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2019 British Open
As it happened

All the action from the 2019 British Open — as it happened.

  • Sunday 8, 08:31:15

    World of Brass statement:

    From the worldofbrass.tv website

    You will probably be aware that we encountered unforeseen technical problems during the livestream, especially in the morning session, caused by issues with the internet connection between Symphony Hall and our cloud video platform.

    The full live broadcast is being re-uploaded as quickly as possible and will be available to watch here shortly. This version will be available to watch again until next Saturday, 14 September.

    While it is very difficult to ensure a completely robust internet connection for streaming in every circumstance, we go to great lengths to ensure successful delivery of our livestreams and very much regret the disappointment today's problems will have caused, and will take all possible steps to minimise a recurrence of similar problems on future events.

    Although today's issues were beyond our control, we recognise that many of you will have been disappointed by the interruptions to the stream. Therefore if you would like to request a refund of your online ticket please contact us via support@stagecast.net using the email address associated with your account, for a full refund of your payment.

    Please note ' all times listed are local and are subject to change — GMT+1
    British Open Championship: Morning Session

    September 7, 2019 10:00 am — 1:30 pm Symphony Hall, Birmingham

    British Open Championship: Afternoon Session

    September 7, 2019 2:01 pm — 7:30 pm Symphony Hall, Birmingham

    ' World of Brass 2019

    Powered by Stagecast

  • Sunday 8, 07:47:44

    The prizewinners

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    Runner-up — Black Dyke

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    Third place — Foden's

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    Fourth place — Desford

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    Fifth place — Flowers

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    Sixth place — Brighouse & Rastrick

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    Geoffrey Whitham Trophy winner — Daniel Thomas of Black Dyke

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    Stanley Wainright Award winner — Tom Hutchinson of Cory

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    Brian Evans Memorial Award winner — Richard Poole of Foden's

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    Iles Medal recipient — Ray Farr

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    Mortimer Medal recipient — Brad Turnbull

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    The composer receives his memento of the day

  • Saturday 7, 18:25:51

    Result: 2019 British Open Championship

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    Result of the 2019 British Open Championship that has taken place at Symphony Hall, Birmingham.

    Additional comments and thoughts on our twitter site:
    http://twitter.com/4barsrest

    Saturday 7th September
    Test Piece: Dynasty (Peter Graham)
    Adjudicators: Nigel Boddice MBE, Dr Stephen Cobbs, Stephen Roberts

    1. Cory (Philip Harper)
    2. Black Dyke (Prof Nicholas J. Childs)
    3. Foden's (Russell Gray)
    4. Desford Colliery (LMTF) (Michael Fowles)
    5. Flowers (Paul Holland)
    6. Brighouse & Rastrick (Prof David King)
    7. Grimethorpe Colliery (Dr David Thornton)
    8. Fairey (Garry Cutt)
    9. Aldbourne (Ivan Meylemans)
    10. the cooperation band (Phillip McCann)
    11. Tredegar (Ian Porthouse)
    12. Valaisia Brass Band (Arsene Duc)
    13. Hammonds (Morgan Griffiths)
    14. Carlton Main Frickley Colliery (Luc Vertommen)
    15. Leyland (Thomas Wyss)
    16. Wingates (Paul Andrews)*
    17. NASUWT Riverside (David Roberts)
    18. Whitburn (Florent Didier) *

    Stanley Wainwright Memorial Trophy: Tom Hutchinson (Principal Cornet) — Cory
    Brian Evans Memorial Trophy: Richard Poole (Soprano) — Foden's
    The Geoffrey Whitham Memorial Trophy: Daniel Thomas (Solo Euphonium) — Black Dyke

    *Relegated to Grand Shield

  • Saturday 7, 18:02:01

    Chris Thomas' prediction

    1. Cory (Philip Harper)
    2. Foden's (Russell Gray)
    3. Brighouse & Rastrick (Prof David King)
    4. Black Dyke (Prof Nicholas J. Childs)
    5. Grimethorpe Colliery (Dr David Thornton)
    6. Desford Colliery (LMTF) (Michael Fowles)

    Dark Horse:
    Tredegar (Ian Porthouse)
    the cooperation Band (Phillip McCann)
    Fairey (Garry Cutt)

  • Saturday 7, 17:49:40

    Steven Mead's prediction

    1. Cory (Philip Harper) — 198
    2. Foden's (Russell Gray) — 196
    3. Brighouse & Rastrick (Prof David King) — 194
    4. Desford Colliery (LMTF) (Michael Fowles) — 192
    5 Grimethorpe Colliery (Dr David Thornton) — 191
    5. Black Dyke (Prof Nicholas J. Childs) — 191

  • Saturday 7, 17:32:27
     

    18. Grimethorpe Colliery (Dr David Thornton)

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    On Stage — Grimethorpe Colliery (Dr David Thornton)

    The tiniest of slips on the opening cornet note but there is a sense of space and atmosphere about this and its an impressive start, conjuring with colour and texture effectively.

