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2018 Siddis Brass
As it happened

All the action from 2018 Siddis Brass — As it happened.

Sunday 4, 00:23:27

Goodnight from Stavanger...

It's a very good night from a wonderful Siddis Brass Championships — one that showed once again that the Norwegians are leading the way with inventive programming allied to outstanding levels of performance on all sections.

All this and we got to hear a quite remarkable multi-instrumentalist before the announcement of the results — Gunhild Carling, who to put it bluntly — was absolutely bloody amazing. She could play anything and everything — from the recorder to jazz trombone, the bagpipes to three trumpets at the same time.

All that and she could tap dance, sing like Bett Midler and most probably could skin an artic seal with her bare hands.

Great winners in the Elite Division in what was a stunning contest and the party is still going strong as we lay our weary heads finally on our pillow...


Saturday 3, 22:44:46

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Result:

Elite Division:

Adjudicators: Robert Childs, Michael Garassi, (music & programme content)
Nils Christian (entertainment) — separate prize

Music + Programme Content = Total

1. Manger Musikklag (Martin Winter): 96 + 10 = 106
2. Eikanger Bjorsvik (Reid Gilje): 97 + 8 = 105
3. Stavanger (Allan Withington): 95 + 9 = 104
4. Jaren Hornmusikkforening (Paul Holland): 91 + 6 = 97
5. Krohnengen (Garry Cutt): 91 + 5 = 96
6. Oslo Brass Band (John Philip Hannevik): 90 + 5 = 95
7. Tertnes Brass (Frode Rydland): 89 + 5 = 94
8. Musikkorpset Gjallarhorn (Rune Gundersen): 86 + 6 = 92
9. Kleppe Musikklag (Magnus Brandseth): 87 + 4 = 91
10. Bjorsvik Brass (Bengt Florvag): 86 + 4 = 90

Entertainment Prize: Manger Musikklag
Best Soloist: Camilla Søderstrøm Tveit (bass trombone) — Tertnes Brass


Saturday 3, 22:44:07

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Result:

First Division:

Adjudicators: Florent Didier, Katrina Marzella
Music + Programme Content = Total

1. Rong Brass (David Morton): 92 + 7 = 99
2. Askoy Brass Band (Svein Henrik Giske): 91 + 7 = 98
3. Oslofjord Brass (Philip Hannevik): 90 + 7 = 97
4. Flesland Musikklag (Eirik Gjerdevik): 87 + 9 = 96
5. Sola Brass (Gwyn Evans): 88 + 7 = 95
6. Radoy Brass (Torstein Aagaard-Nilsen): 87 + 6 = 93
7. Oster Brass (Rune Hannisdal): 86.5 + 6 = 92.5
8. Montebello Brass (Preben Nicolai Kragh-Riesling): 85 + 6 = 91
9. Hasle Brass (Robert Solberg Nilsen): 84 + 6 = 90

Best Soloist: Tonje Marielle Iversen (soprano) — Askoy Brass Band


Saturday 3, 22:43:33

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Result:

Second Division:

Adjudicators: Tom Brevik, Sheona White
Music + Programme Content = Total

1. Tysnes Musikklag (Yngve Nikolaisen): 95 + 9 = 104
2. Haukas Musikklag (Thor-Arne Pedersen): 94 + 9 = 103
3. Alexander Brass Band (Morten E Hansen): 93 + 10 = 103
4. Fjell Brass (Joseph Cook): 93 + 9 = 102
5. Skui Brass Band (Thor-Willy Karlsen): 89 + 9 = 98
6. Folleso Musikklag (Thorgeir Thunestvedt): 87 + 9 = 96
7. Sorum Musikklag (Ray Farr): 88 + 7 = 95
8. Sagvag Musikklag (Yngve Nikolaisen): 86 + 8 = 94
9. Stavanger Kommunes Korps (Gwyn Evans): 85 + 7 = 92
10. Agder Brass (Thomas Swatland): 84 + 7 = 91

Best Soloist: Nick Hughes (cornet) — Tysnes Musikklag


Saturday 3, 22:42:44

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Result:

Third Division:

Adjudicators: Adam Cooke, Arthur Vanderhoeft
Music + Programme Content = Total

1. KOS Krohnengen Old Stars (Oyvind Raknes Nikolaisen): 94 + 7 = 101
2. Stangaland Brass (Melvin White): 93 + 7 = 100
3. Laksevag Musikkforening (Fredrick Schjelderup): 90 + 7 = 97
4. Lindas Brass (Hilde Brevik Grytten): 89 + 6 = 95
5. Gjesdal Brass (Jonas Skartveit Rogne): 86 + 9 = 95
6. Randaberg Musikkorps (Pal Magne Austnes-Underhaug): 85 + 6 = 91
7. Tysvaer Brass (Paul Hughes): 83 + 8 = 91
8. Seim Musikklag (Asbjorn Hauge): 82 + 5 = 87
9. Hetlevik Musikklag (Egil Magnussen): 81 + 5 = 86
10. Eidsberg Brass Band (Hans Andreas Kjolberg): 80 + 5 = 85

