Gregson looking forward to a withdrawn revival

Composer Edward Gregson will be at the RNCM Brass Band Festival this weekend to hear the first concert performance of his 'Concertante for Piano and Brass Band' for nearly 30 years.

  The 20 year old Edward Gregson gave the world premiere at the Royal Festival Hall in 1966

One of the welcome compositional revivals to be featured at this year's RNCM Brass Band Festival will be a performance of Edward Gregson's 'Concertante for Piano and Band' featuring Jonathan Scott and Fairey Band (Saturday — 11.30am).

It received an acclaimed world premiere with the 20 year old composer as the soloist, at the Royal Festival Hall in October 1966 (above), with subsequent performances given on a regular basis throughout the 1970s and 1980s.


However, as Edward Gregson told 4BR, he decide to withdraw the work in 1989 as he felt it was too heavily influenced by the musical style of Rachmaninov, Gershwin and Ireland. As a result it lay dormant for nearly 30 years.

"The work was initially well received,"he said. "The likes of Ray Steadman Allen appreciated what he called a 'new voice', whilst it indirectly led me to write extensively for the brass band medium as Geoffrey Brand was at the first performance and soon asked me to become the 'house composer' for R .Smith & Co.

By the late 1980s though I felt it was too influenced by other voices, and withdrew it, but having had time to look closely at it again I feel I was mistaken and although those influences certainly remain, there is more than enough 'early' Gregson in it, with ciphered indicators of works to come such as 'Essay', 'The Plantagenets' and 'Concerto Grosso'."

Nearly 30 years

The welcome decision means that for the first time since a Gala Concert performance following the 1989 National Championships, a rare compositional format of solo piano and brass band will be heard again, much to the composer's delight.

"The RNCM Festival offers a wonderful opportunity for works such as this to be performed,"Edward continued, "and I'm thrilled that Jonathan Scott, an outstanding musician, who was a first year under graduate when I started as Principal at the RNCM in 1996 will be the soloist."

I'm rather proud of the 'Concertante' now, and the combination of piano and brass band does work rather well I thinkEdward Gregson.

Personal revival

Despite recovering from a bout of influenza, Edward has been to a rehearsal with Fairey and will be at the RNCM on Saturday to hear the long overdue revival.

"I'm rather proud of the 'Concertante' now, and the combination of piano and brass band does work rather well I think.

I was bowled over by Jonathan and Fairey at the rehearsal. I hope it leads to other bands looking closely at it as a major concert work as I feel it will appeal to a wide audience.

I'm also thrilled that it will be performed so soon after this weekend at a special St David's Day Concert in Cardiff in March."

RNCM Brass Band Festival

Fairey Band:
Conductors: Garry Cutt and Tom Davoren
Saturday 27th January

Blemont Variations (Arthur Bliss)
Concertante for Piano and Band (Edward Gregson)
Soloist: Jonathan Scott
Lullaby (Tom Davoren)
Serenade (Derek Bourgeois)
Resurgam (Eric Ball)

'Concertante for Piano and Band' is published by Morthanveld Publishing Ltd

For more information go to: www.morthanveld.com

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