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Brass in Concert Gala Concert

Brighouse & Rastrick
Guest Soloist: David Childs
Conductor: Russell Gray
Sage Gateshead
Saturday 17th November


The Gala Concert of the BiC weekend remains something of an intractable enigma for the event organisers. 

Over the years the attractions on offer appear to be ‘sold out’ guarantees, yet the reality has been far from packed auditoriums.  It’s hard to think what will tempt the audience back, as once again this was high quality entertainment well worth the ticket price.

Perhaps the loyal local brass band fans can have too much of a good thing, or they might feel that the concert doesn’t quite have that extra ‘edge’ of full blown commitment that can come from a band that less than 24 hours later will be in full blown competition mode.

Maybe it was a bit of both this year, with David Childs a beacon of familiar brilliance and Brighouse & Rastrick under Russell Gray in something of cruise control mode. 

Elegant canter

The march ‘Under Two Flags’ acknowledged the contribution of the late Lord Derek Foster who had close links to the contest, followed by a breezy, ‘Light Cavalry’ played at an elegant canter.

The ‘49th Parallel’, ‘Molly on the Shore’, Dan Price’s ‘Fantasy on London Nursery Rhymes’ and a quick fire ‘Hoe Down’ were polished easy listening fayre.

David Childs was on superb form – providing a considered rendition of the Karl Jenkins ‘Concerto for Euphonium and Brass Band’ delivered with a stamp of authority embedded with an acute awareness to an ensemble that hung onto his coattails. 

Superb form

David Childs was on superb form – providing a considered rendition of the Karl Jenkins ‘Concerto for Euphonium and Brass Band’ delivered with a stamp of authority embedded with an acute awareness to an ensemble that hung onto his coattails. 

‘Benedictus’ from ‘The Armed Man’ was a tender interlude whilst his rendition of ‘Blaydon Races’ was played at a thoroughbred romp.  The encore ‘Hot Canary’ left scorch marks on the ceiling of the hall.  

It was left to the West Riding outfit to round things off with a delightfully paced ‘Bolero’, the Milhaud inspired ‘Scaramouche’ and quirky 1970s idiosyncrasies of  ‘Mr Lear’s Carnival’ sandwiching the peaceful ‘Autumn Leaves’ and the reflective ‘Glow’

The finale was a sparkling ‘Capriccio Espagnol’ and the fizzy bubble of ‘Perpetual Mobile’ before the audience headed home with a lollipop extra of ‘The Floral Dance’.

Malcolm Wood

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