Presto allows you to show off—its suits you—fantastic!!

WOW.

A majestic performance, completely brilliant and moving.

Thank you all

Paul Holland


Saturday 8, 21:05:08

Champions


Saturday 8, 19:02:22

Results


Cory cheer their victory in the foyer and bar area!

1. Cory (Philip Harper)
2. Valaisia Brass Band (Arsene Duc)
3. Brighouse & Rastrick (Prof. David King)
4. Eikanger-Bjorsvik Musikklag (Bjarte Engeset)
5. Black Dyke (Prof. Nicholas J. Childs)
6. Leyland (Thomas Wyss)
7. Carlton Main Frickley Colliery (Luc Vertommen)
8. Grimethorpe Colliery (Allan Withington)
9. Fairey (Garry Cutt)
10. Foden's (Michael Bach)
11. Desford Colliery (LMTF) (Michael Fowles)
12. Tredegar (Ian Porthouse)
13. Aldbourne (Dr David Thornton)
14. Flowers (Phillip McCann)
15. Wingates (Paul Andrews)
16. Hammonds Saltaire (Morgan Griffiths)
17. Whitburn (Florent Didier)
18. Rothwell Temperance (David Roberts)*
19. Co-op Funeralcare (Frans Violet)*

Stanley Wainwright Memorial Trophy: Vincent Bearpark (Principal Cornet) — Valaisia Brass Band
Brian Evans Memorial Trophy: Jon-Vegar Sole Sundal (Eikanger-Bjorsvik Musikklag)
Geoffrey Whitham Memorial Trophy: Philippe Schwartz (Brighouse & Rastrick)

*Relegated to Grand Shield


Saturday 8, 18:33:08

Final thoughts & Prediction


Bert Appermont composer of 'A Brussels Requiem' with the British Open Shield

What can I say! This has simply been one of the most fascinating and enjoyable British Open contests for a long, long time.

The standard has been scintillating, with fine performances extending well down below the top six, whilst at the top of the pile, we have heard some very special playing indeed.

Bert Appermont's Brussels Requiem has engaged both the audience and the bands with the players clearly demonstrating their enjoyment of the music and the audience responding in enthusiastic fashion.

The result could be very close indeed although for me there is little doubt about the winner. Cory were on another level today, delivering a performance of blistering precision and gravitas that they will be hoping will see the famous shield mike it's way back from Switzerland to the valleys.

Christopher Thomas goes for a top six of:

1) Cory
2) Brighouse
3) Eikanger
4) Valaisia
5) Fodens
6) Leyland

Dark Horses Carlton Main and Grimethorpe

Steven Mead's top six:

1) Cory
2) Eikanger
3) Brighouse
4) Valaisia
5) Leyland
6) Fodens


Saturday 8, 18:01:23

19. Leyland (Thomas Wyss)


Leyland on stage

A warmly expressive opening with the tiniest of slips along the way. This is encouraging though and forms an impressive appetiser for a driven In Cold Blood to follow.

This has so much drive and energy, allied with excellent use of the dynamics, especially at lower levels. There's impressive detail too although just a tendency to push the upper volume too far at times, masking the detail below.

There is a deeply felt felt warmth about the trombone chorale of In Memoriam and this is moving in its simplicity and musical honesty. There is a lovely flow to the music and again, a pathos and sincerity about the playing that engages.

The dynamism of In Cold Blood once again comes into play in the final movement, but despite one or two scrappy passages, it is the spirit of uplifting affirmation that this time carries us along, prefacing a fine conclusion.

Overall: A good show from Leyland to cap what has been a wonderful contest. This could well surprise a few people.

Christopher Thomas


Thomas Wyss conducting Leyland

Steven Mead — Criteria Mark Sheet

Criteria Mark Sheet
Marks by Steven Mead

Technical accuracy: 18
Rhythmic precision and clarity: 20
Control of full dynamic range: 19
Ensemble precision: 19
Tuning/intonation: 19
Band sound quality: 19
Balance/clarity of textures: 19
Quality of soloists: 19
Overall understanding: 19
Total musicality from the band: 19

Total: 190

Short Comment:
Wow, Leyland pull out an absolute stunning show right at the end of the contest. The best most complete conformance I've heard from them in many years. Could and should force its way into the top six. Very consistent, great reading, and the players delivered in spades.


