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Brighouse & Rastrick and Fairey Bands

Conductor: Frank Renton
Stoller Hall
Manchester
Sunday 14th April

Just how brass bands and promoters continue to attract audiences to listen to performances is a regular topic of debate - and one which will surely continue after this event.

The subscription based BrassPass tv platform is certainly an ambitious attempt to build both a ‘live’ and on-line paying customer base.

It’s early days to get that balance right, as was seen by a disappointingly small audience that paid for their Stoller Hall seats, but the commitment to make it succeed is obvious. 

Both performed live and recorded for transmission later this month (perhaps accounting for the numbers), those who opted for the ‘live’ experience should count themselves lucky: This was a bit of a Sunday afternoon treat.

Energetic drive

A couple weeks before heading to the European spotlight of Montreux, Brighouse & Rastrick joined Fairey under Frank Renton’s baton for traditional concert fayre - highlighted by a no-nonsense ‘La Forza el Destino’ that bristled with energetic drive.

The first half centrepiece saw David Thornton give a timely reminder of his playing talent in a mature appreciation of the Horovitz  ‘Euphonium Concerto’ - paced perfectly by the MD and soloist alike; the central section flowing with warm tonal resonance, the outer movements elegant and restrained. 

A welcome opportunity to hear ‘Suite Gothique’ in its entirety closed the first half in stately fashion.

The first half centrepiece saw David Thornton give a timely reminder of his playing talent in a mature appreciation of the Horovitz ‘Euphonium Concerto’ – paced perfectly by the MD and soloist alike; the central section flowing with warm tonal resonance, the outer movements elegant and restrained. 

Sprightly

The sprightly ‘Music from an Elizabethan Court’ and the overture to ‘Barber of Seville’, played with a cut throat sharpness led to Fairey solo euph Adam Bokaris giving a refined rendition of ‘Jeannie with the Light Brown Hair’ and the delightful Gordon Langford arrangement of Saints-Sean’s ‘Carnival of the Animals’, with Chris Robertson of Brighouse excelling as the lead voice in the famous ‘Swan’.

The original version of ‘Severn Suite’ saw Frank Renton doff his cap to Elgar with tasteful dynamic and tempi appreciation – bringing a compact malleability to the music that had pomp, bombast and beauty in equal measure to round off a terrific afternoon’s entertainment wherever the audience heard it.

Malcolm Wood

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