    The haunting whistling of It's a Long Way to Tipperary is effective and a darkly hued descent into 'War' adds to the strength of the band's opening. This is gathering musical momentum at pace.

    'Theatre' reveals impressive detail and the dynamics are controlled with a firm grip allowing the inner workings of the ensemble to heard with clarity.

    'Together' and 'Farewell' are both finely done if not quite exhibiting the touches of magic that have marked out the very front runners today and the opening of' Amen' is fabulous. Great Eb bass and a characterful style. Soprano slips at a crucial moment but the affirmation of the close is captured in majestic fashion.

    Overall: David Thornton's contesting debut with Grimethorpe is an impressive one. It might not be quite enough to challenge for the ultimate glory today but this was a musical statement of authority and intent.

    Chris Thomas

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    In Performance — Dr David Thornton conducting Grimethorpe Colliery

    Criteria Mark Sheet — Marks by Steven Mead

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

    Total: 191

    Short Comment:

    Really assured and confident performance from Grimethorpe round off the day. Lacking a bit of star sparkle, but this was a return to form on the contest stage in Birmingham. Soloists all deliver, and that characteristic rich sound of Grimethorpe can be enjoyed to the full. Let's see where it ends up in the prizes.

  • Saturday 7, 17:13:14
     

    17. Aldbourne (Ivan Meylemans)

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    On Stage — Aldbourne (Ivan Meylemans)

    Ivan Meylemans takes the reigns from David Thornton who will follow Aldbourne on stage to conduct Grimethorpe.

    Opens well but cracks emerge almost immediately as slips and clips ruffle the atmosphere.

    There's an energy about 'Theatre' that impresses, even though the detail is not always evident through the textures but as the performance progresses, issues of tuning and nerves amongst the soloists combine to undermine what is clearly a very musical approach by the MD.

    'Amen' is similarly scrappy as the technical elements of the score take a toll and concentration levels dip. The ending is bold and majestic if a touch strident in its sound.

    Overall: A band performing to the best of its abilities but the going was tough for Aldbourne despite a clear musical plan from the MD.

    Chris Thomas

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    In Performance — Ivan Meylemans with Aldbourne

    Criteria Mark Sheet — Marks by Steven Mead

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

    Total: 159

    Short Comment:

    This was a performance of merit, and they gave it absolutely they're all.Some solo work didn't quite come off . You have to admire the fine work done by Aldbourne. Take a bow!

  • Saturday 7, 16:57:03
  • Saturday 7, 16:53:52
     

    16. Cory (Philip Harper)

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    On Stage — Cory (Philip Harper)

    Tom Hutchinson gives the opening cornet solo so much space and freedom. This is a compelling start, so subtly coloured and shaded.

    The transition into 'War' is so darkly foreboding yet mysterious and as its full impact unfolds, its power leads seamlessly into 'Theatre' which flies at a hair raising pace and with magnificent detail.

    The sheer impact gained through the control of dynamics and precision of ensemble is so impressive.

    Glyn Williams opens 'Together' beautifully and the quartet is a thing of delicate beauty, enunciated with telling sensitivity.

    The atmosphere created in 'Farewell' is one of such stillness. The tempo takes risks as it tends to the slow side, but the results are magical indeed. This is such beautiful playing as the references to Severn Suite pull at the heart strings.

    What a fabulous opening Eb solo in 'Amen'. This has a stature about it, an Edwardian character that aligns with Handel in the cleverest of ways. And when the band opens up at the close the effect is simply stunning.

    Overall: Playing of startling magic, sublime majesty and atmosphere. This was a masterclass in how to hold an audience spellbound.

    Chris Thomas

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    In Performance — Philip Harper with Cory

    Criteria Mark Sheet — Marks by Steven Mead

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

    Total: 198

    Short Comment:

    Sublime playing of this test piece. An array of colours, dynamic moments and precision pretty much unlike anything we've heard today. Imagine Harry Mortimers smile at this musicianship and outstanding band playing. Extraordinary!

  • Saturday 7, 16:43:22

    4BR talks to Franck Bichon

  • Saturday 7, 16:26:54

    15. Hammonds (Morgan Griffiths)

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    On Stage — Hammonds (Morgan Griffiths)

    Harry's opening theme is initially stylishly done on solo cornet but slips start to creep in through later bars and the musical picture is unsettled as a result.

    It's a Long Way to Tipperary is whistled through cupped hands'.quite an effective tactic that no other band has tried'and although there's no shortage of commitment in 'Theatre' there is also a tendency to loose ensemble that interrupts the flow and momentum as the MD strives to keep the tempo stable.

    Soloists do well in 'Together' and 'Farewell' with solo baritone secure if not the most subtle amongst baritone soloists on the day.

    'Amen' could do with a little more character and flexibility and comes across as somewhat rigid in style although the ending finds a seam of affirmation that closes the performance in majestic fashion.

