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Cory Band

Conductor: Philip Harper
L'Alpee de Vaulruz
Savigny
Switzerland
Saturday 5th January 2019

For many bands the prospect of returning to rehearsal two days after hogmanay (Scots certainly) would be a tall order. 

Not so Cory, as they dusted off any last remnants of tinsel to travel to Switzerland to give an outstanding concert in Savigny - almost within knocking distance of the current European Champion, Valaisia.

Capacity audience

Not surprisingly a capacity audience packed into their seats to hear a first half of traditional fayre, followed by a second reprising the winning programme from their most recent Brass in Concert triumph.

They were in super form; ‘Summon the Heroes’ kicking off the evening with a swagger before a stylish rendition of ‘Morning, Noon and Night in Vienna’ followed - led by the operatic euphonium voice of Glyn Williams.

All the featured soloists (in the spotlight or within the ensemble) shone; Tom Hutchinson leading the way with ‘How Great Thou Art’- a touching tribute to the much missed former principal cornet Ian Williams, with Ailsa Russell giving a virtuoso display on Owen Farr’s arrangement of the ‘Finale’ from Haydn’s ‘Cello Concerto’. 

Reverence

It was a delight to hear the ‘Minuet’ from ‘A Downland Suite’ played with such reverence to contrast the celebratory triumph and white-knuckle brinksmanship of ‘The Spirit of St Louis’ - Andrew Wainwright’s evocative take on Charles Lindbergh’s famous flight, which won the 2018  Cory Band/RWCMD Composition Competition.

‘Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom’ was a lollipop trip down memory lane to close the first half, whilst for those with memories stretching a little further back, ‘Night Flight to Madrid’ opened the second played at the pace of Concorde! 

It was the fizzy taster for the Brass in Concert reprise - a startlingly effective Shakespearean inspiration that encompassed love (Helen and Glyn Williams in Romeo and Juliet mode) and war (a brilliantly rabid scrap between warring clans), clever musical detours (Chris Thomas with a sublime ‘Somewhere’ from ‘West Side Story’) and a rousing finish.

‘Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom’ was a lollipop trip down memory lane to close the first half, whilst for those with memories stretching a little further back, ‘Night Flight to Madrid’ opened the second played at the pace of Concorde! 

The standing ovation was deserved and prolonged - and gave the players just enough time to settle lips for a breathless brace of encores in the form of the ‘toccata-esque’ take on Vivaldi’s ‘Four Seasons’ followed by a rip roaring ‘Finale’ from ‘William Tell’.

Cory will return to Switzerland in April as they seek to regain the European title from Valaisia’s possession.

On this form, it will be one heck of a contest.

Andrew Blackledge 

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