facebook twitter rss vimeo shop label support us

*
banner

Royal Birmingham Conservatoire Brass Band & Tredegar Band

Conductor: Ian Porthouse, Dr Stephen Allen
Soloist: Conal Bembridge-Sayers
The Bradshaw Hall
Birmingham
Wednesday 19th June

stars

The Welsh champion returned to Birmingham in their role as Brass Band in Residence just a few days before their appearance at the ‘UK Band of the Year’ contest in Manchester.

Not surprisingly then their contribution was based around the programme for that event; a trio of sharply polished renditions of ‘Phenomena Fanfare’ by Jacob Larsen, ‘Eyes of a Child’ featuring flugel soloist Danny Winder and Oliver Waespi’s majestic ‘As if a voice we in them...’ highlighting trademark ensemble balance, precision and transparency.  

The MD also ensured that they were also a sympathetic counterpoint to the suave elegance of soloist Conal Bembridge–Sayers on Edward Gregson’s ‘Concertante for Piano and Brass Band’, as well providing a warmly lit glow of nostalgia with Matthew Hall’s ‘The Smile’.

Magpie

The youthful Gregson (his work was written as a third year undergraduate) was seemingly a bit of a musical magpie - but one heck of a skilful one at that. 

These were shiny baubles of poise, panache and pastiche, with affectionate, remarkably mature nods of appreciation towards Gershwin, Rachmaninov, Ireland and even Elmer as well as Leonard Bernstein.

The rich colour palette and flowing lines (with the tenderest of central Nocturnes) were a joy - as were the little buds of motifs that dotted the score like seeds ready to be planted on a future fertile brass band compositional field. 

These were shiny baubles of poise, panache and pastiche, with affectionate, remarkably mature nods of appreciation towards Gershwin, Rachmaninov, Ireland and even Elmer as well as Leonard Bernstein. 

Revisionist

A very different type of appreciation came with Stephen Allen’s revisionist thesis into the inspiration behind Elgar’s ‘Severn Suite’ - one that certainly removed the encrusted dust of perceived opinion that has encased the work for far too long. 

According to his persuasive argument, this was no longer an iconic work of Empire and class ridden conservatism, but of personal loneliness, bitter memory and lost faith.  As a result it made for engrossing listening - Allen loosening the constraints of cloying tradition to draw a deliberately liberating sense of freedom from the score. 

So too the student’s vibrant ‘Paganini Variations’ - played with a touch of stylish panache measured purpose, whilst the massed band items of  the ‘Fugue’ from ‘Graduation Day’ (a neat touch given that some were finishing their academic studies) and ‘MacArthur Park’ rounded things off with throbbing bombast.

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    



Norfolk Wherry Brass - Norfolk Wherry Brass Memorial Concert

Sunday 21 July • Lingwood Village Hall. Station Road. Norwich. Norfolk. NR13 4AZ


Lewes, Glynde and Beddingham Brass Band - Eastbourne Bandstand - 1812 concert

Wednesday 31 July • Bandstand, Grand Parade, Eastbourne BN21 3AD


Gresley Colliery Band - Byrkley Park Garden Centre

Saturday 10 August • Byrkley Drive, Rangemore St, Burton upon Trent . DE13 9RN


Foden's Band - Matt Ford - Gawsworth Hall, Macclesfield

Sunday 11 August • Gawsworth Hall, Church Lane, Gawsworth SK11 9RN


Foden's Band - Snape Maltings

Saturday 17 August • Snape Maltings, Suffolk IP17 1SP


Walsall Brass Band

July 17 • Walsall Brass Band are looking for Eb & Bb Bass players.


Stannington Brass Band

July 17 • 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.


Freckleton Band

July 17 • We have a vacancy for a soprano cornet player. The band currently competes in the Championship section and have a balanced concert and contest programme. Rehearsal nights are Mondays and Thursdays.


James Chamberlain

BMus (Hons) PGCE
Conductor, Teacher