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Brighouse & Rastrick Band

Garry Cutt brings an authentic sense of style to bear on the musical essentials from the West Riding Band.


Conductor: Garry Cutt
Soloist: Chris Robertson
Elgar International Festival of Brass 
Bromsgrove School
Sunday 16th June

Although Gustav Holst (1874-1934) and Edward Elgar (1857-1934) were contemporaries (as well as fellow trombonists) they trod very different musical paths.  

Where Elgar eagerly sought social acceptance and hierarchy, Holst gained satisfaction through what fellow composer Edmund Rubbra called “an abhorrence of unessentials”.

Distilled form

Written in 1927, his ‘A Moorside Suite’  is that and more in distilled form – pared and deceptive in its bucolic musical language which was understood fully by Garry Cutt in his considered take on a score that has resolutely stood the test of time. 

The MD's own intuitive disdain for artifice ensured an essential authenticity was retained (despite some bass pedalling): The playful swagger of the opening ‘Scherzo’  melded into a touching ‘Nocturne’  led by a wonderfully composed Tom Smith on cornet. The ‘March’  was vigorous in its elegance.

It set the mark for what was a joyful performance from an assured Chris Robertson – his mature sound perfectly suited for the lullaby lilt of the cantilena central section that was preceded by some gorgeous bell and vibraphone playing.

Philip Sparke’s ‘Euphonium Concerto No.1’  has also retained a timeless quality of form and structure (written in 1995) - the composer’s trademark craftsmanship shown from the off in the energetic, rhythmically dislocated opening movement.

It set the mark for what was a joyful performance from an assured Chris Robertson – his mature sound perfectly suited for the lullaby lilt of the cantilena central section that was preceded by some gorgeous bell and vibraphone playing. The infectious, rustic finale was played with the essential bravura optimism of its ‘feel-good’ caccia style.  

Compelling listening

Another masterful arranger at the peak of his craft was heard in Gordon Langford’s delicate appreciation of Faure’s famous ‘Pavane’.

Although essentially a slow Spanish processional, it just perhaps needed a little more flow on this occasion (although the languid lead lines on cornet, sop and horn were a delight) as the bass line somewhat plodded in accompaniment step.

Mike Eccles was a lovely focal point of bluesy sensuality in the central section, with a rampant sense of energy in the third movement bringing a thoroughly accomplished performance to a thrilling denouement.

Another hearing of Philip Sparke’s European test-piece ‘A Road Less Travelled By’  (the second in a fortnight) offered compelling listening to close - Garry Cutt drawing a terrific performance of rich sonorities aided again by excellent percussion and ‘bell pointing’ projection. 

Mike Eccles was a lovely focal point of bluesy sensuality in the central section, with a rampant sense of energy in the third movement bringing a thoroughly accomplished performance to a thrilling denouement.

Fiona Bennett and John Heritage

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