    Overall: A sterling effort from Hammonds soloists who gave it everything on a piece that proved challenging to the band.

    Chris Thomas

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    In Performance — Morgan Griffiths with Hammonds

    Criteria Mark Sheet — Marks by Steven Mead

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

    Total: 163

    Short Comment:

    After a rather insecure start, this performance blossomed well. It had serious intent, just got let down by small regular errors. Morgan Griffis controlled with authority. What was missing was a little more stylistic awareness, genuine tenderness and expression in the slower sections. Still, much to be admired.

  • Saturday 7, 16:08:08
     

    14. Flowers (Paul Holland)

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    On Stage — Flowers (Paul Holland)

    Harry's initial portrait is finely portrayed with a lyrically flowing opening cornet solo and atmospherically coloured textures and colours. If there's a criticism it is that the dynamics tend to being slightly heavy in the quietest passages.

    'War' and 'Theatre' are given ample detail and there's no shortage of drama here. The dynamics sometimes mask a degree of detail but the cumulative energy of the playing impresses in its sheer weight and drive.

    There is so much to admire in 'Together' and 'Farewell' but again the dynamic sometimes gets in the way of the magic of the music. A few more risks would perhaps pay off here. Fine soloists though, all of whom display consistency with a particularly fine contribution from solo cornet.

    The ending is one of blazing power but the overall impression here is of a quality band that could perhaps display a greater contrast of dynamic.

    Overall: A solid, technically accomplished performance from Flowers which although a touch one dimensional dynamically, was marked by solo contributions of quality.

    Chris Thomas

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    In Performance — Paul Holland taking Flowers

    Criteria Mark Sheet — Marks by Steven Mead

    Technical accuracy: 18
    Rhythmic precision and clarity: 19
    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: 19

    Total: 180

    Short Comment:

    A full blooded performance from Flowers. Some outstanding solo cornet playing as well as a perfect E-flat bass solo. Overblown at times for me, quite unnecessarily so. We needed more range of dynamics, especially softer dynamics, and a little bit more subtlety in style. When the band goes into overdrive, it sure delivers. Much to admire and some fine individual playing.

  • Saturday 7, 15:46:10

    4BR talks to Lyndon Chapman

  • Saturday 7, 15:42:56
     

    13. Carlton Main Frickley Colliery (Luc Vertommen)

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    On Stage — Carlton Main Frickley Colliery (Luc Vertommen)

    Fine solo cornet to open and immediately this has a feeling of musical authority about it.

    The MD finds subtle colours and textures in the atmospheric opening bars and 'War' opens effectively with 'Theatre' proceeding in solid if somewhat unexciting fashion.

    Soloists continue to acquit themselves well as the performance progresses but somehow this is failing to engage us. The tempo is perhaps a touch slow in 'Farewell' but it is the lack of contrast and colour that is holding the performance back and giving it a somewhat monochrome feel.

    And as we hit 'Amen' concentration levels seem to take a tumble as mistakes start to creep increasingly into the picture.

    The ending is one of power but the faces of the players say it all at the close of a performance that never quite fired on all cylinders.

    Overall: Fine playing in parts from Carlton Main but this was a reading that didn't quite engage with.

    Chris Thomas

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    In Performance — Luc Vertommen with Carlton Main Frickley Colliery

    Criteria Mark Sheet — Marks by Steven Mead

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

    Total: 173

    Short Comment:

    A rather mixed performance. Very impressive moments, sometimes quite beautiful, and other sections sounded strangely plane or even tired. Not a great deal of mistakes but the music never communicated as it has with some other bands. Rather puzzling in my opinion.

  • Saturday 7, 15:24:57

    Steven Mead's top three after 12 performances

    1. Fodens
    2. Brighouse
    3. Desford

  • Saturday 7, 15:22:20
     

    12. Black Dyke (Prof Nicholas J. Childs)

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    On Stage — Black Dyke (Prof Nicholas J. Childs)

    The opening cornet solo is so beautifully shaped by Richard Marshall. Flowing and played with such lyrical ease although not without the tiniest of slips in the final bars as 'War' approaches.

    And when war arrives it does so in the most gripping of terms as 'Theatre' flies along with abundant detail and clarity. Dynamics are occasionally a touch forced perhaps but there is visceral power in the playing that has huge impact.

    As we head into a fond 'Farewell' solo horn sounds a touch nervous but holds things together, with a baritone solo of the very highest quality from Katrina Marzella. The solo passages have not been without their inconsistencies though.

    Fine bass solo to open 'Amen' and now we sense the band displaying its sound and power in the most glowing terms as the emotion is cranked up to a conclusion that is magnificent in its depth and majesty.

    Overall: A majestic reading from Black Dyke but tiny flaws and inconsistencies are sure to figure on a day when the musical stares are set so high.

