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Central Band of the Royal Air Force

Conductor: Wing Commander Piers Morrell
Regent Hall
London
Saturday 29th June

stars
For their visit to Regent Hall the Central Band of the Royal Air Force presented four items of contemporary wind band repertoire, two of which were receiving their first performance.

'Joyride' was the result of a request for a piece combining Beethoven's 'Ode to Joy' with John Adams' 'Short Ride in a Fast Machine'. Composer Michael Marlowski rose to this rather unlikely challenge and the resulting work made for a lively opener, showing off the full range of the ensemble.

Spitfires

It was followed by the 'Suite for Spitfire', developed by Chris Roe from his music for a film celebrating that iconic Second World War fighter plane.

Scenes from the film were shown on the screen as the band played, ranging from images of a single aircraft in a clear, blue sky through to the turmoil of a dogfight.

The beauty of its design was reflected in the opening music, with the musical effects including a cor anglais set against slow trombone glissandi and prominent xylophone and other percussion in the dogfight.

The beauty of its design was reflected in the opening music, with the musical effects including a cor anglais set against slow trombone glissandi and prominent xylophone and other percussion in the dogfight.

Magician

'Stone, Mountain, Magic' was commissioned from Tom Davoren by an international consortium. He has taken his inspiration from Welsh mythology: King Arthur's Stone, Cefn Bryn and the birth-place of Merlin the magician depicted in the colourful score. 

The dark-toned opening featured sustained chords with tuned percussion underpinning woodwind figures, followed by bassoons, trumpet and saxes, whilst Ben Godfrey's trumpet was backed by glockenspiel and xylophone. The final section included some lively battle music which brought the piece to a close.

The final item was a wind transcription of  Johan de Meij’s 'Extreme Make-Over', with the addition of the woodwind appearing to make it an even more powerful work, particularly in the climaxes.

The gamelan passage with the tuned bottles intrigued those who were hearing it for the first time, whilst the various Tchaikovsky quotes came across well in a fine performance.

Peter Bale

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