Best Soloist: Kristine Kalstro (Euphonium) — Stangaland Brass


Saturday 3, 22:42:12

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Result:

Fourth Division:

Adjudicators: Elizabeth Fossan, Kenneth Crookston
Music + Programme Content = Total

1. Skeie Brass (Nigel Fielding): 90 + 9 = 99
2. Lyshornet Brass (Christian Breistein): 88 + 10 = 98
3. Norheimsund Musikklag (Patrik Randefalk): 88 + 9 = 97
4. Indre Torungen Brass Ensemble (Lars-Bjornar Strengenes): 87 + 8 = 95
5. Fjordbrass Lavik (Jason Burn): 86 + 9 = 95
6. Klovheim Brass (Oddvar Nostdal): 86 + 8 = 94
7. Riska Brass Band (Espen Westbye): 85 + 7 = 92
8. Fitjar Musikklag (Svein Roger Koppang): 84 + 8 = 92
9. Sotra Brass (Ben Hirons): 84 + 7 = 91
10. Tasta Brass (Morten Ovrebekk): 83 + 8 = 91
11. Musikkorpset Heimdal (Jakob Birk): 83 + 6 = 89
12. Eikelandsfjorden Musikklag (Joar H. Lemme): 81 + 8 = 89
13. IMI Brass (Linda Saglien Svensen): 81 + 7 = 88
14. Karmsund Brass (Steinar Ansnes): 81 + 5 = 86
15. Langhus Brass (Tomas Austestad): 89 + 6 = 86
16. Egersund Brass (Stale Andreas Stendahl): 80 + 5 = 85

Best Soloist: Ingmar Lid (Eb tuba) — Norheimsund Musikklag


Saturday 3, 20:26:26

Waiting for the results...

Apologies for the problems we have encountered today — but we are afraid they were out of our control.

The comments were available on the 4BR Facebook page, but we have now transferred them over to the site for you to enjoy.

As for a prediction?

Both contest were so enjoyable and intriguing, but with the Elite Divsion, the overall standard was excellent with some brilliantly inspired programme sets.

As for a winner?

You can make a very god case for one of the big three here — with Manger, Eikanger and Stavanger each producing programmes that were diverse, engaging and brilliantly played.

It's up to the judges of course, but for us it's Manger by the narrowest of margins from Eikanger with Stavanger just a pinch behind. If any of them win they will deserve it though. It's been a joy to listen to today.

4BR Prediction:

1. Manger Musikklag
2. Eikanger Bjorsvik
3. Stavanger


Saturday 3, 20:21:04

Elite Division:

10. Bjorsvik Brass (Bengt Florvag)

Decade:
Lezghinka (Khachaturian arr. Howard Snell)
Someone to Watch Over Me (George & Ira Gershwin arr. Svein Henrik Giske)
Soloist: Grethe Tonheim (Trombone)
Root Beer Rag (Billy Joel arr. Svein Henrik Giske)
Chiquilin de Bachin (Astor Piazzolla arr. Reid Gilje)
Finale from Symphony No 3: (Khachaturian arr. Ray Farr)

A decade on from their formation (and we heard them in the lowest division of the Norwegian National Championships), the alumni enjoy the musical celebrations of their 10th birthday.

Age does not diminish quality, even if hairlines recede and waistlines expand — and that old Khachaturian pot boiler is given a rousing run through — not quite the pacey as yesteryear, but still sprightly enough.

Grethe Tonheim is such a suave lead on the Gershwin classic — tender and touching with her languid, musical liquidity.

It seems the taste of root beer brings out the best in this generation, with a classy, waspish bit of musical libation, before the Piazzolla is suavely delivered with the grace of an old tango dancer having one last trip under the light fantastic. Super stuff.

It's a bit all hands to the pumps to close — but what fun they are having.

It's as scratchy as a jockstrap full of iron filings in places, but what does that matter — the former glories can still be summoned up with some Ralgex spray and couple of sanatogen pills. It all ends in glory.

Overall: Lots to enjoy with something of a trip down memory lane — but one still played with plenty of relevance and class. Here's to the next decade and more...


