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CD review: 140

Philip Harper leads the celebrations with a particular homage to a slice of Cory history.


Cory Band
Conductor: Philip Harper
Doyen Recordings: CD431

2024 marks the 140th anniversary of the formation of Ton Temperance Band, which in 1895 took on the name of coal mine owner, politician and later Baronet, Sir Clifford Cory.

That particular baptism is now a footnote in their remarkable musical history – one that since the end of the Second World War has been hallmarked by almost unbroken contest success. 

Touchstone

Famous names have led their title triumphs. And imposing as many of those have been, it is arguably the diminutive figure of Major Horatio Arthur Kenny that stands above them all.

The Buckinghamshire born former Wells Cathedral chorister and Director of the Welsh Guards is the touchstone that still defines the modern Cory Band.

Famous names have led in major title triumphs: And imposing as many of those have been, it is arguably the diminutive figure of Major Horatio Arthur Kenny that stands above them all.

In essence this release pays generous homage to a uniquely brilliant musician who inspired an intensive period of success from his arrival in 1970.  Philip Harper curates lucidly informed accounts of the works that brought National title wins in 1974 and again, on his return, with the historic hat-trick of 1982-1984.

Genius

Kenney’s genius for musical characterisation moulded the foundations for the victories on ‘Fantasy for Brass Band’  (1974) and most notably ‘Ballet for Band’  (1983). 

He shared a musical capriciousness with Malcolm Arnold and a sense of cultured humour with Joseph Horovitz; both subtly illuminated by Philip Harper’s informed appreciation of the scores – the acerbic wit balanced with tender beauty.

He shared a musical capriciousness with Malcolm Arnold and a sense of cultured humour with Joseph Horovitz; both subtly illuminated by Philip Harper’s informed appreciation of the scores – the acerbic wit balanced with tender beauty.

Celebratory verve

There is also respectful consideration given to ‘Contest Music’  (1982) in retaining its absorbing angular sparseness (especially in its sombre central section), whilst in contrast, the rich, lyrical flow to Gregson’s ‘Dances and Arias’  (1984) fully restores its long neglected performance colours.

The virtuosic rendition of Sparke’s ‘The Year of the Dragon’  - written (initially in four parts) to mark Cory’s 100th anniversary in 1984, and the only work Arthur Kenney did not lead the band to victory on (coming 3rd at the 1986 European) is delivered with splendid celebratory verve.

The tasty lollipop opener in ‘Soaring the Heights’  from Christopher Bond provides the sugar sweet cherry on top of a slice of very fine musical birthday cake.

Iwan Fox


To purchase:

CD: https://www.worldofbrass.com/102121

Download: https://www.worldofbrass.com/102121-download

WobPlay: http://www.wobplay.com

Play list:

1. Soaring the Heights (Christopher Bond)
2. Fantasy for Bras Band (Malcolm Arnold)

3. Contest Music (Wilfred Heaton)
i. Allegro
ii. Molto Adagio
iii. Vivo

6. Ballet for Band (Joseph Horovitz)
7. Dances & Arias (Edward Gregson)

8. The Year of the Dragon (Philip Sparke)
i. Toccata
ii. Interlude
iii. Finale 

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