    Chris Thomas

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    In Performance — Prof Nicholas J. Childs with Black Dyke

    Criteria Mark Sheet — Marks by Steven Mead

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

    Total: 191

    Short Comment:

    A very fine performance with some truly outstanding moments. Baritone and Eflat bass particularly excel. There were a couple of loose moments which should be punished, so long as the judges spotted them. At times the vibrato in some voices was almost disturbing. Quality music making, and it should definitely make it into the frame one thinks.

  • Saturday 7, 15:04:42
  • Saturday 7, 14:58:30
     

    11. Brighouse & Rastrick (Prof David King)

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    On Stage — Brighouse & Rastrick (Prof David King)

    There are wonderfully shifting colours and textures created in the opening bars but also the tiniest of slips on solo cornet, every note of which David King dictates with precision.

    The haunting atmosphere of the opening bars returns as the band whistles 'It's a Long Way to Tipperary' with just the right hint of feigned optimism until we are plunged into 'War' with playing of stunning dynamic extremes and a precision of ensemble that is mechanical in its relentless accuracy and progress.

    'Together' is beautifully done. So glowingly affectionate and nostalgic'with 'Farewell' displaying a yearning for the past that is so touching.

    The opening of 'Amen' doesn't entirely convince in its security and as we progress towards the final apotheosis one or two slips lurk beneath the surface. The glorious closing bars radiate majesty but for all its musical class, slips will surely prove vital.

    Overall: A fine, fine performance from Brighouse without a doubt, but one that hasn't quite knocked Foden's off the very high bar it has set.

    Chris Thomas

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    In Performance — Prof David King with Brighouse & Rastrick

    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: 19
    Band sound quality: 20
    Balance/clarity of textures: 19
    Quality of soloists: 19
    Overall understanding: 20
    Total musicality from the band: 19

    Total: 194

    Short Comment:

    A superb performance from Brighouse and Rastrick. What an outstanding band. The tiniest of little errors could cost them today even though they were minuscule. For me Fodens still has this, but only just.. for now.

  • Saturday 7, 14:30:51
  • Saturday 7, 14:29:40
     

    10. Whitburn (Florent Didier)

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    On Stage — Whitburn (Florent Didier)

    The opening atmospheres takes a little time to settle and there are the slightest of slips on cornet and euphonium. As the band relaxes into the performance however it gathers both confidence and momentum.

    'War' opens well with the haunting atmosphere well captured and the grim, relentless power of 'Theatre' is revealed in suitably dark tones, albeit not always finding the textural clarity required to allow the detail to emerge.

    The style of 'Together' and 'Farewell' is so well shaped by the MD with his musical intentions always clear. More slips emerge as both the music and the pressure take an increasing toll on the solo players however and the performance becomes increasingly ragged as it progresses.

    There is no shortage of passion in the closing bars but also a tendency to force the sound which has an impact on balance and tuning.

    Overall: A performance of clear musical intent from Whitburn but one that was also marked by a high error count.

    Chris Thomas

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    In Performance — Florent Didier with Whitburn

    Criteria Mark Sheet — Marks by Steven Mead

    Technical accuracy: 14
    Rhythmic precision and clarity: 18
    Control of full dynamic range: 18
    Ensemble precision: 18
    Tuning/intonation: 19
    Band sound quality: 17
    Balance/clarity of textures: 17
    Quality of soloists: 15
    Overall understanding: 17
    Total musicality from the band: 17

    Total: 170

    Short Comment:

    A superb ending, and some beautiful quiet playing, but just too many big errors today. They'll be disappointed as it had so much more promise. Might struggle today in this outstandingly high level contest.

  • Saturday 7, 14:16:50
  • Saturday 7, 13:52:28

    Chris Thomas's Half Time Thoughts

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    This is a contest that is going to be won by the finest of margins.

    Peter Graham's Dynasty is proving to be a terrific test of both musicality and technique, but above all it is gripping the Symphony Hall audience with its latent blend of emotion and passion.

    Foden's has stolen the show so far with a performance of unbridled stature and radiant warmth that has taken us to the comfort break but behind that, there are several bands that have turned in powerful, if occasionally flawed readings that are in the half time mix.

    Chris Thomas goes for a half time top six of:

    1 Foden's
    2 Desford
    3 Tredegar
    4 the cooperation Band
    5 Fairey
    6 Leyland

  • Saturday 7, 13:44:24
     

    9. Foden's (Russell Gray)

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    On Stage — Foden's (Russell Gray)

    The opening is simply beautiful. Limpid textures that create an atmosphere of distant, ghostly memories emerging from the mists of time, laced with wonderful solo cornet playing by Mark Wilkinson.

    And when the sound opens up it's Ravel like in soundworld. The detail evident in 'War' is breathtaking. There is such latent yet grim and disturbing energy about 'Theatre' aided by ear opening contrasts of dynamic that allow so much detail and accuracy to be projected by the players.

