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Tredegar Band

Linz Festival of Brass
Conductor: Ian Porthouse
Soloist: David Childs
Brucknerhaus, Linz
Sunday 18th November

Tredegar’s acclaimed spirit of musical adventure saw them invited to perform at the prestigious Linz Brass Festival.

Four days of music making at the magnificent Brucknerhaus on the banks of the River Danube included performances from a number of world class brass musicians and ensembles, as well as the hosting of the Austrian National Brass Band Championship.

The move to further develop a domestic brass band culture by including it in high profile festivals such as this is seen as a key driving force that is now embedding itself into the cultural fabric of the Upper Austria region in particular. 

Headline attraction

This Gala Concert therefore had a serious additional intent - and although Allen Vizzutti was unable to appear due to the ill health of his wife, the other headline attraction in David Childs to perform the new Edward Gregson ‘Euphonium Concerto’ ensured that the auditorium was more than well filled with an expectant and informed audience. 

Tredegar’s eclectic repertoire, encompassing Berlioz, Rutter and Rimsky-Korsakov to Peter Graham, Jacob Larsen and Philip Sparke, with featured soloists Dewi Griffiths and Danny Winder in high class form, saw the band enhance their reputations with showcase quality playing.    

The centrepiece however was the formidable 22-minute Gregson Concerto - a work richly imbued with a sense of maturity and craftsmanship.

It was played in equally imposing manner by David Childs; the startling declamatory opening intervals leading into a complex opening movement of testing interplay based on a four note thematic cell. 

It was played in equally imposing manner by David Childs; the startling declamatory opening intervals leading into a complex opening movement of testing interplay based on a four note thematic cell. 

Deep resonance

The sumptuous central section, yearning with melancholic colour and pensive chord structures saw both soloist and band draw a deep resonance from the music, leading into a joyful finale of bright character and technical expression that at no point strayed into needless pyrotechnics.  

The thunderous applause spoke volumes in appreciation of the soloist, composition and composer, who was in the audience to enjoy a stunning display of musicianship. 

Also giving a display of emerging brilliance was European Solo Champion Felix Geroldinger with a thrilling rendition of ‘Harlequin’, although David Childs still topped things with his generous ‘Brillante’ duet with a 14 year old local euphonium protege and ‘Hot Canary’ as his encore.  

Tredegar’s choreographed encore double of ‘Blackbird Special’ and ‘Nobody Can’t do me like Jesus’ brought a standing ovation at the end of a concert that could provide the catalyst for the secondary development of Austrian brass banding.

Iwan Fox

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