Leyland backstage


Saturday 8, 17:59:11

#BandingwithBecky


Saturday 8, 17:58:37

Iwan Fox talks to Don Owen of Stomvi


Saturday 8, 17:41:39

18. Fairey (Garry Cutt)


Fairey in performance

A quality opening cornet solo and the first paragraphs move along well. This is a fine opening marked by a carefully created atmosphere and thoughtfully shaped melodic lines.

In Cold Blood builds inexorably and there is both drive and drama in the music that follows with detail always evident and wide ranging dynamics that are used to telling effect.

In Memoriam loses its way a little part way through and our interest wanes but there are also some lovely touches of colour along the way.

What a shame that there are slips in the two solo cornets towards the end but this has otherwise been an impressive final movement, capping an intelligent and dynamically articulated account.

Overall: A fine account from Fairey and one that should hold its own amongst very tough competition today. So well put together and projected with solidity.

Christopher Thomas


Garry Cutt conducting Fairey

Steven Mead — Criteria Mark Sheet

Criteria Mark Sheet
Marks by Steven Mead

Technical accuracy: 18
Rhythmic precision and clarity: 19
Control of full dynamic range: 19
Ensemble precision: 19
Tuning/intonation: 19
Band sound quality: 19
Balance/clarity of textures: 19
Quality of soloists: 17.5
Overall understanding: 18
Total musicality from the band: 18

Total: 185.5

Short Comment:
Very good solid performance from Fairey, but never one really fired the imagination or told a story. Very good band playing, well directed, and generally an excellent sense of ensemble throughout. Pretty tight, pretty secure.


Fairey take the stage


Saturday 8, 17:14:03

17. Co-op Funeralcare (Frans Violet)


In performance — Co-op Funeralcare

The opening bars are marred by mistakes but it is the the opening of In Cold Blood where the wheels nearly come off fully. For one horrible moment the performance teeters on the brink of collapse with the band clearly divided in two different places before Frans Violet somehow manages to regain control.

It's a nerve wracking moment and one that the band will wish to forget.

With the moment of panic over things settle to some degree but those mistakes that have dogged the performance so far resurface at various times for the rest of the performance in perhaps the most fragile of all of the performances we have heard today.

Overall: Sadly not Co-Op's finest hour. It recovered to some degree later in the piece but the damage was done early on for the Scots.

Christopher Thomas


Frans Violet conducting Co-op Funeralcare

Steven Mead — Criteria Mark Sheet

Criteria Mark Sheet
Marks by Steven Mead

Technical accuracy: 14
Rhythmic precision and clarity: 16
Control of full dynamic range: 16
Ensemble precision: 16
Tuning/intonation: 16
Band sound quality: 17
Balance/clarity of textures: 17
Quality of soloists: 16
Overall understanding: 16
Total musicality from the band: 15

Total: 159

Short Comment:
Not a great day at the office for the Co-op . Almost came to a stop at the first Allegro with the band in two different places. Such a pity, and I hope this band can bounce back very quickly from what will have been a less than thrilling feeling for them.


Frans Violet watches form the wings


Saturday 8, 17:13:21

#BandingwithBecky

Iwan Fox talks to John Beeston of Brass Band Insurance Services


Saturday 8, 16:56:15

16. Grimethorpe Colliery (Allan Withington)


In performance — Grimethorpe

There is a folk song like simplicity about the opening that is immediately engaging, yet there are also noticeable slips from several areas of the band that are too numerous to ignore.

In Cold Blood is as technically secure as one would expect from Grimethorpe but again there are several slips along the way, notably in the trombone solo, whilst the playing isn't displaying the sheer menace and unbridled energy of the front runners so far.

There is pathos in In Memoriam and with a finely balanced trombone chorale allied with soloists that are now delivering more consistently, this is very much the best of the performance so far with a searing climax at its height.

As A New Dawns, the band finds a new head of steam and this is now seriously motoring. The ending is stirring in its excitement and spirit of affirmation but the damage was done early for Grimethorpe with those multiple slips likely to push the band down the order.

Overall: A great approach from Allan Withington but early gremlins are likely to cost Grimethorpe a serious prize today.

