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The Band of the RAF Regiment

Conductor: Fl Lt Tom Rodda
Featuring: Victoria Samek
Regent Hall
Friday 16th November

A large audience gathered at Regent Hall for the lunchtime concert given by Victoria Samek and the RAF Regiment Band. 

It was a more serious programme than usual, with some commenting that they would have liked to have heard the colours of the ensemble in more than an accompanying role. For the connoisseur of wind playing though it was an excellent hour or so of music-making.

Charles Villiers Stanford's 'Clarinet Concerto' is rather neglected alongside his choral works, although the three linked movements are full of charm and character.

The 'Allegro Andante' opened with a strong dotted rhythm underpinning the flowing solo line. The light scoring used the trumpets and trombones very sparingly, whilst three horns provided a link into the rhapsodic 'Andante con moto' with its changes of mood and neat interaction between brass and woodwind.

The closing 'Allegro Moderato' began forcefully, led by the horns, and revealing Stanford's Irish heritage with its jaunty solo line.

Hero Twins

It was followed by the first performance of 'Hero Twins' which takes its inspiration from Mayan mythology, and brothers Xbalanke and Junajpy, whose intense rivalry results in them becoming the sun and moon, or day and night. 

Thematically the music derives from Mexican birdsong, introduced by the soprano sax with a fall at the end of each phrase, with the alto sax featured in the jazz-influenced scherzo before the soprano returned for the final ritual dance.

Thematically the music derives from Mexican birdsong, introduced by the soprano sax with a fall at the end of each phrase, with the alto sax featured in the jazz-influenced scherzo before the soprano returned for the final ritual dance.

Benny Goodman

The closing item was perhaps the most accessible; Malcolm Arnold's 'Second Clarinet Concerto' originally written for the great Benny Goodman. The musical language of the 'Allegro vivace' was reminiscent of Arnold's film scores, from its exuberance to the wistful theme leading to the improvised cadenza.

Arnold's darker side was to the fore in the 'Lento'; sudden swells in the accompaniment bringing out some particularly fine tuba playing, and with considerable interplay between the soloist and wind players.

The final 'Allegro non troppo - Pre-Goodman Rag' was great fun, with whooping horns and great work by the saxophone section, although the 'non troppo' direction was tested to the full as the tempo increased towards the end.

Peter Bale

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