CD review: Lago

The Music of Simon Kerwin
Rothwell Temperance Band
Conductor: David Roberts
Soloists: Philip Tait, Joe Heartfield, James McCabe, Matt Spriggs
KMJ Recordings: Mode for...


Simon Kerwin was a versatile, talented musician. His untimely death in 2018 robbed the movement of a respected composer, arranger, conductor and performer at the age of just 57.

His musical legacy however will be a lasting one - thanks to the dedication of his widow Tabby, who has developed their successful Mode for... business with an admirable generosity of spirit.

Duality of purpose

This enjoyable release is a case in point; one that has duality of purpose - both commercial and inspirational.

The 18 tracks encompass a selection of original compositions and arrangements; from an engaging Second Section level test-piece to ensemble works, solos, marches, carols and hymns - each crafted with Simon Kerwin’s keen appreciation of style, balance and timbre.  They will all sell very well.

Meanwhile, the CD is also being used to give a musical boost to patients receiving treatment at the Yorkshire Cancer Centre at St James’ Hospital in Leeds (where he received treatment).  It is sure to help in the best way possible. 

Rothwell is on fine, adaptable form throughout - detailed, precise, richly toned and energised under MD David Roberts; from the pomposity of the opening ‘Under the Double Eagle’  march all the way to the ‘encore’ of ‘Auld Lang Syne’  to close. 

The title track ‘Canto de Lago’ flows with suave tranquillity, ‘All Things Bright and Beautiful’ has an uplifting Sunday School joyful enthusiasm and ‘Entry of the Boyards’ is a pepper-pot of elfish mischief.    

Elfish mischief

There is a great deal crammed in-between; led by four excellent soloists all on the top of their game and with each track offering interest in their contrasting, well-observed stylistic elements (with a witty tuba duet and two super quartet leads).

The title track ‘Canto de Lago’  flows with suave tranquillity, ‘All Things Bright and Beautiful’  has an uplifting Sunday School joyful enthusiasm and ‘Entry of the Boyards’  is a pepper-pot of elfish mischief.     

Occasional listeners will certainly enjoy the neatly realised Vivaldi, Mozart and Youmans’ detours, whilst the 2020 Butlins Second Section set-work, ‘Galdhøpiggen’  is a cleverly realised bit of descriptive Nordic myth and magic - one that will also be quite a test at Skegness.

Lots to enjoy, lots to commend, and lots to remind you of the talent of a fine musician.  

Iwan Fox

To purchase: http://www.modeforpublishing.com/audio/4594750000

Play list: 

1. Under the Double Eagle (Joseph Wagner arr. Simon Kerwin)
2. Canto del Lago (Simon Kerwin)
3. Ave Maria (Tolga Kashif arr. Simon Kerwin)
Soprano soloist: Phillip Tait
4. All Things Bright and Beautiful (Cecil Frances Alexander arr. Simon Kerwin)
5-6. Galdhøpiggen (Simon Kerwin)
7-9. Vive Le Trombone (Simon Kerwin)
Trombone soloist: Joe Heartfield 
10. Grace (Trad. arr. Simon Kerwin)
Quartet: James McCabe, Catherine Roberts, Hannah Platt, Joe Heartfield
11. Soave Sia Il Vento (Mozart arr. Simon Kerwin)
Trio: James McCabe, Claire Westacott, Daniel Morgan
12. Cavaliere Dell'Euphino (Simon Kerwin)
Euphonium soloist: Matt Spriggs
13. Entry of the Boyards (Johan Halvorsen arr. Simon Kerwin)
14. Double Trumpet Concerto (Vivaldi arr. Simon Kerwin)
15. Just the Way You Look Tonight (Jerome Kern arr. Simon Kerwin)
Cornet/Flugel soloist: James McCabe
16. Tea for Tubas (Vincent Youmans arr. Simon Kerwin)
Eb tuba soloists: Simon Moffat & Andy Goldfinch 
17. Angels (Trad. arr. Simon Kerwin)
18. Auld Lang Syne (Trad. Arr. Simon Kerwin)
Quartet: Keir Luc, Claire Westacott, Catherine Roberts, Daniel Morgan

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