Saturday 3, 20:19:38

Elite Division:

9. Musikkorpset Gjallarhorn (Rune Gundersen)

Brass in motion:
Overture from Dancer in the Dark (Björk arr. Klas v. d. Woude)
Waves on deck (Djønne)
Jeg reiser alene (Ole Paus arr. Andreas Utnem/Espen Westbye)
Soloist: Sigve Kolstad (cornet)
Mueva los Huesos (Gordon Goodwin arr. Jacob Vilhelm Larsen)
Nåde (Ivar Kleive/Knut Reiersrud arr. Frode Rydland)
Soloist: Nils Henrik Asheim, (organ)

What an inspired opening.

The music of the miniature Icelandic genius Björk transcribes so well for brass here — with a dark delicacy that retains its fragility even when the dynamic rises, before ebbing away to an almost exhausted repose.

What follows is equally inventive — subtle shifting detours of musicality that seem to evolve but then reach turning points of new directions. Dramatic and vicious — it caught almost everyone in the audience by surprise.

More simple but effective playing follows with a cornet solo (with quintet accompaniment) that plays a subsidiary role to the dancing of a sad looking, but angelic child in the centre of the stage. Blimey — you can feel the tears welling up in the eyes of audience. Wowee — a highlight of the day that.

Ah Espen Westbye — that's you I hear. What a player. And what another neat surprise piece — played with controlled brio (and super Perc), but still as colourful as the bowl of fruit on Carmen Miranda's head.

Dr Phibes returns with the full kit and caboodle for the organ led finisher — blowing your socks off as it inhabits gothic musical territory as black as the cover of a Bible. Goes a bit high church hymnal in places but then we jump back into bonkers-land to close.

Overall: What an enjoyable and surprising set that was — so well led by the MD and such a clever set of variable elements. Like opening five different musical Kinder Eggs.


Saturday 3, 20:18:08

Elite Division:

8. Eikanger Bjorsvik (Reid Gilje)

The Four Elements — Fire, Air, Water and Earth:
Fireball (Fredrick Schjelderup)
Window No 1. (Svein Fjermestad)
Air: Wind (Reid Gilje/Andy Sheppard arr. Reid Gilje)
Water: The Drop (Frode Rydland)
Earthquake (Kjetil Djønne)

The crackling sound of conflagration ignites the dry matter (the best use of crepe paper since Blue Peter on television in 1974) as the temperature quickly reaches scorching point.

This is playing on the senses here — the extended percussion segue leaving intriguing questions in the air. What appears on the horizon is a flugel, sop, euph, cornet interlude of tender brilliance that evolves slowly into something completely different. It's a window into a new dimension.

It arrives like a warm scirocco blown into the hall, rumbling first, then gathering focus like a slow funk dance with colours and textures brought from distant lands. It's is sumptuously exotic playing. That simply bubbled with class.

Another elemental change — and dark and minor inflections underpin the music — a menacing flow of water moving inexorably forward, unstoppable and unforgiving.

Those same forces now emerge from the earth — deep in the mantle (otherwise known as the leviathan tubas), and then drawing upward in intensity and shock. The ensemble playing here is of the highest quality — multi layered and textured — topped by a piercing sop. High on Richter scale that — very high indeed.

Overall: A concept programme brilliantly played, but which did demand you paid intense attention to what it was trying to achieve. If you did it rewarded you superbly.


Saturday 3, 20:16:47

Elite Division:

7. Krohnengen (Garry Cutt)

A time for reflection, a time for peace:
633 Squadron (Ron Goodwin arr. Ray Farr)
Shenandoah (Trad. arr. Stephen Bulla)
Soloist: Jannicke Eide Ellingsen (Euphonium)
The Girl I Left Behind Me (Trad. arr. Gordon Langford)
Silver Threads Among The Gold (Danks arr. Boddington)
Soloist: Henning Anundsen (cornet)
Free-shooting bullets (Johann Strauss II arr. Sandy Smith)
A Manchester Tale (Andrew Duncan)

A very British start — so British in fact that it was chocks away with Jonny, Ginger and the rest of the crew as we recall the great days when we could fly into Europe with impunity and not worry about looming Brexit custom controls...

Super stuff that — and played with a touch of stiff upper lip pride.

It's followed by a fine rendition of 'Shenandoah' — warm and embracing from a confident soloist and well supported by the ensemble. Bravo young lady.

A reminder of the skill of Gordon Langford as an arranger in the classic 'The Girl I left Behind Me' — delivered with just the right touch of lightweight fancy, before a classic cornet solo of yesteryear played with delicious refinement by Henning Anundsen.

The MD is right at home here — keeping things so controlled yet purposeful — and always delivered with a warmth of tone that snuggles around your toes like wooly socks.

The Strauss is so tastefully done — headed by pert sop. The Marple Maestro at home in Vienna it seems.