Christopher Thomas


Allan Withington conducting Grimethorpe Colliery

Steven Mead — Criteria Mark Sheet

Criteria Mark Sheet
Marks by Steven Mead

Technical accuracy: 18
Rhythmic precision and clarity: 19
Control of full dynamic range: 19
Ensemble precision: 18
Tuning/intonation: 19
Band sound quality: 20
Balance/clarity of textures: 19
Quality of soloists: 18
Overall understanding: 19
Total musicality from the band: 19

Total: 188

Short Comment:
Some stunning sounds from Grimethorpe . Not all details in place, but when they shone, they were incredible. A few regrets of what could've been, but they should be close to the top six today. A great reading from Alan Withington.


Grimethorpe settle to play


Saturday 8, 16:51:05

#BandingwithBecky


Saturday 8, 16:41:13

15. Cory (Philip Harper)


On stage — Cory

The opening cornet solo is so beautifully intoned...effortless in its pliability and ease whilst the sounds that follow are imbued with a glowing, gloriously balanced warmth. What a fine opening this is.

In Cold Blood is simply a masterclass in ensemble playing. The technical facility, the level of detail and the sheer precision of the ensemble playing takes the breath way with remarkable levels of inner detail heard through the textures. Woweeee. All we can do is sit back and listen in sheer admiration.

Wonderful off stage cornets at the opening of In Memoriam are followed by a trombone chorale of the most gloriously sonorous gravitas. This is so gripping and musically compelling. Soloists are on top form and the emotion is palpable...you'd be inhuman not to be moved by this.

A New Day motors from the off and again the precision of the ensemble work and the level of detail audible is simply stunning. There are things here we are hearing for the first time today. And what a close. We are left breathless.

Overall: Cory at the peak of its immense powers. My goodness this was a performance to cherish on every single level but perhaps most of all for its sheer emotion.

Christopher Thomas


Philip Harper conducting Cory

Steven Mead — Criteria Mark Sheet

Criteria Mark Sheet
Marks by Steven Mead

Technical accuracy: 19
Rhythmic precision and clarity: 20
Control of full dynamic range: 20
Ensemble precision: 19
Tuning/intonation: 20
Band sound quality: 20
Balance/clarity of textures: 19
Quality of soloists: 20
Overall understanding: 20
Total musicality from the band: 20

Total: 197

Short Comment:
A blistering, magical performance from the Cory Band. Just sensational brass playing, sublime music making, had that wow factor that the absolute best performances in a lifetime can have. Rhythmic vitality at the absolute highest level. Soloists sublime, principal cornet and principal trombone should have the freedom of Wales! Perhaps the Cory Band have just won the 2018 British Open.


Cory taking the stage


Saturday 8, 15:58:40

14. Black Dyke (Professor Nicholas J.Childs)


Black Dyke in performance

The merest scuff in the opening bar but an otherwise beautiful opening cornet solo. Tuning is a tad suspect in the horns but there's a musical presence to this that moves forward fluidly.

In Cold Blood is May we fully paced and measured albeit with the initial trombone solo not entirely convincing. The band sound is magnificent, as is the ensemble although that same band sound sometimes makes some of the inner detail as the dynamics increase.

There are luminous sounds in In Memoriam and the gently entwining musical lines are exquisitely shaped. There are also fleeting, almost inaudible fragilities at times but the emotion is palpable as the climax of the movement reaches its peak.

The final movement is certainly exciting but there is also a good deal of detail masked beneath the band sound...which at times almost lifts the roof such is its volume.

Overall: A fine, but a times edgy performance from Dyke but one that doesn't leave us convinced that it will find a place amongst the top three today.

Christopher Thomas


Professor Nicholas J.Childs conducting Black Dyke

Steven Mead — Criteria Mark Sheet

Criteria Mark Sheet
Marks by Steven Mead

Technical accuracy: 18
Rhythmic precision and clarity: 19
Control of full dynamic range: 17
Ensemble precision: 19
Tuning/intonation: 19
Band sound quality: 19
Balance/clarity of textures: 19
Quality of soloists: 17
Overall understanding: 18
Total musicality from the band: 18

Total: 183

Short Comment:
What will the judges make of Black Dyke's performance. Very exciting at times, but from my vantage point a lot of it was overblown, some of the sounds not of the top quality, and a couple of solos not going in as we would expect. Undoubtedly a great band, but not on top form by today's showing.


