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Tredegar Band

Conductor: Ian Porthouse
Soloist: Yu-Han Yang
Compere: Paul Hindmarsh
Newbury Spring Festival
Corn Exchange, Newbury
Sunday 15th May

Tredegar

Tredegar’s appearance at the Newbury Festival was another coup for a band that readily embraces its scope of musical ambition.

It saw them join a programme of high profile attractions that included the likes of the BBC Symphony Orchestra, Tasmin Little, Dame Jane Glover, the Oculi Ensemble and The Sixteen amongst others.

They will surely be back; the aspiration backed by a performance excellence of repertoire that brought standing ovations throughout, as well as at its conclusion.  The Proms at the Royal Albert Hall now beckon. 

Imposing

The results were built on imposing stanchions; the ‘Vienna Philharmonic Fanfare’  leading into the florid brilliance of Berlioz’s ‘Le Corsaire’,  each delivered with polished panache.

Yu-Han Yang was the virtuosic focal point in the Wilby ‘Euphonium Concerto’  - a four-part montage of fearsome challenges; the wit of the ‘Zeibekikos’  dance balanced by the yearning beauty of the ‘Sarajevo Song’, the soloist’s engaging personality seeping through the music. 

Yu-Han Yang was the virtuosic focal point in the Wilby ‘Euphonium Concerto’  - a four-part montage of fearsome challenges; the wit of the ‘Zeibekikos’  dance balanced by the yearning beauty of the ‘Sarajevo Song’, the soloist’s engaging personality seeping through the music. 
 

The half concluded with Paul Hindmarsh’s crafted 'Suite' appreciation of the Vaughan Williams score to the 1940 film ‘The 49th Parallel’  – the most tenderly majestic piece of musical anti-Nazi propaganda. 

The composer’s 150th anniversary will see numerous high-profile performances and recordings during 2022, Tredegar releasing a much anticipated CD which will feature his ‘Variations for Brass Band’  and the gem-like hymnal ‘Rhosymedre’  (both to be featured on their brace of Proms appearances).

On this evidence they will be eagerly awaited, the glorious subtle colourings of the 1957 National Final test-piece (greatly enhanced by Philip Littlemore’s sympathetic tailoring) played with cultured certainty. 

So Spoke Albion

So too Gavin Higgin’s immense ‘So Spoke Albion’  – a work inspired by the poetic visions of William Blake; from the glittering wings of angels ‘bespangling’ every bough of a tree ‘like stars’, to the revolutionary optimism of the figure of Albion himself - an invigorating metaphor for a new age of hope and openness. 

The central portrait of Blake’s devoted wife Catherine was drawn with the tenderest of artistic hands from composer (in the audience), conductor and performers alike - fragile yet completely resolute in her love of a radical spirit, the poignancy of the writing seeping with forlorn sadness.  

The central portrait of Blake’s devoted wife Catherine was drawn with the tenderest of artistic hands from composer (in the audience), conductor and performers alike - fragile yet completely resolute in her love of a radical spirit, the poignancy of the writing seeping with forlorn sadness.  

The audience, much like that at its premiere at the recent European Championships were left breathless in admiration, the grandiloquence of ‘MacArthur Park’  an operatic encore lollipop to reinvigorate the drained emotions.

Iwan Fox 

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