    The quartet of 'Together' and the fond 'Farewell' that follows is so so touching as the ghost of Elgar hovers over the music in the most ethereal way. My goodness this is beautiful and although the tempo is fractionally slow, it works in the hands of such wonderfully musical players and an MD of depth and insight.

    The fugue opens in such a natural manner, both in sound and execution. This is effortless playing that makes you want to just sit back and listen in admiration and respect. The ending is a glorious pean of affirmation, initially warm and controlled but then searing in its majesty.

    Overall: As emotional a performance as you are ever likely to hear that was imbued with such deep and glowing affection from start to finish. The National Champions have nailed their flag to the mast here.

    Chris Thomas

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    In Performance — Russell Gray with Foden's

    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: 20
    Balance/clarity of textures: 19
    Quality of soloists: 20
    Overall understanding: 20
    Total musicality from the band: 20

    Total: 196

    Short Comment:

    The contest goes into the stratosphere with this unbelievable performance from Fodens. Casting a huge symphonic arc over the whole work Russell Gray delivers the absolute best from the reigning national champions. Taking the lead comfortably for me at this halfway stage. That will take some beating.

  • Saturday 7, 13:26:54
     

    8. Desford Colliery (LMTF) (Michael Fowles)

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    On Stage — Desford Colliery (LMTF) (Michael Fowles)

    The opening has an immediate atmosphere about it, haunting in its delicately shifting textures and colours. This is making an immediate impression.

    The whistling of 'It's a Long Way to Tipperary' is so thoughtfully done in its mood before a brutal descent into 'War' is painted in the most graphic and violent of terms, yet with a degree of control that is totally gripping through its accuracy and clarity of detail. Powerful stuff indeed.

    There's a stillness about 'Farewell' that is so touching in its atmosphere. This is the music speaking for itself as the result of an MD that is drawing every ounce of passion from the music. It comes from the heart and my goodness do the closing bars stress that very point. Passion and musicality coming together in playing that stirs every spirit and sinew.

    Overall: A performance and reading of terrific musical stature from Desford. Emotional, haunting, touching and with a degree of control in the faster music that made a huge impression.

    Chris Thomas

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    In Performance — Michael Fowles taking Desford Colliery (LMTF)

    Criteria Mark Sheet — Marks by Steven Mead

    Technical accuracy: 19
    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: 19
    Overall understanding: 20
    Total musicality from the band: 20

    Total: 192

    Short Comment:

    A simply wonderful performance by Desford. Almost faultless with wonderful sound throughout balance control and a wonderful reading by Mike Fowles. Emotion off the scale. I could not be prouder of my old band!

  • Saturday 7, 13:25:42
  • Saturday 7, 12:58:48
     

    7. Wingates (Paul Andrews)

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    On Stage — Wingates (Paul Andrews)

    Good opening cornet solo and this is an atmospheric opening from the Grand Shield qualifiers.

    As it progresses there are one or two solo clips but the MD's intent is always clear despite occasional blemishes in the execution.

    The opening of 'War' is again nicely done although as the demands on ensemble and detail increase, so do the slips as the effort starts to take their toll.

    The lyrical playing that ensues is so nicely done though with some delicate, limpidly touching moments. Solo baritone struggles and suddenly there is fragility in the air, although it recovers as we approach the fugue.

    The fugue of 'Amen' itself is well handled but as the closing paragraphs come into focus, concentration levels seem to take a dip as the error count mounts.

    Overall: Some lovely moments from Wingates although this proved to be a reading that lost a degree of consistency and accuracy in the latter stages.

    Chris Thomas

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    In Performance with Paul Andrews and Wingates

    Criteria Mark Sheet — Marks by Steven Mead

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

    Total: 166

    Short Comment:

    A performance that had some terrific moments and a great understanding from the conductor. Some very stylish moments, particularly towards the end. Soloists generally deliver well, but quite a few scrappy moments especially in the second half of the work robbed it of its overall impact.

  • Saturday 7, 12:48:27
  • Saturday 7, 12:39:11
     

    6. the cooperation band (Phillip McCann)

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    On Stage — the cooperation Band (Phillip McCann)

    A quality opening with Jim Hayes sounding the solo cornet part evocatively from the back of the band. Philip McCann allows the music to unfold naturally with the atmosphere always evident.

    The opening of 'War' is so well done with the ghostly echoes of It's a Long Way to Tipperary whistled with just the right blend of nervous, misplaced optimism. Soloists perform well here and although 'Theatre' is not truly visceral in its impact, the levels of precision and detail evident in the ensemble continue to impress.

    'Together' and 'Farewell' are beautifully done. Such finely wrought solo work although the baritone solo is played on solo euphonium. This has such a natural ebb and flow to it allowing the music to speak for itself in moving fashion.

    Fine tempo in the fugue of 'Amen' and this is well controlled. Nothing is overblown and warm but never forced sounds permeate the emotional closing paragraphs.

