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Tredegar Band

Conductor: Ian Porthouse
Soloists: Dewi Griffiths; Ian Roberts; Ross Dunne; Will Norman
Guest Soloist: David Childs
Wobplay.com online broadcast Concert Series
Brangwyn Hall
Swansea
Friday 6th August

Tredegar

As has become their trademark under MD Ian Porthouse, Welsh champion Tredegar’s appetite for musical eclecticism provided the enjoyable substance for this pre-recorded Wobplay.com ‘In Concert’ performance.

The Brangwyn Hall is a favourite recording venue for many ensembles - and the acoustic (even when empty) allowed the band to clearly flex dynamic muscle as well as stylistic fineness.   

Following Cory’s series opener, and with Black Dyke, Brighouse & Rastrick and Grimethorpe Colliery to come, it also showed that World of Sound have grasped the opportunity to set high-quality levels of production that enable scope for invention in presentation and repertoire, despite the obvious challenges imposed by Covid-19.

Premieres

Four world premieres showcased the appetite for exploration; with Eriks Esenvald's  'Only in Sleep'  and  'Rhosymedre'  by Vaughan Williams, expertly scored in texture to contrast chilled melancholy and warm hymnal beauty by arrangers Phillip Littlemore and Paul Hindmarsh respectively, delivered with sensitivity and elegant phrasing by the ensemble.

The counterbalance in style and tonality came from the ‘in-house’ arranging team of trombonists Andy Austin and Ryan Richards, with the imposing academic structures of the opening  ‘Vienna Philharmonic Fanfare’  and the straw and moonshine fun of Richard Saucedo’s  ‘American Barndance’.

Four world premieres showcased the appetite for exploration; with Eriks Esenvald's  'Only in Sleep'  and  'Rhosymedre'  by Vaughan Williams, expertly scored in texture to contrast chilled melancholy and warm hymnal beauty by arrangers Phillip Littlemore and Paul Hindmarsh respectively, delivered with sensitivity and elegant phrasing by the ensemble.

The featured soloists were on fine form: Dewi Griffiths delivered  ‘Glorious Ventures’  with evangelical zeal and Ian Roberts brought composed tenderness to Morricone’s  ‘La Califfa’, whilst Dewi was joined by Will Norman for a suave flugel duet take on  ‘The Wind Beneath My Wings’.

Classy

The pick though was Ross Dunne with a brisk, but clearly defined  ‘Finale’ from the Haydn  ‘Cello Concerto’  that was a chip off the block of his old mentor Owen Farr - the technique never overtaking the stylistic pacing. 

David Childs was the guest soloist – taking the opportunity to talk about his family connection to the band as well as buffing up Peter Graham’s  ‘Brillante’  to eye-popping dazzle levels to complement the tenderness of the  ‘Lament’  from  ‘Stabat Mater’  by Karl Jenkins.

A classy overall production (added to by excellent drone footage and camera work) was rounded off by the controlled zest of Peter Graham’s  ‘Renaissance’ – an apt finale for the second in a series that holds great future potential as a showcase for brass banding excellence.  

Malcolm Wood

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