2020 Regional test-pieces revealed

Works by Philip Sparke, Tom Davoren, Kit Turnball, Andrew Baker and Christopher Bond will pose the challenges for bands wishing to claim their places at the Royal Albert Hall and Cheltenham next year.

  The test pieces and CD have now been released

The list of 2020 Regional test-pieces was revealed at the National Finals in Cheltenham on the weekend.

New initiative

In a new initiative, the works for the First, Second, Third and Fourth Sections are being sold directly by the composers, whilst the Championship Section work is available through retailers.

The 2020 choices were made by the Music Panel of the National Brass Band Championships of Great Britain comprising Michael Fowles, Paul Holland, Samantha Harrison, C. Brian Buckley, John Maines and Richard Evans.

Regional CD:

The 2020 Regional Championships CD can be purchased at:


Test Pieces:

Championship Section: A Tale As Yet Untold (Philip Sparke)

First Section: Legacy for Brass Band (Tom Davoren)

To purchase:

Second Section: The Golden Sabre (Kit Turnball)

To purchase:

Third Section: Endurance (Andrew Baker)

To purchase:

Fourth Section: Neverland (Christopher Bond)

To purchase:

In a new initiative, the works for the First, Second, Third and Fourth Sections are being sold directly by the composers4BR

Championship Section:

'A Tale As Yet Untold' was commissioned by Cory Band to be used at the 2010 European Brass Band Championships.

The theme is an appreciation of the power of the human spirit to overcome adversity and how the beauty of music can help in achieving this.

The 'tale' of the title is an autobiographical one (although not divulged) which deals with a much more general human condition — from nervousness and aggression, yearning to triumph, all in a compositional arc that ends with an indomitable sense of optimism.

First Section:

'Legacy for Brass Band' was commissioned by Tredegar Band to celebrate the 70th anniversary of the creation of the National Health Service — whose inspirational architect, Aneurin Bevan came from the Welsh town.

In three continuous sections it is symbolic of the aspiration, the challenge and eventual creation of a service that is regarded as one of the greatest political as well as social achievements of the 20th century.

The opening represents the need waiting to be met, the central section (originally a soprano cornet solo but now amended for ensemble), the hope of those who touched directly by the service in action. The final section is a march of progress as the NHS strives to meet the demands of the modern world.

Second Section:

Kit Turnball's 'The Golden Sabre' is subtitled 'Tales of the Hussar-Poet Denis Davydov'.

It is shaped in a single arc of romantic development to encompass as series of musical portraits surrounding Davydov's military actions of 1812 — ones that led to him being presented with the sabre inscribed, 'For Courage'.

His poetry was also admired by the likes of Alexander Pushkin and Leo Tolstoy (who based a character in his epic novel War & Peace' on him).

The work therefore deals with the very human themes and complexities of warfare as defined by his celebrated poetry — from the sun rising an encampments accompanied by trumpet calls, to folksongs, battles, celebrations of triumph, fears of mortality to the final epic battle at Borodino against Napoleon's troops.

Third Section:

'Endurance' is a series of five narrative variations inspired by the epic Trans-Antartic Expedition of 1914 undertaken by explorer, Sir Ernest Shackleton.

His ship, which gives Andrew Baker's work its title, was famously pictured stuck in ice 200 miles from her intended landfall — a fate that offered no return.

Undeterred, Shackleton and some crew members undertook a perilous journey across the southern Atlantic in lifeboats to reach Elephant Island, and then, another 800 miles to South Georgia, where they still had to climb over its mountainous terrain to find a base at a whaling station.

After a short period of rest they then returned to rescue the remaining crew — a staggeringly heroic journey that had taken over two years to successfully complete.

Fourth Section:

'Neverland' by Christopher Bond is inspired by the timeless story of Peter Pan, written in 1911 by author J.M. Barrie.

The book has also inspired famous film and stage adaptations, as the free-spirited child 'forever young' takes Peter and Wendy and the Lost Boys on escapist adventures to the mythical Neverland island.

The composer has taken three of the main themes from J. M. Barrie's book to create new a work in three contrasting sections; 'Journey to Neverland', mysterious in its style; 'The Windows that Closed' with its sense of longing and regret, and 'Aboard the Pirate Ship' as they battle the 'cadaverous and blackavized' Captain Hook.

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Saturday 19 October • Front Street, Consett, County Durham DH8 5AB

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Alan Fernie

Arranger, composer, adjudicator, conductor


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