Black Dyke take the stage


Saturday 8, 15:54:56

#BandingwithBecky


Saturday 8, 15:34:20

13. Foden's (Michael Bach)


Foden's in performance

A silky, delicately laced opening cornet solo sets the scene as the opening unfolds with warmth and pathos.

That pathos is the perfect counter foil to the venom of In Cold Blood which is informed by excellent use of the dynamics, a superb jazzily hued trombone solo from John Barber and a final climax that finds a shattering intensity at its peak.

In Memoriam opens with a sonorous, beautifully balanced trombone chorale and Michel Bach clearly tries to find every last ounce of emotion in the music. The lines just need to flow a little more freely at times perhaps but there is such intensity in the final climax as we head into the final movement.

A New Day finds huge spirit in its conclusion along with a searingly intense climax at its height, although it also finds a touch of discomfort tuning wise in the front row. The inexorable drive to the life affirming final bars however is simply fabulous.

Overall: Fine playing for sure from Foden's but can it squeeze itself in amidst the serious title contenders? It might come close but not quite close enough.

Christopher Thomas


Michael Bach conducting Foden's

Steven Mead — Criteria Mark Sheet

Criteria Mark Sheet
Marks by Steven Mead

Technical accuracy: 18
Rhythmic precision and clarity: 19
Control of full dynamic range: 18
Ensemble precision: 19
Tuning/intonation: 19
Band sound quality: 20
Balance/clarity of textures: 19
Quality of soloists: 19
Overall understanding: 19
Total musicality from the band: 19

Total: 189

Short Comment:
Very tasty performance from Fodens, showing off their magnificent band sound. Led by the outstanding Mark Wilkinson, this performance had many fine attributes. Not 100% secure, and some of it, if I'm being supercritical, didn't flow as well as it might. Outstanding troms and basses.


Fodens percussion team at the side of the stage


Saturday 8, 15:20:22

Kenneth Crookston of Brass Bands England

#BandingwithBecky


Saturday 8, 14:42:22

12. Hammonds Saltaire (Morgan Griffiths)


Hammonds Saltaire in performance

Opens well with nicely shaped solo cornet and euphonium although as the opening movement progresses we just want to feel a little more musically engaged.

A muscular approach to In Cold Blood that although a touch rough and ready at times, is certainly laced with malicious intent.

Slips and occasional intonation issues threaten to unsettle the musical picture at times in In Memoriam with those slips continuing to cause the odd issue in A New Day which although driven and exciting, also suffers from wayward ensemble at times. So much commitment though.

Overall: Hammonds threw everything at this today but with the stakes so high, it could well struggle to get out of the bottom placings.

Christopher Thomas


Morgan Griffiths conducting Hammonds Saltaire

Steven Mead — Criteria Mark Sheet

Criteria Mark Sheet
Marks by Steven Mead

Technical accuracy: 17
Rhythmic precision and clarity: 17
Control of full dynamic range: 16
Ensemble precision: 17
Tuning/intonation: 18
Band sound quality: 17
Balance/clarity of textures: 17
Quality of soloists: 18
Overall understanding: 18
Total musicality from the band: 17

Total: 172

Short Comment:
A passionate and totally committed performance from Hammonds. Obviously this piece stretched them at times, but they never quit the course, and several sections were highly impressive, especially the ending. They can be pleased with this one, and all soloists gave everything they had. Well done.


Hammonds Saltaire take the stage


Saturday 8, 14:41:18

#BandingwithBecky


Saturday 8, 14:19:28

11. Tredegar (Ian Porthouse)


In performance — Tredegar

A fine opening although not without a couple of momentary slips on cornet and euphonium. This is so musical in its conception though.

In Cold Blood builds to a climax of shattering power marked by Tredegar's trademark muscular sound, yet allied with magnificent ensemble playing. It's not without frustrating little clips though despite the obvious musical and technical elements of the playing.

In Memoriam has a feeling of stillness at its heart that is touching and the climax is so well measured.