It's all rounded off by the dark inflections of Andy Duncan's 'Manchester Tale' — a story of endeavour and determination to overcome the trials and tribulations that fate and war throw our way. It's delivered with a sturdy sense of resolve too.

Overall: A very traditional programme set — but one that was a welcome contrast today. MD has this music in his veins and it was transfused into his band.


Saturday 3, 20:15:26

Elite Division:

6. Jaren Hornmusikkforening (Paul Holland)

Freedom:
The Red Hills of Georgia (Jonathan Bates)
War Dance of the Red Cossacks (Jonathan Bates)
Let Freedom Ring (Jonathan Bates)
Soloist: Benjamin Mortensen (Cornet)
I wish I knew how it would feel to be free (Trad arr. Jonathan Bates)
That Promised Land (Jonathan Bate)

Not a cross between Hubert Bath and Mel Gibson in 'Braveheart', but an exploration of the themes that have resulted in freedoms of different types across the world.

It's America first and a stormer of pulsating southern state vigour, before we head to the Russia of the warring Cossacks (complete with questionable 'Cossack' headgear — the one cornet player seems to have got his from Sherlock Holmes — and some fancy dance moves).

The energy levels are high and the playing has a great deal of spirit and verve.

The cornet solo is tastefully delivered — and so well shaped in the ensemble by the MD. It moves and grows in intensity — with the faint echoes of Bernstein's 'Somewhere' lingering in the mind. What a super last note too — tapered to perfection.

Echoes of Barry Norman in his prime with the 'Film 86' music — jazzed up with evangelical zeal and zip. Get your popcorn out as the tubas growl like old junk yard dogs, followed by showcase cameos from around the stands backed by a great chugging Perc section.

The Finale also has that happy-clappy freedom is coming feel — and at speed too. There are some little nods and winks here (a ray of Shine As the Light?) before it builds and builds and builds — drawing out some fine solo and ensemble playing to its glory, glory Halleluia close.

Overall: The strong theme certainly resonated and was well delivered thanks to the MDs intelligent direction and the 100% commitment of his players.


Saturday 3, 20:14:06

Elite Division:

5. Manger Musikklag (Martin Winter)

In time with Cubism:
My Mother is a Fish (Martin Philip Winter)
Rag for Igor (Martin Philip Winter)
Soloist: Sigurd Olsen (xylophone)
Parades — Episodes from the Ballet (Eric Satie arr. Martin Philip Winter)
Tears (Martin Philip Winter)
Soloist: Joe Cook (Eb tuba)
Trumpets with Man (Martin Philip Winter)
Soloists: Nick Walkley and William Grøv Skramsett (trumpet)

Any programme that starts with a piece entitled, 'My Mother is a Fish' is worth casting your net over — and as you would expect from Martin Winter, this is such a clever musical cubist conceit.

A touch of 'Gallery' meets 'Pictures at an Exhibition' as composed by Picasso — with a touch of Daliesque surrealism thrown in for good measure on the presentation front.

It continues with a ragtime xylophone solo inspired by Igor Stravinsky circa 1914 — and again the structure has the pointed, edgy dislocations of cubist reality. This really is so inventive. Love the gallery narrator too — a perfect oddball star.

Ballet now — cubist ballet at that. At one point it sounds like a French Postman Pat has crashed into Kurt Weill outside the theatre whilst delivering the Deuchamps urinal. This is literally taking the piss so brilliantly.

We move into darker, sombre territory though with remembrance of Guernica — and Picasso's haunting work of desolation and despair. The tuba voice resonates — again dislocated with its lyrical lines, as if trying to make sense of the horrors captured on the canvas. The bells tolls for the lives lost.

It's rounded off with a tour de force of joyful raptures — thumping and funky, choreographed to an inch of its canvas and played with such alacrity and polish. Stunning.

Overall: Quite simply brilliant. The inspired outlook that created this deserves rich reward — as does the playing.


Saturday 3, 20:12:35

Elite Division:

4. Tertnes Brass (Frode Rydland)

2018:
Blott en dag (Oscar Ahnfelt arr. Frode Rydland)
La Muerte del Angel (Astor Piazzolla arr. Svein Henrik Giske)
Fly or Die (Gilles Rocha)
Soloist: Camilla Søderstrøm Tveit (bass trombone)
Til ungdommen (Nordahl Grieg/mel: Otto Mortensen arr. Frode Rydland)

What a super start — and different in its reflective outlook and tonality. Deceptively simple — but to play as well as that certainly isn't.

You would have thought we had just about exhausted the rich seam of works suitable for brass bands by Astor Piazzolla, but not so it seems. This one perhaps isn't vintage stuff, but it's close enough when played with such devilish elan.

