Bringing a smile to banding

Issue 5951

RNCM and Durham pass with distinction at UniBrass
Eikanger sets the gold standard in Norway
2017 Regional Championships previewed

LIVE - West of England Championships - Championship Section

Sunday 12 March, 2017

Adjudicators: Paul Norley and Stephen Roberts

Test-piece: Pageantry (Herbert Howells)

Kenny Crookston reporting 

Result

1. Woodfalls (Dr. Robert Childs)

2. Filton Concert Brass (Tom Davoren)

3. Verwood Concert Brass (Kevin Smith)

4. Flowers (Paul Holland)

5. Lanner and District Silver (David Hamilton)

6. St. Dennis (Darren Hawken)

7. Aldbourne (David Johnson)

8. Camborne Town (Michael Fowles)

9. St. Austell Town (Steve Sykes)

10. Lydbrook (Glyn Williams)

11. Mount Charles (Stan Lippeatt)

12. Brunel Brass (Paul Collis-Smith)

13. Roche Brass (Garry Cutt)

14. Yeovil Town (Ian Holmes)

 

In the BB Frame*

1. Flowers (Paul Holland)

2. Woodfalls (Dr. Robert Childs)

3. Aldbourne (David Johnson)

4. St. Dennis (Darren Hawken)

5. Filton Concert Brass (Tom Davoren)

6. Brunel Brass (Paul Collis-Smith)

*NOT the official result!  

An enjoyable but quite frustrating contest in many respects, with nobody truly finishing the job on Pageantry. Flowers and Woodfalls were a step above for overall quality and it could be close between these two. Aldbourne leads the rest of the field for us but look out for a few surprises.  

Draw

1. Filton Concert Brass (Tom Davoren)

2. Lanner and District Silver (David Hamilton) 

3. Flowers (Paul Holland)

4. Lydbrook (Glyn Williams)

5. Camborne Town (Michael Fowles)

6. Roche Brass (Garry Cutt)

7. Yeovil Town (Ian Holmes)

8. Aldbourne (David Johnson)

9. Woodfalls (Dr. Robert Childs)

10. Mount Charles (Stan Lippeatt)

11. Brunel Brass (Paul Collis-Smith)

12. St. Dennis (Darren Hawken)

13. St. Austell Town (Steve Sykes)

14. Verwood Concert Brass (Kevin Smith)

 

14. Verwood Concert Brass (Kevin Smith) 

Tight opening and the approach is textbook. Good attempt to reach the quiet dynamics nearly pays off, with only minor insecurity. Very well shaped overall and only a question over the bass notation in the closing bars.

Shaky start to Cortege but it recovers well when the band comes in and further good solo offerings add to the overall quality.

Opening to Jousts has individual style but the error count increases quite a bit in the following section. An excellent reading and a band that has played very well for large parts of Pageantry. The insecure moments were of the prominent sort though and that could just keep it away from the prizes.

 

13. St. Austell Town (Steve Sykes)

Poor tuning in the opening cornets and while the following sounds are big and bold, there is some untidiness too. Cornets and soprano do well in the intricate part and there is better sense of security as it moves on.

Baritones struggle to get it together in Jousts but the horn gives his all and sits nicely above them. Cornet is tasteful too and the overall approach works well for us. Well controlled close to a good movement.

Cornet fanfare is almost perfect and we like the following ensemble passage. Seems to gather momentum as it proceeds but with only slight loss of detail it is very effective. Enis a bit too fast for comfort but a cracking and spirited performance.

 

 

12. St. Dennis (Darren Hawken)

Good opening, which remains pretty tight. Some of the notes are very broad in style and we’re not sure that came off completely, but it is very good overall. Euphonium captures the style perfectly and the soprano reciprocates. Some less tidy ensemble follows but the overall picture of King’s Herald is a good one.

Cortege is very well laid out too and the soloists all do well (we love the trombone sound!). Build up to 4 is well judged and the following sections are excellent - well balanced and full of passion. Excellent closing bars - so well controlled all round.

Cornet opens Jousts well - just loses focus at the end. Ensemble is strong and again we love the euphonium sound and style. Horns strangely legato and again we’re not convinced, but this is minor in a performance of growing stature. The build-up to the climax is just a bit untidy but it stays strong overall. One or two individual touches in this one, but it could cause a surprise or two.

 

 

11. Brunel Brass (Paul Collis-Smith) 

Very understated opening is tidy enough but needs some more impact. Soprano entry (on a cornet) is early but well played notwithstanding that. Stays generally tidy to the end but the inner detail is difficult to hear cleanly at times.

Cortege opens well - bravo baritones and horn! Lovely contributions also from cornet and trombone, and the build-up to the solemn melody is just right. Cut and paste works a treat between cornet and soprano to close arguably the day’s best slow movement. Excellent!

Fanfare is excellent into Jousts but percussion and cornet get disconnected towards the end. Ensemble isn’t so tidy and again there isn’t enough dynamic contrast to make an impact. The end is a bit chaotic too. A really curious performance this! The two faster movements have been less successful than many, but the more testing Cortege was simply outstanding!

 

10. Mount Charles (Stan Lippeatt)

An untidy start and the issues continue as it proceeds. Cornets and basses (a player light) really get into trouble at times. Not a great opening movement at all.

Cortege opens better and there is a nice approach to the music making all round. Some slips and poor intonation but this has been better than Kings Herald.
Cornet digs deep in Jousts fanfare. Super euphonium and the horn and cornet statements work well. The band feels more comfortable here but the early inaccuracies will have been costly.

