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Stage & Screen

Derwent Brass
Conductor: Jack Capstaff
Derby Theatre
Saturday 8th June

A capacity audience of over 500 people fell silent as a young man strode onto the stage, banjo in hand, took the spotlight, and began picking out the unmistakable opening bars of ‘The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy’.

Meanwhile, the sound of Derwent Brass emerged as the curtains swung open to the full-blooded sound of ‘Journey of the Sorcerer’ (to give the music its correct title). It was the prelude to a special night of ‘Stage & Screen’ - complete with lighting effects and a big screen overhead presentation.

Full throttle

It was full throttle stuff; a blistering arrangement of the ‘Star Wars’ film score to ‘Scherzo for X- Wings’ neatly segueing into ‘Hedwig’s Theme’ and Gershwin’s ‘Promenade - Walking The Dog’ featuring the delicate playing of Cat Johnston on flugel and Graham Johnson on horn. 

Adam Rutter gave a sensitive premiere to a new arrangement of ‘Pure Imagination’ before an inventive combination of strings (played by Charlotte Capstaff, who also masterminded the excellent multi-media work) and brass came with a moving rendition of ‘The Ashokan Farewell’ that led straight into ‘Reunion & Finale’ from ‘Gettysburg’.

The second half opened big band bravura, with band augmented by a keyboard and a trio of saxophones. 

‘12th Street Rag’, ‘Hey Pachuco’ (featuring James Barrington Stephens on vocals), and the Stan Kenton version of ‘Fascinating Rhythm’ were polished and catchy – as was the powerful ‘Cry Me a River’ sung by a young man blessed with a huge dollop of talent and charisma. 'Monsters Inc.’ with a segue into ‘The Incredibles’ was both hip and more than a little trendy.

The band then returned for a bit of ‘Batman’ (complete with Batmobile tearing down the city streets of Gotham) and floodlights searching around the packed auditorium, before Charlotte Capstaff provided us with a moment of introspection with the moving theme from ‘Schindler’s List’.


The band then returned for a bit of ‘Batman’ (complete with Batmobile tearing down the city streets of Gotham) and floodlights searching around the packed auditorium, before Charlotte Capstaff provided us with a moment of introspection with the moving theme from ‘Schindler’s List’.

Dave Neville would have been the fine cornet led on ‘Stars’ from ‘Les Miserables’, but heroically gave his solo to James Barrington Stephens after audience appeals for an encore! The wonderful sounds of ‘West Side Story’ rounded things off before a fleet-footed ‘William Tell’, with Dave finally getting his deserved moment in the spotlight.

This was an outstanding concert; inventive, polished, light but meaningful - an exhilarating multimedia tour de force that a well satisfied audience was already hoping would be repeated sooner rather than later.

Ian Davies 

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