facebook twitter rss vimeo shop label support us

*
banner

For the Fallen

London Symphony Orchestra
Featuring: National Youth Brass Band of Great Britain; LSO Chorus
Conductor: Gianandrea Noseda
Soloist: Ian Bostridge (tenor)
Barbican Hall
London
Sunday 4th November 2018

James MacMillan's 'All the hills and vales along' was commissioned by the London Symphony Orchestra and the 14-18 NOW: WW1 Centenary Art Commissions. 

The work saw them link with the National Youth Brass Band of Great Britain (who performed with focussed maturity), the LSO Chorus and tenor soloist Ian Bostridge for what was to be a most memorable performance.

Stark reality

The text drew on poems by Charles Hamilton Sorley, killed at the Battle of Loos in 1915, aged just 20.

Despite his youth, John Masefield and Robert Graves considered him a significant war poet in the way he challenged accepted thinking in respect to patriotism and heroism. There is no jingoism in his writing - just the stark reality of death and suffering.

After an introduction in which sustained strings were joined by the optimistic marching tunes from the band, the score developed its martial theme, albeit with a sardonic, increasingly bitter twist.

The band united with the chorus and a quartet of high strings for the slow, chilling chorale, 'When you see millions of the mouthless dead' - the movement ending with an exposed bugle call beautifully played on soprano cornet.

The poem 'Rooks' presented by the soloist with string accompaniment, echoed Britten and Pears, just as some of the choral writing reminded you of Parry and Elgar.

The band united with the chorus and a quartet of high strings for the slow, chilling chorale, 'When you see millions of the mouthless dead' - the movement ending with an exposed bugle call beautifully played on soprano cornet.

Chaos and fury

The tempo increased for 'A hundred thousand million mites we go', scored for tenor and strings, and which evoked the chaos and fury of battle, before the elemental forces come together for 'To Germany' - with writing that elicited a sense of harrowed optimism towards a peace that would come at the most terrible cost.

The work ended with sustained strings gradually dying away, punctuated by strong brass chords – fitting in its sombre reflection of what was thought to be the war to end all wars. 

After the emotional tension of MacMillan’s work, came the equally demanding Shostakovich 4th Symphony – written at a time when mercurial dictatorial musical taste could also lead to needless death.  

It was given a performance of intense drive and purpose - burnished, as with the MacMillan, with wonderful brass playing.

Peter Bale

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


Stannington Brass Band

April 18 • A rare opportunity has arisen to join one of Sheffield's leading bands with a vacancy for an EEb TUBA PLAYER to complete our bass section. We have a good band room atmosphere and a calendar of interesting concerts and contests.


Johnstone Band

April 18 • Due to circumstances outwith our control, we find ourselves looking for a new conductor, with immediate effect. Are you looking for a new challenge?


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.


Howard J Evans

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