The inner detail of A New Day is so impressive and as the band builds towards the final breathless bars the ending emerges as one of the highlights of the performance with ear opening dynamics and fabulous energy and excitement levels.

Overall: There has been obvious brilliance at times from Tredegar although a handful of early slips could prove crucial with the remarkable level of playing that we are hearing today.

Christopher Thomas


Ian Porthouse conducting Tredegar

Steven Mead — Criteria Mark Sheet

Criteria Mark Sheet
Marks by Steven Mead

Technical accuracy: 17
Rhythmic precision and clarity: 19
Control of full dynamic range: 18
Ensemble precision: 19
Tuning/intonation: 19
Band sound quality: 19
Balance/clarity of textures: 19
Quality of soloists: 18
Overall understanding: 19
Total musicality from the band: 18

Total: 185

Short Comment:
Tredegar gives us some breathtaking ensemble moments, hallmark by incredible precision and dynamic energy. Some early slips could count against them today. The middle section with trombones and bases was excellent.


In the warm up area with Tredegar


Saturday 8, 13:50:57

10. Valaisia Brass Band (Arsene Duc)


In performance — Valaisia Brass Band

Beautiful opening cornet solo and the initial bars unfold so naturally. There are no fussy touches about this. The music is simply allowed to speak for itself and it does so with grace and simplicity.

In Cold Blood is powerful yet never anything other than fully controlled and when the band opens up, my goodness do we hear it. The sheer sound and detail heard through the sections is truly terrific from the defending champion. Fine trombone solo and Arsene Duc is directing with his usual authority.

As In Memorium unfolds the M.D. walks into the heart of his band to show every nuance of the music. And again there are no histrionics or quirky touches about this. What we hear is lyrical playing of touching simplicity and emotional warmth.

Fine transition into A New Day and now we go into overdrive. The relentless drive and energy of the music is so well captured and the excitement levels are controlled with great skill. What is becoming apparent however is just how close this contest could be. This is superb playing but it isn't necessarily stealing the show.

But what an ending. Woweeeee. Fabulous stuff and unbridled in its joie de vivre.

Overall: The defending champion nails its flag to the mast with a performance of superb authority. But with one or two slips also evident we can't help but wonder whether they are likely to make it a double with the level of quality we are hearing elsewhere today.

Christopher Thomas


Arsene Duc conducting Valaisia Brass Band

Steven Mead — Criteria Mark Sheet

Criteria Mark Sheet
Marks by Steven Mead

Technical accuracy: 19
Rhythmic precision and clarity: 20
Control of full dynamic range: 19
Ensemble precision: 20
Tuning/intonation: 20
Band sound quality: 19
Balance/clarity of textures: 19
Quality of soloists: 19
Overall understanding: 19
Total musicality from the band: 19

Total: 193

Short Comment:
Valaisia-Fantastic performance, and one that showed off the extraordinary technical capacity of this band. Gorgeous solos, especially euphonium, but a few uncharacteristic slips, especially near the beginning, and perhaps a lack of real sensitivity in the middle could cost them. Three outstanding performances this morning, really hard to separate them.


Arsene Duc warming up with Valaisia Brass Band


Saturday 8, 13:28:37

9. Carlton Main Frickley Colliery (Luc Vertommen)


In performance — Carlton Main Frickley Colliery

A beautifully lyrical cornet solo to open and right away there is a feeling of musical presence about this. The music is shaped with such care and creates its sound world with empathy.

In Cold Blood is tight and together. It's not perhaps the most visceral playing we have heard so far today but the care and preparation that has gone into this is always in evidence with thoughtful attention to balance and clarity of detail and texture.

There is a breadth to In Memorium that impresses from the start. Finely balanced trombones set the scene and the M.D. is so pliable in his shaping of the music, emphasising once again the depth emotion that lies at the heart of the music.

A New World impresses once again in its ensemble and precision with a carefully measured approach to what proves to be a thrilling ending.

Overall: A fine account indeed from Carlton Main. Masterminded with so much style by Luc Vertommen. One to be proud of without a doubt.