    Overall: Phillip McCann has really showed us his true musical colours here.Such a thoughtful, musically coherent performance executed with style and consistency from the band.

    Chris Thomas

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    Phillip McCann with the cooperation band

    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: 18
    Band sound quality: 19
    Balance/clarity of textures: 18
    Quality of soloists: 19
    Overall understanding: 20
    Total musicality from the band: 19

    Total: 188

    Short Comment:

    An outstanding performance by the Cooperation band. Great intent, outstanding musicality, secure soloists and a real understanding of the music. A pity the euphonium played the baritone solo, not sure if the judges will notice. Stunning playing.

  • Saturday 7, 12:25:56

    4BR talks to David Read

  • Saturday 7, 12:20:19
     

    5. Fairey (Garry Cutt)

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    On Stage — Fairey (Garry Cutt)

    Nice opening cornet and this immediately settles into a haunting musical landscape.

    The opening of 'War' is deftly done and the whistling sits hauntingly within the texture and atmosphere as the band's power is fully unleashed. This is impressive stuff and although it threatens to rush on in 'Theatre', there is so much to admire in the control of the dynamics and detail.

    The solo playing is not always pristine but what it never lacks is a wholly natural flow and fluidity as solo lines coalesce and intertwine in 'Together' and 'Farewell'.

    The opening of the fugue doesn't quite gel but the tempo is bang on the money allowing the voices to be heard with clarity. There's so much to enjoy here and it is infectious music making in the way it communicates. The close glows with passion, capping a gripping account from Fairey.

    Overall: A reading of high musical quality from Garry Cutt and his team. Like Tredegar, there were slips at times but it was the passion and emotion of the playing that has made its mark here.

    Chris Thomas

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    In Perforrmance — Garry Cutt with Fairey

    Criteria Mark Sheet — Marks by Steven Mead

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

    Total: 183

    Short Comment:

    A real thoroughbred performance, with some really magical moments. Just a few clips and slips in the second half of the piece took the shine of what was a very impressive performance from Fairey.

  • Saturday 7, 12:09:41
  • Saturday 7, 11:57:07
     

    4. NASUWT Riverside (David Roberts)

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    On Stage — NASUWT Riverside (David Roberts)

    Stylish solo cornet to open although the atmosphere doesn't quite find those ghostly shadows that are so crucial in setting the atmosphere.

    There are a few dry and nervous lips whistling It's a Long Way to Tipperary, and as we descend into 'War', the battle takes its toll on ensemble as the band struggles to project the detail with any real clarity or precision.

    There are some brave solo efforts from all of the corner players but a combination of nerves and pressure are such that we can sense the players straining at times.

    'Amen' is projected with power and passion in equal measure but ultimately it's the power that wins the day in a reading that just needed a touch more refinement and control.

    Overall: A bold effort from the Grand Shield qualifiers but this was a performance that cruelly exposed just how musically and technically deceptive a piece Dynasty is.

    Chris Thomas

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    In Performance — David Roberts with NASUWT Riverside

    Criteria Mark Sheet — Marks by Steven Mead

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

    Total: 158

    Short Comment:

    A brave attempt, and although the ending was overblown, there was still much to admire. It needed for me some more stylish playing, tenderness and real expression. The band seem happy with it on stage, and they all deserve a beer!

  • Saturday 7, 11:52:20
  • Saturday 7, 11:36:58
     

    3. Tredegar (Ian Porthouse)

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    On Stage — Tredegar (Ian Porthouse)

    The opening immediately draws us in as ghostly, twilit colours and textures are conjured up hauntingly. Just fleeting moments of unease here and there as we launch into 'War' and the whistling has an eerie quality about it'.laced with hints of feigned optimism.

    Dynamics are so well controlled in 'Theatre' enabling the detail and ensemble to emerge with impressive clarity. At its best, this is so impressive and it is the careful control of the dynamics that is allowing the precision of the playing to draw us onward.

    Fine opening to 'Journey' and there are so many lovely inflections here'.tiny little turns of style from the players that lend a classy, polished feel to the performance.

    Fine solo horn and this has a real aura about it with the hints of Elgar's Severn Suite played with such poignancy and emotion'this is the first reading so far that has really pulled at the heart strings and it does so with such feeling.

    The fugue of 'Amen' is fabulously controlled. Just the odd clip along the way but the latent passion evident in every bar makes such a powerful impression with the final bars a blaze of affirmation.

    Overall: Bravo Tredegar! A gripping reading that although not without tiny slips radiated character, passion and above all, glorious musicality.

    Chris Thomas

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    In Performance — Ian Porthouse with Tredegar

    Criteria Mark Sheet — Marks by Steven Mead

    Technical accuracy: 16
    Rhythmic precision and clarity: 19
    Control of full dynamic range: 19
    Ensemble precision: 19
    Tuning/intonation: 19
    Band sound quality: 18
    Balance/clarity of textures: 18
    Quality of soloists: 17
    Overall understanding: 20
    Total musicality from the band: 19

    Total: 184

    Short Comment:

    Musically incredibly satisfying. A really masterful reading from Ian Porthouse. Just too many slight clips to put it in serious contention, but oh so enjoyable!

