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Brighouse & Rastrick and Grimethorpe Colliery Bands

Conductor: Dr David Thornton
Huddersfield Town Hall
Saturday 30th March


2020 will mark the 75th anniversary of one of the most successful massed brass bands concert series in the UK.  It will also be the 150th time Brighouse & Rastrick will  have hosted the event at Huddersfield Town Hall.

And whilst those future plans are already being formulated, this outstanding evening provided ample evidence to why the West Riding band continues to attract punters for a concert series like no other: The place was packed to the rafters as two top class outfits presented a programme that expertly appealed to traditional brass band tastes.

Wise choices

Dr David Thornton had chosen wisely - with the sparkling opening march, 'ORB', followed by a dramatic, 'La Forza del Destino' played with a fluidity that kept both performers and audience on their toes. 

Grimethorpe's Michael Cavanagh reinforced his reputation as one of the finest baritone players around with the Iberian inspired ‘Pequena Czardas’, before the audience got to play ‘name that tune’ with Gordon Langford’s brilliantly crafted 'A Sullivan Fantasy', which seamlessly moved from one Savoy Opera excerpt to another like a G&S ‘Greatest Hits’ album.

The first half closed with musical contrast; the sublime beauty of 'The Day Thou Gavest Lord Has Ended' followed by the 70 players testing the foundations of the hall with Boellmann's 'Suite Gothique'.

Grimethorpe's Michael Cavanagh reinforced his reputation as one of the finest baritone players around with the Iberian inspired ‘Pequena Czardas’, before the audience got to play ‘name that tune’ with Gordon Langford’s brilliantly crafted 'A Sullivan Fantasy', which seamlessly moved from one Savoy Opera excerpt to another like a G&S ‘Greatest Hits’ album.

Pinned back

‘Sunrise’ from ‘Also Sprach Zarathustra’ segueing into ‘Malaguena’ certainly pinned everyone back in their seats to open the second half proceedings, especially with the cornets standing in front of the organ loft, before B&R’s Chris Robertson delivered a fine account of the pot boiling 'Rule Britannia'.

Elsewhere easy listening musical tributes were paid to repertoire from the world of cinema and George Gershwin, whilst the trombones supported by lower bass shone in ‘Shenandoah’.

The finale was a trip down memory lane for those of a certain age who attended these concerts when 'Finlandia' was a finisher to raise the roof in Nordic triumph. It very nearly did the trick again before the massed ranks bade farewell by whipping through 'The Waltonian' at lightning speed.

Tickets for that 75th anniversary event next year are going to be hard to come by.

Malcolm Wood 

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BA (Hons) (Dunelm) I, FSCO
Composer and Arranger