facebook twitter rss vimeo shop label support us


CD review: Diadem of Gold

The Oldham Band (Lees)
Conductor: John Collins
WOS CD 144

2018 was certainly a memorable year for the Oldham Band (Lees).  

Five wins from six contests, plus a bonus pay day on the Whit Friday circuit was some achievement, but more so as it also encompassed a ‘Triple Crown’ of North West Regional Championship, Senior Cup and National Final victories.

Triple Crown

This CD is a fine way to commemorate those successes under MD, John Collins; the triptych of test-pieces played at the Area, Spring Festival and Cheltenham added to with Philip Sparke’s ‘Dances & Alleluias’ which rounded off the year with victory at the Rochdale contest, as well as their Whit Friday march, ‘The Wizard’ (repeated as a ‘live’ a bonus track) and the hymn tune ‘Abide with Me’.

As was shown on those contest stages, confidence bubbles through the veins of the ensemble; ‘Brass Metamorphosis’ (the Area set-work) boldly delivered in each of its five variant forms. It’s playing that has a muscular vibrancy.

The classic constraints of ‘Diadem of Gold’ are adhered to without losing passion or drama - helped by the high class solo work in the soprano and cornet and a flowing momentum, but it’s their rendition of ‘King Arthur - Scenes from a Radio Drama’ that impresses most.

A work of considerable complexity, the MDs clarity of musical thought shines through (as it did in Cheltenham) bringing certainty, excitement and a touching core of melancholy to bear. It’s a super performance.

A work of considerable complexity, the MDs clarity of musical thought shines through (as it did in Cheltenham) bringing certainty, excitement and a touching core of melancholy to bear. It’s a super performance.


‘Dances & Alleluias’ may well be something of an ‘off the shelf’ piece of Sparke, but it’s still high quality writing. The familiar tropes are seamlessly joined together as John Collins paces the music with sensibility, allowing his players the chance to shine.

The double helping of ‘The Wizard’ and a tender ‘Abide with Me’ round off a recording that is a worthy musical memento of a year that could well provide the foundation stone on which further impressive success is built.

Iwan Fox


To purchase: http://www.oldhamband.co.uk/

1. Brass Metamorphosis (James Curnow)
2. Diadem of Gold (Guillaume Balay arr. Frank Wright)
3. The Wizard (George Allen)
4. King Arthur - Scenes from a Radio Play (Benjamin Britten arr. Paul Hindmarsh)
5. Abide With Me (William Henry Monk arr. Karl Jenkins)
6. Dances & Alleluias (Philip Sparke)
7. 2018 Whit Friday ‘Live’

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    

Lewes, Glynde and Beddingham Brass Band - Concentus - sings

Saturday 22 June • St. Saviours Church, South Street, Eastbourne BN21 4UT

Black Dyke Band - BrassPass.tv Band of Year Gala Concert, Manchester

Saturday 22 June • Hunts Bank, Manchester M3 1DA

Elland Silver Band -

Saturday 22 June • Blackley Baptist Church Blackley Elland HX5 0TD

Thundersley Brass Band - Summer Concert (A Night At The Movies)

Saturday 22 June • Richmond Hall, Richmond Avenue, Benfleet, Essex SS7 5HA

Imperial Brass - A Celebration of the Music & Legacy of Mark Freeh

Saturday 22 June • West Side Presbyterian Church. 6 South Monroe Street. Ridgewood, NJ 07450

Uppermill Band

June 19 • If you are a EUPHONIUM or CORNET PLAYER(position negotiable) and looking for a change, come and join our friendly team (2nd Section 2020) Help celebrate our 40th Anniversary and be part of Team Uppermill at the National Finals at Cheltenham.


June 19 • Mid-Rhondda have a vacancy for Bb Bass.. Excellent attendance at rehearsals on Thursdays at 7.30 at the Band Hall Dunraven St., Tonypandy CF40 1AL

The Wigston Band

June 19 • Trombones needed! We are a very friendly 2nd section band based in Wigston, Leicestershire. We enjoy a sensible mixture of concerts and contests and would look to welcome some new musicians within our organisation under our newly appointed MD Geoff Wood.

Ian Holmes

BA (hons), PGDip (RCM), ARCM, ALCM
Conductor, piano accompanist and educator