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CD review: Turris Fortissima

Diverse detours bring freshness to expressions of faith on an engaging release from Birmingham Citadel Band


Birmingham Citadel Band
Bandmaster: Gavin Lamplough
Soloists: Neil Blessett; David Taylor
SPS Recordings: SPS 447 CD

There has been a strong Salvationist presence in England’s multi-cultural ‘second city’ for well over a century, and a representative band almost as long.

Birmingham Citadel Band was formed in 1893 and has proudly served its community ever since; expressing its faith through its music at weekly services, concerts, tours and a number of recordings.

The latest comes under the baton of Gavin Lamplough, just the sixth holder of the post of Bandmaster since the end of the Second World War. 

Broad scope

As with the ever-changing demographic diversity of the city, the music also has a broad scope of inspirations, styles and genres – a reflection of the outlook embraced by the Citadel as a whole in meeting the needs of those who seek its help and calling.

It makes for a polished release; the 13 well directed tracks (especially give there are 50 players on show) offer engaging, balanced detours - from the bold ‘Christ’s Name Proclaim!’  to open all the way through to the cultured excitement of the title track to close. 

It makes for a polished release; the 13 well directed tracks (especially give there are 50 players on show) offer engaging, balanced detours - from the bold ‘Christ’s Name Proclaim!’ to open all the way through to the cultured excitement of the title track to close. 

There’s a 1960’s sounding swagger to ‘The Proclaimers’  and swinging funk beat with ‘Mi Vista!’  that contrasts with the warm lyricism of ‘Speak, Lord’,  the bold tread of the march ‘Unconquered’  and joyful sunshine and clever referencing of ‘Reason to Sing’.

Richly coloured

The premiere of ‘My Promise’  is also another neatly packaged up-beat take on the traditional, whilst ‘Wonderful Healer’  and ‘The Quiet Heart’  provide reflection, richly coloured and resolving.

And although the finale from Tchaikovsky’s ‘Symphony No. 4’  sits somewhat curiously as a confidently played juxtaposition, the two soloists in Neil Blessett (on Gavin Lamplough’s touching ‘Love Eternal’) and David Taylor (Peter Graham’s ‘Brillante’) are exemplary leads on their showcase features.   

Iwan Fox 


To purchase:
WobPlay: http://www.wobplay.com
CD: World of Brass: https://www.worldofbrass.com/102102
Download: http://https://www.worldofbrass.com/102102-download

Play list:

1. Christ’s Name Proclaim! (Andrew Blyth)
2. Speak, Lord (Paul Sharman)
3. The Proclaimers (Kevin Norbury)
4. Love Eternal (Gavin Lamplough)
Soloist: Neil Blessett

5. Mi Vista! (Sam Creamer)
6. Finale from Symphony No.4 (Tchaikovsky arr. William Gordon)
7. The Quiet Heart (James Morgan/June Collin arr. Olaf Ritman)
8. Unconquered (Arthur Gullidge)
9. Reason to Sing (Kenneth Downie)
10. My Promise (Craig Stevens)
11. Brillante (Peter Graham)
Soloist: David Taylor

12. Wonderful Healer (Dean Goffin)
13. Turris Fortissima (Steven Ponsford) 

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