facebook twitter rss vimeo shop label support us


Tredegar Band

2019 RNCM Brass Band Festival
Conductor: Ian Porthouse
Soloist: David Childs
RNCM Manchester
Sunday 27th January

The UK premiere of Edward Gregson’s ‘Euphonium Concerto’ given by David Childs was the fulcrum to Tredegar’s programme at the RNCM Festival.

It raised an outstanding concert into the realms of the superlative.  

After an acclaimed performance by the combination at the Linz Brass Festival in November, the umbilical connection between MD Ian Porthouse and soloist was tethered with instinctive elasticity - the opening ‘Dialogues’ built on a four note cell stated with staggering  bulls-eye brilliance by the soloist.    

The neat interplay that followed, pared down by the composer to its basic essentials, was lucid and detailed, leading into an extended ‘Song Without Words’ - a poetic ballad of peacefulness.

Childs shaped each phrase with a tender passion, an intense, wistful air of nostalgia permeating the music.  

Only in the finale, a ‘Bacchanal’ of razor sharp technique dressed in a patina of heady bling, did the soloist let loose - and majestically so - upping the ante with ferocious exuberance, the ensemble gripped tightly to his coat tails.

It was a stunning performance of a work of huge significance to the euphonium repertoire.

Only in the finale, a ‘Bacchanal’ of razor sharp technique dressed in a patina of heady bling, did the soloist let loose - and majestically so - upping the ante with ferocious exuberance, the ensemble gripped tightly to his coat tails. 

Dramatic impact

Tredegar had earlier opened with the imposing heft of James MacMillan’s ‘Jebel’ - a dramatic impact statement of biblical power. Written for a local school (to be played by its brass band) it was hewn out of the hillside rock on which it stood around the corner from the composer’s home. 

It was followed by a refined reading of Dean Goffin’s ‘Rhapsodic Variations: My Strength, My Tower’, a masterwork whose foundations are deeply embedded in the biblical soil of the Salvationist movement. 

A sequel to ‘Rhapsody for Brass’, its modal theme was followed by a set of five elegantly structured variations, each complex and inventive, topped by filigree ornamentations for the cornet and euphonium (played with artistry by the soloists), and a rapid denouement.  

Knowing conceits

Henze’s ‘Ragtimes & Habaneras’ brought the afternoon to a delightful close, as Ian Porthouse simply and effectively allowed the music to speak for itself.  

The result of his light touch approach was a revitalizing series snapshot portraits, rib-poking gestures and knowing conceits that have lost none of their acerbic lemon-laced wit and stylised invention, from the alluring to the satirical.

Elements of Weill, Mahler and mordent Marxism bubbled sulphurously under its surface. It was quite brilliant.    

Iwan Fox

Support us for less than a cup of coffee...

4BR wants to ensure that the brass band movement remains vibrant and relevant. We also want to be able to question, challenge and critically examine those who run and play in it, producing high quality journalism that informs as well as entertains our readers.

So if like us you value a strong, independent perspective on the brass band world - then why not consider becoming a supporter and help make our future and that of a burgeoning brass band movement more secure.

So one less cappuccino then?

Support us    

Grimethorpe Colliery Band -

Saturday 20 April • Hull Truck Theatre, 50 Ferensway, Hull HU2 8LB HU2 8LB

Gresley Colliery Band - A George's Day Concert

Saturday 20 April • The Gresley Old Hall, Church Gresley DE11 9QW

Regent Hall Concerts - Regent Hall Band & Regent Brass

Saturday 20 April • Regent Hall (The Salvation Army) . 275 Oxford Street Opp. RESERVED. London . W1C 2DJ W1C 2DJ

Contest: European Brass Band Championships

Friday 26 April • 2m2c Montreux Music & Convention Centre,Stravinski Hall, Montreaux. Claude-Nobs 5, 1820 Montreaux, Switzerland  . 1820

Regent Hall Concerts - Celebrity Recital - Brett Baker (trombone) Elliot

Friday 26 April • Regent Hall (The Salvation Army). 275 Oxford Street Opp. RESERVED. London . W1C 2DJ W1C 2DJ

The Corsham Band

April 18 • Due to work commitments, a vacancy has arisen for a Tenor Trombone player. First or Second position available. We are a newly promoted Second Section band with a friendly and enthusiastic team.

Hitchin Band

April 17 • HORN VACANCY - Hitchin Band are looking for a 1st/2nd horn to join our Championship section band. We are a sociable band with a busy calendar of concerts and events. The position is negotiable. We rehearse Monday and Thursdays evenings.

Moulton 77 Brass Band

April 17 • Following a busy 2018 & our strong placing at areas; Moulton 77 are keen to welcome new members, particularly cornets and trombones. We are a friendly, lively group, aspiring to progress to the third section. We need more players to swell our numbers.

Howard J Evans

MA (Dist), Mus.B (hons), ARCM (hons), LRAM, LTCL, PGCE
Conductor, composer, arranger, tutor and pianist