  • Saturday 7, 11:29:07

    4BR talks to Sheona White

  • Saturday 7, 11:19:00
     

    2. Valaisia Brass Band (Arsene Duc)

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    On Stage — Valaisia Brass Band (Arsene Duc)

    An uncomfortable opening entry from solo cornet and the opening atmospheres don't initially settle. Further slips unsettle the musical picture and there's an uneasy feeling about the performance until the sheer power of 'War' is unleashed with venom. Suddenly this is so much more gripping.

    Technically this has now transformed into a tour de force and 'Theatre' drives on relentlessly. Yet once the textures thin and the soloists predominate, nerves once again seem to take hold with the players looking physically uncomfortable at times.

    Tuning is not always precise in the quartet of 'Together' and the blaze of Messiah that burns through the fugue of 'Amen' is a touch over done at times. An ending of searing passion and volume clearly makes its impact on the audience but this has been a strangely un-involving account from a fine band that wasn't at its best today.

    Overall: In the technical passages Valaisia showed its true credentials but overall this was not the Valaisia we have been used to of late with errors and obvious nerves sometimes robbing the music of its flow.

    Chris Thomas

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    In Performance — Arsene Duc with Valaisia Brass Band

    Criteria Mark Sheet — Marks by Steven Mead

    Technical accuracy: 17
    Rhythmic precision and clarity: 19
    Control of full dynamic range: 14
    Ensemble precision: 18
    Tuning/intonation: 19
    Band sound quality: 18
    Balance/clarity of textures: 18
    Quality of soloists: 17
    Overall understanding: 18
    Total musicality from the band: 17

    Total: 174

    Short Comment:

    A performance that will have people talking, and there will be mixed opinions on this one. For me so many of the loud dynamics were just way over the top, for the room and for the music. Soloists didn't seem at ease. For me a really off day for this great band.

  • Saturday 7, 10:57:15
  • Saturday 7, 10:54:54
     

    1. Leyland (Thomas Wyss)

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    On Stage — Leyland (Thomas Wyss)

    Tuning takes a little time to settle at the opening but the ghostly atmosphere is created with transparency and careful attention to colour.

    War hits home like a thunderbolt and the haunting whistling of 'It's a Long Way to Tipperary' is effective against the increasing sense of dark drama that the score permeates.

    Ensemble suffers to some degree as 'Theatre' takes a few prisoners amongst the players. This might be a piece where musicality plays a vital role but this is exposing some cracks as we head towards 'Journey' and its telling little self quotation to open.

    'Together' just lacks that touch of magic in the quartet and once again uneasy tuning makes for an unsettled feel to the atmosphere.

    The opening of the fugue and 'Amen' is heavy handed for mezzo piano and once again precision of ensemble is lacking at times. A majestic close caps an engaging open effort from Leyland however.

    Overall: Leyland opened well and created some lovely textures albeit not without tuning and ensemble issues at times. A fine effort overall though and one that has clearly whet the appetite of the audience for the day ahead.

    Chris Thomas

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    In Performance — Thomas Wyss taking Leyland

    Criteria Mark Sheet by Steven Mead

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

    Total: 169

    Short Comment:

    Very nice performance that started superbly. But a few errors crept in, tuning suffered in numerous places and the odd bit of roughness in sonority appeared. Still, a fine opening to the contest.

  • Saturday 7, 10:49:37

    4BR talks to Martin Mortimer

  • Saturday 7, 10:46:55

    Introduction to the 2019 British Open with Steven Mead and Chris Thomas

  • Saturday 7, 10:21:53
  • Saturday 7, 10:05:33
  • Saturday 7, 09:52:46

    Welcome from Steven Mead

    What a superb contest this promises to be!

    If you are listening/watching in Birmingham or online you might want to see how you score each band using the criteria system sheets below.

    Compare your scores with those that I post live online on the 4barsrest live page. It means nothing in terms of the 'actual' result of course but it might be fun for you to try to be a judge this weekend!!

