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    

Foden's Band - Annual Patrons Concert

Tuesday 19 February • Sandbach School, Crewe Road, Sandbach CW11 3NS

The Cobham Band - Best of Brass Concert

Saturday 23 February • The Vera Fletcher Hall. 4 Embercourt Road. Thames Ditton Surrey KT7 0LQ

Milton Keynes Brass - Charity Concert with Church Without Walls

Saturday 23 February • Broughton Fields Primary School. Milton Road. Broughton MK10 9LS

Black Dyke Band - Doncaster Minster

Saturday 23 February • 9 Church St, Doncaster DN1 1RD

Elland Silver Band -

Saturday 23 February • Brooksbank School Victoria road Elland H50QG


February 20 • Poulton-le-Fylde Band (based near Blackpool in North-West), vacancies for Trombone (Tenor), Euphonium & Kit player. Our friendly band offers a good mix of contests/concerts. We are also flexible and welcome players of all ages/abilities

Frampton on Severn Silver Band

February 19 • We are a friendly non-contesting band in Gloucestershire looking for players, in particular cornets, baritone, euphonium, basses, but all welcome. We play at local events and bandstand jobs, and practice on Tuesday evenings just off Junction 13 of the M5.

The Corsham Band

February 19 • The band are currently looking for an experienced Back Row Cornet Player to join our friendly and enthusiastic team. Second or Third Cornet position available.

Phillip Littlemore

GGSM, AoBBA Member
Conductor, Band Trainer, Adjudicator, Arranger, Teacher and Publisher