So this is where one the world's great bass troms has been hiding then. Given the options from the composer, not many players you suspect could fly with the heavy armour capacity of a B52 bomber like Miss Tveit and not come a cropper.

That is some playing — a voice to wake the dead in Stavanger cemetery and a technique like the Lurpack butter man on speedball chasers.

We end with some theatrical gothic sounding splendour — as sombre as an Ibsen play — that builds to a simple thrilling conclusion aided by what sounded like the Abominable Doctor Phibes on the organ and the call of a passing Blue Whale in Stavanger harbour.

Overall: A programme of musical substance this, played with the same virtues. Bass trom was a star, but the rest of band wasn't far behind


Saturday 3, 20:10:45

Elite Division:

3. Kleppe Musikklag (Magnus Brandseth)

Balkan Moods:
1. Introduction: Red Morning Star & Bulgarian Folk Dance (Frode Rydland)
2. Unisons (Mikhail Misha Alperin arr. Svein H. Giske)
3. Sunrise (arr. Reid Gilje)
Soloist:Trond Helland (Eb-tuba)
4. The new Minstral (arr. Reid Gilje)
Soloists: Sondre Kristoffer Stokker (flugel) and Joakim Vederhus Rønhovde (euphonum).
5. Don’t fall asleep (arr. Reid Gilje)
6. Balkan Moods
7. Ending (Frode Rydland)

It's a right old kick off in the Balkans — with a super opening offering a hint of emerging mystery (not a homage to an old Marxist newspaper) and feisty Bulgarian dance that fairly leaps along with youthful vigour.

No time wasted here either — as we sashay our way into 'Unisons', delivered with great ensemble clarity backed by throbbing tubas. MD has such control emanating from his hands — each movement having meaning and purpose. A joy to watch in action.

There is a hypnotic feel to the 'Sunrise', which is followed by the fleet footed dancing minstrels on flugel and euph — once more underpinned by repetitive grounded bass pulse. Then the eyelids droop as into the arms of Morpheus we tantalisingly drop — but not quite.

The sugar rush awakens the soul (led by the Stakhanovian flugel so hard and brilliantly the lad has worked today) as we go all Balkan happy-clappy before a neat ending rounds things off with real, pacy stature.

Overall: What a well put together and well delivered programme — never straying into uncomfortable musical territory and inspired by an excellent MD at the helm.


Saturday 3, 20:09:07

Elite Division:

2. Stavanger (Allan Withington)

To Be or not to be... We are!
Movement I: Julius Caesar (Power and corruption) (Simon Dobson)
Movement II: Macbeth: Something wicked, this way comes (Simon Dobson)
Movement III: The Merry Wives of Windsor (The folly of men) (Simon Dobson)
Soloist: Frank Roger Haukås Eikeland (Soprano cornet)
Movement IV: King Lear — The descent into madness (Simon Dobson)
Movement V: Romeo and Juliet. (Star crossed summers) (Simon Dobson)
Soloists: Arfon Owen (horn) and Karianne Flåtene Nilssen (trombone)
Movement VI: Henry V — Against the Odds (Simon Dobson)

You have to admire the sense of immediacy about this music making — and the dark hint of satire that runs like a throbbing vein through its body politic.

The current Caesar of the USA is linked to the historical dictatorial Caeser of the Ides of March — with a neat gossamer link to Dobson's own compositions, whilst there is trouble and witchcraft in the murderous intent of Macbeth (especially his missus)

Contrast, but equally pointed, is the stunning playing on show with the musical libations of the Falstaffian soprano — a drunk old soldier of kindness and decent honour, but it is the decent into the madness of King Lear that sends a cold shiver down the spine: The loneliness of a spirit aching with forlorn contempt (and the F word was used)

This is powerful, thought provoking music making — as deeper and deeper we collectively fall into the abyss.

However, the power of love conquers all — beautifully played by the star crossed lovers on horn and trombone. Will I Am let alone William Shakespeare would have been proud to have delivered that on the stage of the Globe Theatre.

'Once more into the breach' as we go all Frenchie bashing at Agincourt — ranks of troops massed for victory. Glorious stuff — enough to forgo garlic mushrooms for a week and bugger Brexit. What a close.

Overall: This was a form of brass band musical theatre that Allan Withington and Simon Dobson have made their own. Superbly delivered. So much to commend and admire if we are to connect to the wider musical world.