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  • Saturday 7, 09:24:17

    Draw

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    David Hayward compere for the day announces the draw

    Test Piece: 'Dynasty' — Peter Graham

    Commence: 10.30am

    Adjudicators: Nigel Boddice MBE, Dr Stephen Cobb, Stephen Roberts

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    Drawing a position at number 11 in the draw for Brighouse & Rastrick and Prof David King

    1. Leyland (Thomas Wyss)
    2. Valaisia Brass Band (Arsene Duc)
    3. Tredegar (Ian Porthouse)
    4. NASUWT Riverside (David Roberts)
    5. Fairey (Garry Cutt)
    6. the cooperation band (Phillip McCann)
    7. Wingates (Paul Andrews)
    8. Desford Colliery (LMTF) (Michael Fowles)
    9. Foden's (Russell Gray)
    10. Whitburn (Florent Didier)
    11. Brighouse & Rastrick (Prof David King)
    12. Black Dyke (Prof Nicholas J. Childs)
    13. Carlton Main Frickley Colliery (Luc Vertommen)
    14. Flowers (Paul Holland)
    15. Hammonds (Morgan Griffiths)
    16. Cory (Philip Harper)
    17. Aldbourne (Ivan Meylemans)
    18. Grimethorpe Colliery (Dr David Thornton)

  • Saturday 7, 09:01:15

    Open the box...

  • Saturday 7, 08:42:05

    The judges have been revealed...

    The three men who will be making the all important decsions today in the box have been revealed.

    There is plenty of experience with Stephen Roberts, who has done the task a number of times here, alongside Nigel Boddice MBE, the highly respected trumpet player, conductor and educator, and Stephen Cobb, the Bandmaster of the International Staff Band of the Salvation Army.

  • Saturday 7, 08:07:58

    The competing bands

    Saturday 7th September
    Test Piece: Dynasty (Peter Graham)
    Commence: 10.30am
    Draw: 9.00am

    Aldbourne (Ivan Meylemans)
    Black Dyke (Prof Nicholas J. Childs)
    Brighouse & Rastrick (Prof David King)
    Carlton Main Frickley Colliery (Luc Vertommen)
    Cory (Philip Harper)
    Desford Colliery (LMTF) (Michael Fowles)
    Fairey (Garry Cutt)
    Flowers (Paul Holland)
    Foden's (Russell Gray)
    Grimethorpe Colliery (Dr David Thornton)
    Hammonds Saltaire (Morgan Griffiths)
    Leyland (Thomas Wyss)
    NASUWT Riverside (David Roberts)
    the cooperation Band (Phillip McCann)
    Tredegar (Ian Porthouse)
    Valaisia Brass Band (Arsene Duc)
    Whitburn (Florent Didier)
    Wingates (Paul Andrews)

  • Saturday 7, 07:49:20

    Good morning from Symphony Hall...

    It's the morning of the 167th British Open Championship — and its a historic day for the oldest and most prestigious brass band contest in the world.

    18 bands will battle to claim the iconic Gold Shield trophy — first presented in 1924 and currently in the hands of the defending champion, Cory — for another 9 hours or so at least...

    Can the Welsh band retain the title or will one of the other 17 world class contenders wrestle it from their grasp on Peter Graham's wonderful set work, 'Dynasty'.

    it all kicks off here with the first band at 10.30am, so plenty to get on with before the first note is played.

    We hope you enjoy the action and our coverage...

  • Friday 6, 13:58:12

    Preview & prediction

  • Wednesday 4, 06:25:25

    Test piece review

    Peter Graham's monument to greatness will provide a subtle tonal test of musicality for the competing bands at Symphony Hall — something the Mortimer dynasty would surely be delighted with...

  • Wednesday 4, 06:22:29

    Win a Besson cornet...


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Black Dyke Band - Queensbury Parish Church

Thursday 12 December • Holy Trinity Church, West End, Queensbury, West Yorkshire, BD13 2AD


Regent Hall Concerts - Royal Greenwich Brass Band "Christmas with the Ban

Friday 13 December • Charlton House. Charlton Road. London. SE7 8RE


Regent Hall Concerts - Coldstream Guards Jazz Orchestra

Friday 13 December • Regent Hall (The Salvation Army). 275 Oxford Street Opp. RESERVED. London . W1C 2DJ


Essex Police Band - The Chelmsford Community Gospel Choir

Saturday 14 December • Christchurch, London Road, Chelmsford CM2 0AWΒ 


Essex Police Band - Chelmsford Gospel Choir and Chelmsford Boys Bridga

Saturday 14 December • Christchurch. New London Road . Chelmsford . CM2 0AW CM2 0AW


Crewe Brass

December 12 • Crewe Brass is looking for a Solo cornet to complete our line up. Our Principal cornet seat is available for the right candidate. . We are a 2nd section band, with intentions of getting back into the 1st section!


Frampton on Severn Silver Band

December 11 • We are a friendly non-contesting band in Gloucestershire looking for players, in particular cornets, euphonium and Eb bass, but all are welcome. We play at local events and bandstand jobs, and practice on Tuesday evenings just off J13 of the M5.


Bollington Brass Band

December 10 • New year New challenge?. . We are looking for a kit percussionist and a bass Trombone. . The band will be playing in the North West first section this year and have a sensible concert programme. We rehearse Monday and Thursday 8-10pm in Bollington.


Darren R. Hawken

PGdip, BMus(hons) PGCE, dipABRSM, LRSM
Conductor, Arranger, Teacher, Adjudicator, Band Trainer


               

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