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World of Dance

Household Division Music Festival 2019
Band of the Irish Guards
Conductors: Captain Craig Bywater & WO2 Jon Rockey
Guards Chapel
London
Wednesday 26th June

The Band of the Irish Guards pulled out all the stops for their 'World of Dance' programme with a woodwind section that included Eb and contrabass clarinets, cor anglais and two bassoons. 

They opened with Prokofiev's striking 'Montagues & Capulets', followed by 'Dance Macabre' in a new arrangement by Rodney Newton, who was present to hear its first performance. More modern harmonies were employed in 'Danceries', reworking traditional dance tunes.

Msn Gareth Trott was the featured soloist in 'Dance Zeibekikos' from Philip Wilby's 'Euphonium Concerto', coping manfully with its considerable demands – although we did miss the breaking plates at the end!

Colourful score

Samuel Hazo's 'Solas Ane' was a new setting of Irish music, with an effective duet between piccolo and bass clarinet in a very colourful score, followed by 'Shamrock Shore', which introduced three pipers as well as marking the first appearance of the contrabass clarinet. 

The first half closed with 'Breakout' from 'Cry of the Celts', enhanced by a keyboard standing in for the marimba, and young dancer Aoife Phelan, who enchanted the audience with her contributions.

The lively 'Dance of the Tumblers' opened the second half, leading into Peter Graham's 'Cossack Wedding Dance', featuring the alto sax.

More exotic sounds followed with the introduction of a recently-formed folk ensemble. The combination of five woodwind, violin, keyboard and drums presented contrasting sounds from Ethiopia, Ottoman Empire and Albania.

More exotic sounds followed with the introduction of a recently-formed folk ensemble. The combination of five woodwind, violin, keyboard and drums presented contrasting sounds from Ethiopia, Ottoman Empire and Albania.

Improvised

Samuel Hazo's 'Arabesque' displayed many elements of the Middle East, with an improvised opening, a wedding dance and a closing chorale, with flute to the fore. Etienne Crausaz's 'Balkan Dance' was much more intricate, with irregular metres, complex rhythms and solos for trombone, trumpet, tenor and alto saxes and clarinet.

The pipers returned for 'The Gael', which featured Sgt Helen Betteridge on violin. She was also one of the soloists in 'Riverdance', alongside soprano sax and two drummers and the return of dancer Aoife, this time employing her tap-dancing skills. 

'The Minstrel Boy' also highlighted violin and antiphonal drums, before an enjoyable concert closed with 'The Music Makers' and 'St Patrick's Day'.

Peter Bale

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