Saturday 3, 20:07:22

Elite Division:

1. Oslo Brass Band (John Philip Hannevik)

Old and New Licks for Brass Band:
Svensk Sås (Bosse Norgren arr. Rohan Sandemo)
Lover, Where do you Live? (Highasakite arr. Rohan Sandemo)
Soloist: Luke Dempsey
Fanteguten (Trad./ Sverre Indris Joner arr. David Hveem)
Tordenskjold Udi Action (Johan Halvorsen arr. Sebastian Haukås)
Old Licks Bluesed Up (Mvt III) (Torstein Aagaard-Nilsen)

Plenty of colourful energy to open — vocally as well as instrumentally, as the cornets stand and give it the full beanz.

Made an immediate impact that — and it's followed by a quite splendid bit of flugel playing — real diva stuff — bold as brass. Great accompaniment in the dislocated rhythmic structures of the ensemble. That had a Jack Dempsey, let alone Luke Dempsey, punch of class.

More oddly metered musicality as we go all sultry and as smooth as a greased up Argentine badger with 'Fanteguten' — it's three legged tangotastic, and conducted with algorithmic precision by the MD.

What seems like a bluff march of the old imperial type favoured by a Nordic Kaiser with an eye on marching over the odd border or two comes next.

It has that stamp of ornate absurdity that can only make you smile — even when your home is being razed to the ground, and is played with a pinch of noble pomp to go with the Ruritanian oddness. Loved it.

The final part of 'Old Licks' brings things to a close — and touch directly on the inspiration for the programme. MD directs with admirable control (the entire programme without a score) and draws an increasing sense of drama out of the music right to the thumping close.

Overall: Musically stimulating this. Had its variable moments — but the assuredness displayed in each element was of such high quality. May not tickle everyone's taste buds, but it had plenty to admire.


Saturday 3, 20:05:29

First Division:

9. Rong Brass (David Morton)

Fortune: The goddess of fortune, fame and luck:
Gøta (Peder Karlsson arr. Tina Kvamme)
The Melody Shop (Karl King arr. Jacob Vilhelm Larsen)
Hymn for Diana (Joseph Turrin)
Blue Rondo a la Turk (David Brubeck arr. Kevin Edwards)
Pines of Rome (Respighi arr. Howard Snell)

Rong get it right from the start, with some sumptuous sounds to open — as rich as a Stavanger oil baron. This was so well controlled by the MD and his players.

The circus comes to town with Karl King's classic Barnum three-ring merriment march — played with a sprightly spring in its step and not a single clown car car hooter to be heard. As tasty as strawberry candy floss that.

Thankfully the hymn to the 'People's Princess' as the execrable Tony Blair called her, is played just the right side of saccharin coated over-emotion — again so well controlled by an impressive MD and his band. Nothing overdone — just quality, sensible playing.

The Brubeck just takes time to find that essential Paul Desmond led groove and swings a little leadenly, but it has energy and drive.

What did the Romans do for us?

Inspired this classic for one — marching in step (despite one centurion kicking over a mute on the Appian Way to start) that builds with a well graded sense of menace, mystery (great flug) and finally majesty, as the cohorts make their way into the Eternal City via Stavanger docks.

It's all swords and sandal drama to the end — and boldly delivered. Veni, vidi, vici? We will wait and see.

Overall: A fairly conservative choice of repertoire — but music that was played with a great deal of control and finesse.


Saturday 3, 20:04:01

First Division:

8. Radoy Brass (Torstein Aagaard-Nilsen)

Guilty Pleasures:
Lay All Your Love (ABBA arr. Ukjent)
Twisted Money (ABBA arr. Ukjent)
Napoli (Herman Bellstedt arr. Andrew Owenson)
Soloist: Bjørn Breistein
Dream Angus (arr. Sandy Smith)
The Chicken (Pee Wee Ellis arr. Ukjent)
Candide (Leonard Bernstein arr. Howard Snell)

Oh you can never have enough of an injection of ABBA in your musical life — the most brilliantly cheesy and downright addictive crack cocaine of pop.

The two openers are slightly dislocated takes — and all the better for it — twisted and turned into something not quite what you may expect. Like snorting vodka up your nose.

The classic solo is though — and played with a brilliant sense of the virtuosic by the euph soloist — a lad who has been around a bit at the very top level and you can hear why.

Doff your cap Mr Breistein. Fantastico! or Mama Mia! as Bjorn, Benny and the girls would say..

The horn and flug feature is smooth and relaxing — almost getting you to nod off, before the avian funk of 'The Chicken' even persuades the MD to strut his stuff like an old cockerel on the pull. Cool.

What a pity 'Candide' was a bit of a scratchy affair as it was full of French fluff and fancy in approach and built to a spirited finish of optimism and fun.

Overall: All about guilty pleasures this — and it was, despite a few moments when they just got the better of the band in places. Did the selections tell us something about the MDs own guilty pleasures we wonder. If so, they ain't half bad.


