All Saints Brass Quintet

RNCM Brass Band Festival
RNCM Manchester
Friday 24th January

A rich vein of black-edged sardonic humour was tapped into with this impressive opening prelude given by the RNCM student quintet to mark the opening of a weekend of brass music making.

Werner Pirchner’s surreal composition was originally the musical backdrop to an equally surreal 1983 stage comedy, and told of a fantastical small town Austrian tale of ‘Kaiser Joseph and the Train Attendant’s Daughter’.


It was a series of bite sized (18 in total) ‘amuse-bouche’ skits - his Imperial Highness turning up somewhat unannounced during a hunting trip to stop off for a drink or two and perhaps a whiff of something or other that set the mind’s eye racing.

That provided the cue for various escapades flavoured with more than a hint of Kurt Weill and 1930’s Weimar Republic excess alongside nods of appreciation to Charles Ives and H.K Gruber. 

It was delightfully, ever so darkly acidic, as dry witted as Vermouth Martini chasers and occassionally down right bonkers: ‘God Save the King’ was mixed in with ‘The Blue Danube’, shouted military commands with bleating sheep, braying horses and spit soaked shoes, strong Austrian beer, Turkish market traders, a riot and an attempted royal assassination. 

Order it seemed, was restored only with the arrival of the British Ambassador in a hot air balloon - Phineas Fogg as a latter day Boris Johnson stuck on his high-wire diplomacy with Union Jack in hand. 

Order it seemed, was restored only with the arrival of the British Ambassador in a hot air balloon - Phineas Fogg as a latter day Boris Johnson stuck on his high-wire diplomacy with Union Jack in hand. 

Mr Creosote

Quite how the players managed to hang it all together to make understandable sense was a bit of a triumph in itself. 

Excellently played (the balance between the two trumpets aided by the colour and warmth of the French horn and trombone and the solid malleability of the tuba), it was delivered with a wholehearted enthusiasm to play musical comedy with serious intent.

The addition of a wax-moustached narrator in the mode of John Cleese in the famous ‘Mr Creosote’ sketch would have perhaps topped it perfectly. 

All that was missing was the ‘wafer thin mint’ finish.

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    

Contest: North West Regional Championships

Sunday 23 February • Winter Gardens Complex, Church Street, Blackpool FY1 1HU

Black Dyke Band - The Hawth, Crawley

Sunday 23 February • The Hawth, Hawth Avenue, Crawley RH10 7Yz

Contest: scaba Own Choice Test & March

Sunday 23 February • The Hawth in Crawley, West Sussex RH10 6YZ

Regent Hall Concerts - Royal Academy of Music Horn Ensemble

Friday 28 February • Charlton House. Charlton Road. London. SE7 8RE SE7 8RE

The GUS Band - Northampton International Academy

Saturday 29 February • Northampton International Academy. 55 Barrack Rd. Northampton NN1 1AA

Upper Rhondda Brass Band

February 20 • Upper Rhondda NEEDS YOU. To help consolidate the Band, and its position within the grading system at the next Welsh Area Championships, the Band urgently require the following players, Soprano, Solo Cornet, Solo Euphonium and a Percussionist..

Longridge Band

February 20 • Due to retirement the Longridge Band (1st Section North West) require a back row cornet player (position negotiable), Eb bass & percussionist . We have a good mixture of contests/ concerts and a tour to Belgium planned for later in the year.

Escafeld Brass Band Sheffield

February 20 • Escafeld Brass Band Sheffield has vacancies for all instruments. We are a friendly, non-contesting band who practice Friday evenings near Sheffield city centre. Our numbers have declined in recent years but we are very keen to grow again with our new MD.

Nigel Seaman

Conductor, band trainer, teacher and adjudicator


 © 2020 4barsrest.com Ltd