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Music review: Black Dyke Sextet Collection

Prima Vista Musikk
Various compositions
Prices: £19.95 to £34.95

 


At a time when players are balancing apprehension with enthusiasm as they contemplate the long-awaited return to full rehearsals after a year and more away from the rigours of regular communal practice, it’s certainly worth exploring the opportunity to engage in different genres of performance – and small ensemble playing in particular.

Prima Vista Musikk recently launched a successful free solo repertoire series to help players keep in performance trim, and it had added to that with this Black Dyke Sextet Collection, part of the Queensbury Band’s Arts Council Recovery Grant initiative.

Expertly arranged

There are 12 pieces in the collection - expertly arranged and abridged by Dr Robert Childs ostensibly for 2 cornets, tenor horn, tenor trombone, euphonium and Eb tuba. However, the modular approach means that the format can be changed to include soprano, flugel, baritone and tubas in Bb or C. There are also percussion parts to add extra colour and effect.

the beautiful ‘Evening Prayer’  from Humperdinck’s ‘Hansel und Gretal’  has a simple assuredness and delicacy that offers a very different command of style.

The scope, as well as the quality of the arrangements is first class; clearly laid out, balanced and coloured. And with the majority at under £20 a pop they are good value for money.

They are pitched at players with solid techniques, well informed style and decent stamina (you don’t need to be able to blow like the brass section of the LSO) – ideal for developing students looking at mastering small ensemble skills as well as players looking to test themselves in a slightly different manner.

Sparks fly

Dr Childs has skilfully ensured none are needlessly virtuosic or complex in their ambition: For instance, Glinka’s famous ‘Ruslan & Ludmilla’ overture is a 5-minute ‘under the finger’ sizzler simply given the ‘Presto’ instruction.

Hit the right tempo mark and the music makes the sparks fly. 

In contrast the delicate filigree of Mozart’s iconic ‘Marriage of Figaro’ overture is also a waspish fizzer, if played with stylish joie-de-vivre, and the beautiful ‘Evening Prayer’  from Humperdinck’s ‘Hansel und Gretal’  has a simple assuredness and delicacy that offers a very different command of style.

Gareth Wood’s ‘Brass Triumphant’  (around 13 mins) is as an appropriate a title as ever there was one for any set of players who have battled their way back to full rehearsal match fitness by enjoying this excellent series of 12 works to the full.

As does Elgar’s touching ‘Chanson de Matin’  - with its sweet tonality and hint of Edwardian reserve to retain its essential lightness, whilst atmospheric playing of a different kind comes with Dan Price’s ‘Sunrise over Blue Ride’  which flows to a grandiose climax before ebbing peacefully away.

The classic ‘Deep Harmony’  (so simply structured it makes it a real test) retains a surprisingly rich texture, whilst Dr Childs has unearthed a little gem in Percy Fletcher’s ‘Andante & Scherzo’  - a 4-minute piece of theatrical adornment. 

Character

Marches by Fucik, King and Sousa in the form of the famous tub thumpers ‘Florentiner’, ‘Melody Shop’  and ‘Stars and Stripes Forever’  are short, snappy and full of character even in condensed form.

The brace of extended works are skilfully abridged: Rodney Newton’s ‘Echoes of the East’  (around 8.00 mins duration) retaining its central European flavour in its three contrasting movements.

Gareth Wood’s ‘Brass Triumphant’  (around 13 mins) is as an appropriate a title as ever there was one for any set of players who have battled their way back to full rehearsal match fitness by enjoying this excellent series of 12 works to the full.

Iwan Fox


To Purchase:

An Evening Prayer (Humperdinck arr. Childs)
Duration: 3.30 approx
Price: £19.95
Go to: https://www.primavistamusikk.com/index.php?page_id=4&method=detail&category=36&catID=398    

Andante & Scherzo (Fletcher arr. Childs)
Duration: 4.15 approx
Price: £24.95
Go to: https://www.primavistamusikk.com/index.php?page_id=4&method=detail&category=36&catID=401

Brass Triumphant (Wood abr. Childs)
Duration: 13.00 approx
Price:  £34.95
Go to: https://www.primavistamusikk.com/index.php?page_id=4&method=detail&category=36&catID=385

Chanson de Matin (Elgar arr. Childs)
Duration: 3.00mins approx
Price: £19.95
Go to: https://www.primavistamusikk.com/index.php?page_id=4&method=detail&category=36&catID=388

Deep Harmony (Parker arr. Childs)
Duration: 3.00 mins approx.
Price: £19.95
Go to: https://www.primavistamusikk.com/index.php?page_id=4&method=detail&category=36&catID=400

Echoes of the East (Newton abr. Childs)
Duration: 8.00 mins approx.
Price: £24.95
Go to: https://www.primavistamusikk.com/index.php?page_id=4&method=detail&category=36&catID=383

Florentiner March (Fucik arr. Childs)
Duration: 5.00 mins approx.
Price: £19.95
Go to: https://www.primavistamusikk.com/index.php?page_id=4&method=detail&category=36&catID=387

Ruslan and Ludmilla (Glinka arr. Childs)
Duration: 5.00 mins approx.
Price: £24.95
Go to: https://www.primavistamusikk.com/index.php?page_id=4&method=detail&category=36&catID=384

Sunrise over Blue Ridge (Price abr. Childs)
Duration: 3.30 mins approx.
Price: £19.95
Go to: https://www.primavistamusikk.com/index.php?page_id=4&method=detail&category=36&catID=389

The Marriage of Figaro (Mozart arr. Childs)
Duration: 4.00 mins approx.
Price: £19.95
Go to: https://www.primavistamusikk.com/index.php?page_id=4&method=detail&category=36&catID=386

The Melody Shop (King arr. Childs)
Duration: 2.00 mins approx.
Price: £19.95
Go to: https://www.primavistamusikk.com/index.php?page_id=4&method=detail&category=36&catID=399

The Stars and Stripes Forever (Sousa arr. Childs)
Duration: 2.15 mins approx.
Price: £19.95
Go to: https://www.primavistamusikk.com/index.php?page_id=4&method=detail&category=36&catID=390

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