Saturday 3, 20:02:16

First Division:

7. Sola Brass (Gwyn Evans)

Emotions:
Intrada (Frank Hughes arr. G. Evans)
Activate (Matthew Hall)
A Living Prayer (Ronn Block arr. G. Evans)
Soloist: Nigel Fielding (Soprano)
Sing, Sang, Sung (Gordon Goodwin arr. G. Evans)
Viewpoint (Lois Eifion)
Osterfjorden (Stijn Aertgeerts)

What a statement of intent — with an imposing sense of occasion on the Frank Hughes 'Intrada' segueing into the fizz of 'Activate' that's as frothy as the head on the pint of the local brew.

A typical bit of Evans adventure follows with a sop solo played with graceful artistry by Nigel Fielding and backed by the subtle colours of acoustic guitar, kit and warm toned ensemble.

Age, the expanse of the North Sea or a healthy fish diet has not dimmed the class of Mr Fielding. Not on your nelly...

We go all 'phat' and fantastic with Gordon Goodwin's take on the Louis Prima classic — headed by the MD bobbing and side-stepping like Phil Bennett against the All Blacks in 1973. Fabuloso.

It's all rounded off with a spirited bit of Nordic thump.

Overall: That certainly tickled the fancy of the locals as well as the neutrals in the audience. So much to enjoy with the approach and execution. A touch of Welsh magic rubbed off there...


Saturday 3, 20:00:23

First Division:

6. Oslofjord Brass (Philip Hannevik)

Contrast Music:
Praise (Wilfred Heaton)
Tenor Horn Concerto: Mvt. 1 (Martin Ellerby)
Soloist: Thomas Tengelsen (Horn)
Well You Need (Monk/Ferro arr. Torskangerpoll)
Recuerdos De La Alhambra (Francisco Tarrega arr. Sandy Smith)
Back to the Future III (Alan Silvestri arr. Rodney Newton)

Oslofjord open with the tricky parodies of Heaton's 'Praise' — played at a brisk swagger, although the odd moment of imprecision takes the gloss off the polished finish.

Contrast is the ethos and it's certainly shown with a top-notch rendition of the first movement of the Ellerby — played with a spiteful bravura of serious intent by a classy soloist, backed by razor sharp ensemble.

Jazz.... Thelonious Monk via four solo tubas. You suspect he would have loved this. Funky and fun — something simple made to sound very sophisticated.

The same goes for the inspired touch of Tarrega — four cornets playing into the bells of those very same tubas. Special mention for the fruity notes played by the bass trom too. That was a gem of a piece played with such tenderness.

How do you top that?

Well Marty McFly and his flux capacitor DeLorean time machine car of course. Played with verve and a sense of fun (just the one or two odd time continuum wrong notes) to close things off with fizz and a familiar bang.

Overall: A programme that certainly lived up to its ambition — played with purpose and a great deal of classy endeavour from start to finish.


Saturday 3, 19:58:31

First Division:

5. Montebello Brass (Preben Nicolai Kragh-Riesling)

Pearls and Wine:
Blenheim Flourishes (Curnow)
My Love is like a Red, Red Rose
Soloist: Guttorm Gjeldsbrev Langstoyl (cornet)
Caprice from 'Entertainments' (Vinter)
Shine as the Light (Graham)

Those crazy guys and gals of the pseudo nouveau-rich Montebello Brass eh?

Resplendent in their red sashes as the MD enters and places his scarf and mobile phone on his stand. No score and straight into a classic bit of Curnow.

Forget the acidic conceit of their monetary humour — they can work as hard as navvies with their playing. There is a flourish to the opener and the soloist (who we have heard many times before) is a class act despite the odd blip.

The Vinter catches them out though — a more artisan tempo would have paid dividends. For a band rich in irony and dry wit this bit back waspishly like a Dorothy Parker one-liner over a martini in the Algonquin Club. Ouch!

The Graham tickler is so much better — played with the familiarity of an honest servant to bring things to a fine close.

Overall: A few laughs and plenty of enjoyment as always with Montebello — but on this occasion the suave humour had a few missed punch lines too.


Saturday 3, 19:56:49

First Division:

4. Oster Brass (Rune Hannisdal)

The Bombardier (T. J. Powell)
Abide with Me (William Henry Monk arr. Jasperse/Haukas)
Music to Watch Girls By (Crewe arr. Dewhurst)
Credo (Barry)

Come to Norway and we get to hear the familiar sounds of a cracking Welsh march.

It's played with the bombast and bravura last seen when Michael Caine and the thin red line of Bombardier Gunner Grahams repelled the Zulu hordes at Rourke's Drift — fouzands of 'em....

It's followed by the misty, touching miasma of 'Abide with Me' — warmly minor in its melancholy and limpid effect on the senses. Really nice that.