Christopher Thomas


Luc Vertommen conducting Carlton Main Frickley Colliery

Steven Mead — Criteria Mark Sheet

Criteria Mark Sheet
Marks by Steven Mead

Technical accuracy: 18
Rhythmic precision and clarity: 19
Control of full dynamic range: 19
Ensemble precision: 18
Tuning/intonation: 19
Band sound quality: 18
Balance/clarity of textures: 18
Quality of soloists: 19
Overall understanding: 20
Total musicality from the band: 19

Total: 187

Short Comment:
The standard today is quite simply remarkable. A really good performance from Carlton Main directed with great skill and imagination from the stylish Luc Vertommen. This had real intensity, fantastic rhythmic drive, well balanced high-quality sounds. Indeed one they should be very proud of.


Backstage with Carlton Main Frickley Colliery


Saturday 8, 13:10:01

#BandingwithBecky



Saturday 8, 11:20:05

3. Brighouse & Rastrick (Professor David King)


In performance — Brighouse & Rastrick

What a beautiful opening. There's a luminosity about this, a limpid simplicity that emulates humanity in all its fragility and vulnerability.

In Cold Blood is so well controlled dynamically. We can sense the drama and the energy building with cumulative power and we hear so much detail beneath the surface thanks to careful attention to the balance whilst nothing is forced or overblown leaving us to revel in the sound of the band and its textural transparency.

Fine off stage cornets to open In Memorium and the trombone chorale is exquisite. This is so gloriously sonorous and imbued with a depth of feeling that is entirely fitting given the nature of the music and what it depicts, whilst the music that follows again unfolds with such delicacy and heart felt beauty marked by sublime solo cornet and sounds from the middle of the band. This is such wonderfully controlled and lyrically involving playing.

A New World powers its way onward in motoric fashion. Again the pacing of this is so, so impressive. Everything is measured and musically aware and yet as the excitement levels build we hear a lovely moment of repose ahead of a an ending that sends the audience into wild applause.

Overall: Brighouse have given us something totally different here. A performance that has tugged at the heart strings and found the essence of the humanity that lies at the heart of the score.

Christopher Thomas


Professor David King conducting Brighouse & Rastrick

Steven Mead — Criteria Mark Sheet

Criteria Mark Sheet
Marks by Steven Mead

Technical accuracy: 19
Rhythmic precision and clarity: 19
Control of full dynamic range: 20
Ensemble precision: 19
Tuning/intonation: 20
Band sound quality: 19
Balance/clarity of textures: 20
Quality of soloists: 19
Overall understanding: 20
Total musicality from the band: 19

Total: 194

Short Comment:
A totally engrossing and brilliant performance from Brighouse and Rastrick, revealing a complete understanding and mastery of the score. David King drew a quite stunning performance from his players today. On any other day, this would win the British Open, but as we know, it's not even 11:30 AM yet.


Warming Up prior to performance with Brighouse & Rastrick


Saturday 8, 11:00:19

2. Flowers (Phillip McCann)


In Performance — Flowers

A nicely shaped and lyrically flowing opening, if possibly a touch heavy dynamically. A hint of strain on soprano and this is going to test so many players today as we head into In Cold Blood.

Solo trombone gives it more than a hint of jazz but this is confident playing. Despite it's energy however we just need a touch more visceral excitement about this movement with not all of the detail always audible through the textures.

Unlike Whitburn, Flowers' cornet Section remains seated for the opening of In Memorium and we hear nicely balanced sounds in the trombone chorale. This has both pathos and gravitas and we sense the emotion that is so crucial to this movement.

A New Day loses its way to some degree as scrappy ensemble undermines the energy of the music on occasions. The commitment is unquestionable but the lack of cohesion here is just holding us back. A fine ending though and there has been much to enjoy in this.

Overall: A performance that had moments of real quality from Flowers but an untidy final movement could count against the band today.

Christopher Thomas


Phillip McCann conducting Flowers

Steven Mead — Criteria Mark Sheet

Criteria Mark Sheet
Marks by Steven Mead

Technical accuracy: 18
Rhythmic precision and clarity: 16
Control of full dynamic range: 17
Ensemble precision: 17
Tuning/intonation: 19
Band sound quality: 18
Balance/clarity of textures: 17
Quality of soloists: 18
Overall understanding: 18
Total musicality from the band: 17

Total: 175

Short Comment:
Much to admire about this performance, a very tuneful rendition, but for me lacked depth of musicality. Very tidy show, but for me lacking some precision, clarity and message. The difficulty with this work is to get the continuity of line given the multi sectional structure of the work.


