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University of Salford Brass Band

Conductor: Tom Davoren
Soloists: Kyle Lawson; Siobhan Bates
Regent Hall
Friday 2nd November

This welcome visit to London saw the band open with Joel Collier's vibrant 'Thy Matchless King', which set the standard for what was to follow under MD Tom Davoren. 

Although they had only been together for four weeks, the players had clearly gelled as they continued with a fine account of 'The President', played with considered observance of dynamics and style, especially with the playing in the quieter sections.

Immediate impression

New Zealander Kyle Lawson, recently appointed as principal cornet with Brighouse & Rastrick showed his quality with a refined rendition of 'Don't Doubt Me Now'; his sustained tonality making an immediate impression on the audience.

Geoffrey Nobes was in the audience to hear his 'Prelude on Quem Pastores', which will surely become as popular as his 'Prelude on Lavenham' - especially when played with such considered phrasing and shaping.

It was followed by the premiere of 'To Heights Above', written by Andrew Mackereth. The score bears the quotation; 'Now on a higher plane I dwell . . .', with Tom Davoren describing it as a journey from darkness to light. 

There were certainly dark elements present, with a telling contribution made by an excellent percussion team, before fragments of the melody 'He Lifted Me' emerged and illuminated the music.

Following a thunderous climax, the tune was heard in its entirety, bringing the piece to a triumphant conclusion.

There were certainly dark elements present, with a telling contribution made by an excellent percussion team, before fragments of the melody 'He Lifted Me' emerged and illuminated the music. 

Engaged

Fiona Bennett-Heritage was also present for the first performance of her 'Romance for Tenor Horn and Band'. Taken from the 'New Lady Radnor Suite', the luscious sounds of confident soloist Siobhan Bates rang clearly over the band, despite the rather dense scoring at times.

With the Armistice commemoration imminent, the band included Dean Jones' 'Songs they took to War', with melodies 'Goodbye Dolly Gray', 'Long way to Tipperary' and 'Take me back to dear old Blighty' cleverly interspersed to keep the audience engaged.

A fine rendition of 'Green Hill' in recognition of the contribution of Dr Roy Newsome (who arranged it) in setting up and developing the renowned under-graduate Band Musicianship programme at Salford over 40 years ago provided a fitting end.

Peter Bale

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