To contrast that with a tasty bit of 60s chic is brave — but it works so well. Memories of extra short mini skirts and knowing Carnaby Street glances eye to eye. That old lecherous Philip Green would feel right at home...

Another interesting radial detour with the Salvationist 'Credo' to close — played with warmth and valediction to end things with bold musicality.

Overall: Not a selection box of different genres that would immediately spring to mind — but one that worked in its own way thanks to the MDs approach and the player's commitment.


Saturday 3, 19:55:24

First Division:

3. Flesland Musikklag (Eirik Gjerdevik)

Norwegian Variety:
Introduction (Aagaard-Nilsen)
Among the Rocks (Aagaard-Nilsen)
Sommerkveld (Christian Sinding arr. Brevik)
Soloist: David Hoen-Tjore (cornet)
Fanitullen (Ole Olsen arr. Brevik)
Puls (Reiersrud/Bendik Hofseth/Iver Kleive arr. Giske)

The Nordic giant Eirik Gjerdevik takes to the stage with an iPad score and a band packed to the gunnels with young playing talent.

What a confident bunch they are too — with a bold opening followed by a sumptuously mysterious bit of Fjord magic amongst the nooks and crannies of the cold rocks.

The cornet player is a gem — warmly toned and displaying outstanding control at pianissimo dynamic levels. Whatever is Norwegian for 'Bravo matey boy' it should be shouted off the rooftops of Flesland — he deserves the plaudits by the bucketful.

The rapid fire 'Fanitullen' is a peculiar touch of Nordic Halloween 'trick or treat' fun as the cornet player turns into a violin playing Beelzebub, and the finale is also wicked — played with the elan and enthusiastic brio of youth.

Overall: An enjoyable mix and match this — very Norwegian in style and quality execution. It bubbled with energy and endeavour from start to finish.


Saturday 3, 19:53:33

First Division:

2. Hasle Brass (Robert Solberg Nilsen)

Salute to Percy Grainger:
Children (Grainger arr. Solberg Nilsen)
Tuscan Serenade (Grainger arr. Solberg Nilsen)
Soloist: Henrik Dagestad-Dalhaug (euphonium)
Molly on the Shore (Grainger arr. Solberg Nilsen)
Irish Tune (Grainger arr. Solberg Nilsen)
Country Gardens (Grainger arr. Solberg Nilsen)
Shepherd (Grainger arr. Solberg Nilsen)

Talking of quixotic — a tribute to the complex genius of that self-flogging Aussie Percy Grainger takes the biscuit.

It's so curiously engaging — the opening naive on the surface, but also darkly knowing of its fleeting sense of innocence soon lost, whilst the 'Serenade' is touchingly played by a fine soloist, but also leaves a mark of disturbed observation on the mind.

'Molly' is a carefree soul — all sensual playfulness, before there's not a dry eye to be seen in an Irish themed bar in Stavanger. We were weeping into our early morning pint of Guinness — very nice too.

The delicate elegance of an Edwardian country garden is refined — all chilled Pimms and prissiness, before the Hey and hearty Shepherd close.

Overall: What a bold and interesting programme from the MD — certainly different and very well played. As it was once said about Grainger: We can revel in the genius of the composer, if not of the man.


Saturday 3, 19:52:00

First Division:

1. Askoy Brass Band (Svein Henrik Giske)

Galaxies:
Regina March: (Urbach arr. Giske)
On with the Motley (Leoncavallo arr. Ray Farr)
Soloist: Tonje Marielle Iversen (soprano)
Aretha Franklin Medley: (Perret/Fekaris/Bacharach/David/Franklin/White arr. Giske)
Sarabande (Malcolm Arnold)
Seaside Rendezvous (Freddie Mercury arr. Giske)
Galaxies (Carl Davis arr. Ray Farr)

And we are off to a cracking start this morning with a bomper march that has much better planned drawbacks than the Brexit plans of Theresa May. What a classy start.

Bravo to the young sop star on the Leoncavallo — real heart on sleeve playing; fine intonation, bold and passionate.

The reminder of the great Aretha Franklin is suavely done too — (and just how good those composers were). It's played with funky intensity and neat choreography. The old girl would have been proud.

A little gem from Malcolm Arnold has a sweet melancholy to contrast with the cheeky postcard sauciness of Freddie Mercury at his quixotic best, before its rounded off with a full throttle 'Galaxies', which despite the odd moment of misfiring certainly hit the afterburners.

Overall: what a fine start to the day — contrast and plenty of cultured musicality here. Neat and clever that without pushing the boat out.

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Craig Roberts

BA (Hons), MA
Conductor / Adjudicator