Saturday 8, 10:42:09

1. Whitburn (Florent Didier)


In Performance — Whitburn

Lovely solo cornet although the opening overall isn't entirely settled with little hesitations interrupting the flow and one or two uncomfortable moments of tuning causing issues.

In Cold Blood opens in aggressive fashion but as the movement progresses there are moments where the ensemble doesn't gel and solo trombone struggles slightly...the first of many today we suspect. The energy is so evident however as Florent Didier drives the band on with relentless power.

Sonorous sounds in We Shall Rise again although the chorale isn't always entirely pristine in its ensemble. There is a palpable sense of emotion as the movement moves on but also frustrating slips and moments of intonation that unsettle the atmosphere at times.

A New Day and a new Whitburn as the band drives its way through the final movement. This is visceral, exciting stuff but those early errors are surely going to prove crucial.

Overall: A performance that was both bold and emotional in its conception but ultimately fell prone to one too many early morning errors on a day when there is so much quality to come.

Christopher Thomas


Florent Didier conducting Whitburn

Steven Mead — Criteria Mark Sheet

Criteria Mark Sheet
Marks by Steven Mead

Technical accuracy: 17
Rhythmic precision and clarity: 17
Control of full dynamic range: 18
Ensemble precision: 18
Tuning/intonation: 19
Band sound quality: 19
Balance/clarity of textures: 18
Quality of soloists: 18
Overall understanding: 19
Total musicality from the band: 18

Total: 181

Short Comment:
Very impressive opener from Whitburn. Some sublime playing from principal cornet and soprano, massive bass section, generally tight ensemble, some notable fragilities in the middle section definitely took off the gloss. But a fantastic opener to this great contest.


Compere: Dave Hayward makes his introductions


Saturday 8, 10:34:34

In A Relaxed Moment


Adjudicators: Paul Holland, Stephen Roberts, Rob Wiffin


Saturday 8, 10:10:44

Taking His Place In The Hall


Composer of the test piece 'A Brussels Requiem' — Bert Appermont


Saturday 8, 09:55:19

Live video...

You should be seeing live video above this post... if you're not seeing a video stream then refresh the page...


Saturday 8, 09:32:52

Draw:

Test Piece: 'A Brussels Requiem' — Bert Appermont
Commence: 10.00am
Draw: 8.45am

Adjudicators: Paul Holland, Stephen Roberts, Rob Wiffin


Reaching into the bag — Flowers

1. Whitburn (Florent Didier)
2. Flowers (Phillip McCann)
3. Brighouse & Rastrick (Professor David King)
4. Rothwell Temperance (David Roberts)
5. Desford Colliery (LMTF) (Michael Fowles)
6. Aldbourne (Dr David Thornton)
7. Wingates (Paul Andrews)
8. Eikanger-Bjorsvik Musikklag (Bjarte Engeset)
9. Carlton Main Frickley Colliery (Luc Vertommen)
10. Valaisia Brass Band (Arsene Duc)
11. Tredegar (Ian Porthouse)
12. Hammonds Saltaire (Morgan Griffiths)
13. Foden's (Michael Bach)
14. Black Dyke (Professor Nicholas J.Childs)
15. Cory (Philip Harper)
16. Grimethorpe Colliery (Allan Withington)
17. Co-op Funeralcare (Frans Violet)
18. Fairey (Garry Cutt)
19. Leyland (Thomas Wyss)


Saturday 8, 09:18:40

Steven Mead — Criteria Mark Sheet

If you are following the contest either inside Symphony Hall or on the internet, then feel free to follow us here on 4barsrest and see how I rate the bands after each performance using the criteria system.

A Brussels Requiem (Bert Appermont) is a magnificent work and will tests all the bands to the limit. No predictions from me today; there are several bands capable of winning the 166th British Open Brass Band Championship, sponsored by Besson.

Criteria Mark Sheet
Marks by Steven Mead

Technical accuracy:
Rhythmic precision and clarity:
Control of full dynamic range:
Ensemble precision:
Tuning/intonation:
Band sound quality:
Balance/clarity of textures:
Quality of soloists:
Overall understanding:
Total musicality from the band:

Total:

Short Comment:


Saturday 8, 09:13:35

British Open Memories...




Saturday 8, 06:37:08

Good morning from Birmingham

The first rays of early morning sunshine will soon be warming the cold streets of Birmingham — but you suspect quite a few players are already up and massaging life into their lips before their pre-contest breakfast.

And what a contest we have in store today.

4BR will be alongside our friends at CU Brass and Brass Band World magazine bringing you a taste of the atmosphere with our extended coverage — which this year will see us broadcast live from the Symphony Hall concourse — all the way up to and including the results themselves.

Not only will there be our usual written views, opinions and great images on site, but we will also be on hand to keep you updated with our live stream from our special studio just yards from where the bands are performing.

We hope you enjoy it — and please keep in touch throughout the day by using the Twitter hash tag #britishopen2018 — as we will make sure your views and opinions are discussed too!

It all kicks off with our broadcast around 9.00am, with the draw announced a little later and the first band taking to the stage at 10.00am.

Enjoy!


Saturday 8, 02:04:28

The bands...

Saturday 8th September
Test Piece: 'A Brussels Requiem' — Bert Appermont
Commence: 10.00am
Draw: 8.45am

Adjudicators: Stephen Roberts, Rob Wiffin, Paul Holland

Aldbourne (Dr David Thornton)
Black Dyke (Professor Nicholas J.Childs)
Brighouse & Rastrick (Professor David King)
Carlton Main Frickley Colliery (Luc Vertommen)
Co-op Funeralcare (Frans Violet)
Cory (Philip Harper)
Desford Colliery (Leicestershire Miners Trust Fund) (Michael Fowles)
Eikanger-Bjorsvik Musikklag (Bjarte Engeset)
Fairey (Garry Cutt)
Flowers (Phillip McCann)
Foden's (Michael Bach)
Grimethorpe Colliery (Allan Withington)
Hammonds Saltaire (Morgan Griffiths)
Leyland (Thomas Wyss)
Rothwell Temperance (David Roberts)
Tredegar (Ian Porthouse)
Valaisia Brass Band (Arsene Duc)
Wingates (Paul Andrews)
Whitburn (Florent Didier)


Saturday 8, 01:36:55

Critics preview

Iwan fox chats to Chris Thomas, Steven Mead and Alexander Zwaan.


Saturday 8, 00:53:20

Interview with Bert Appermont

Iwan Fox chats to Bert Appermont — composer of 'A Brussels Requiem'


Friday 7, 15:58:58

Contest previews





Enderby Band - Enderby Band Christmas Concert

Monday 17 December • Enderby Church. Corner of Leicester Lane/Blaby Road. Enderby. Leicestershire LE19 4AR


Foden's Band - Little Lever High School

Tuesday 18 December • Little Lever High School ,Church Street, Little Lever, Bolton, BL3 1BT


The Wigston Band - The Wigston Band Christmas Concert

Thursday 20 December • St Thomas Church, South Wigston LE18 4TA


Regent Hall Concerts - Royal Greenwich Brass Band

Thursday 20 December • St Alfege Church. 3 Greenwich Church Street SE10 9BJ


The Wigston Band -

Thursday 20 December • St Thomas Church, South Wigston LE18 4TA


Haslingden & Helmshore Brass Band

December 18 • Haslingden & Helmshore, North West 1st Section Brass Band. . MD Mr. Simon Cowen (Principal Trombone with RLPO) . Require 2 front row Cornet players & Percussionist to complete the band. . A very sensible mix of engagements with rehearsals every Tuesday 8pm


Meltham and Meltham Mills Brass Band

December 18 • We have a vacancy for a Soprano and BBb Bass to complete the line up for the areas. Nice Schilke Sop sat waiting for the right person! The band currently competes in the 2nd Section and has a full program of concerts and contests.


The Corsham Band

December 18 • The band are currently looking for an experienced Back Row Cornet Player to join our friendly and enthusiastic team. Second or Third Cornet position available.


Ian Porthouse


Cornet soloist, clinician, conductor and adjudicator