 

9. Woodfalls (Dr. Robert Childs)

Textbook opening is as tidy as it gets and everything moves along with quality. Soprano (one of two) shows real quality but is ably assisted by those around him. Overall a flawless start.

Cortege opens well and horn is excellent, but there is a wrong note in the accompanying baritones. Lovely cornet and following section playing is tasteful. Builds well to 4 and again nothing feels overdone, building up very well to 6, which is majestic. The merest of slips in an otherwise well controlled close.

Jousts opens steadily but flawlessly and the following ensemble playing is pristine. Horns and cornets very tasteful in their statements. It remains strong all the way to the triumphant finale. Some great playing here in a cultured reading. Just a few moments in Cortege to give the judges something to think about. Otherwise a clear leader for us.

 

8. Aldbourne (David Johnson) 

Textbook opening is as tidy as it gets and everything moves along with quality. Soprano (one of two) shows real quality but is ably assisted by those around him. Overall a flawless start.

Cortege opens well and horn is excellent, but there is a wrong note in the accompanying baritones. Lovely cornet and following section playing is tasteful. Builds well to 4 and again nothing feels overdone, building up very well to 6, which is majestic. The merest of slips in an otherwise well controlled close.

Jousts opens steadily but flawlessly and the following ensemble playing is pristine. Horns and cornets very tasteful in their statements. It remains strong all the way to the triumphant finale. Some great playing here in a cultured reading. Just a few moments in Cortege to give the judges something to think about. Otherwise a clear leader for us.

 

8. Aldbourne (David Johnson)

Tidy opening and it moves along nicely in a relatively understated (but authentic) style. Some really fine work in the cornet section (excluding the flying mute…) and the whole ensemble is well-directed and together all the way. An excellent start!

Cortege doesn’t open so well, however, and horn and baritones don’t find really each other. Cornet does better, but the inner ensemble continues to have problems. Again relatively understated at 4, but we like it and the effect at 6 is enhanced by what has gone before. Nice control in the closing bars and soprano is excellent.

Straight into Jousts (bravo repiano!) and the following ensemble passage is robust. Good work continues and the drama builds to a majestic finale. One that could well have gone right to the top today but for the uncertainty in the middle movement, but it could still figure.

 

7. Yeovil Town (Ian Holmes)

A tiny bit untidy to open but it’s well on its way and the euphonium is very tasteful in his opening solo. Cornets are considerably less tidy though and there are moments of further loose ensemble towards the end of the movement.

Untidy opening to Cortege and some of the solos seem understated. The movement proceeds well and the soprano controls the ending beautifully.

Very steady Jousts fanfare from the cornet and the band struggles to maintain clarity in the following section. Some poor intonation comes into play and there seems a general air of tiredness, which affects the tightness of the ensemble too. A good effort overall but one that just fell into too many well-laid traps to thrive today.

 

6. Roche Brass (Garry Cutt)

Untidy cornet opening and it takes a few bars for it all to settle down. Soprano leads the way and the cornet section shows more quality in the filigree part. It remains well shaped to the end of the movement, although possibly faster than some of the band can manage right at the end.  

Baritones don’t speak together at the start of Cortege and the horn is similarly tentative. Nice work follows from the cornets and it builds with purpose to the solemn melody at 4. Great control to finish and bravo soprano!

Jousts opens well with just the hint of a slip on the cornet. Soprano shows his class again and the ensemble continues to show quality as the movement proceeds. Slight untidiness towards the meno mosso but this has been a well-directed and mainly well played show from Roche.

 

5. Camborne Town (Michael Fowles) 

Perhaps the tidiest opening so far and it all unfolds very nicely as the opening movement progresses. Intricate cornet work is tidy if a bit over the written dynamic. The quality continues to the end of the movement.

Cortege doesn’t open so well and there are a number of lapses in individual playing as well as some poor intonation. Insecurity continues, which is a real pity after such a good opening.

Fanfare opening to Jousts is slightly insecure but the band recovers well this time and continues the good work around the stand to the end. An excellent reading overall with fine bookends, but the middle movement could be very costly for Camborne.

 

4. Lydbrook (Glyn Williams) 

A hint of uncertainty in the cornet opening but it is generally tidy from there with nothing overcooked and good attention to the myriad accents. There are a few individual accidents along the way, however and the intricate cornet work isn’t entirely clean. Some further untidiness in the closing bars in which band and percussion seem a bit disconnected.

Opening of Cortege lacks a bit of confidence and individual slips begin to stack up. The solemn melody at 4 lacks a bit of commitment and while the 6 has more about it, it still feels understated. Good ending in which soprano and horn excel.

Jousts fanfare isn’t totally clean and percussion gets in a tangle as the band enters the fray. Horn and cornet entries are tidier but the top end is also sounding a bit tired. The final section is well managed overall but this has seen Lydbrook pushed to its limits today.

 

 

3. Flowers (Paul Holland)

Opening not completely clean from the defending champion and there are one or two inventive moments from the conductor. We particularly liked the euphonium and soprano contributions and the intricate cornet work was excellent if a tad ‘safe’ dynamically. It’s textbook Howells to the end of the movement though and very good start overall.

Well-shaped opening to Cortege and the cornet solo is also well played if slightly understated stylistically. The big tune feels quite raw rather than sonorous but the band sounds more at home at 6. Some loss of control in the cornets in the closing bars but the soprano and horn are pristine.

Cornet is in control at the start of Jousts but why the B flat in the descending bar? Euph knocks one over and for a few bars there it feels like the composure has dropped. It seems to gather momentum as it goes on and untidiness creeps into other areas of the ensemble. Characteristically strong to finish but Flowers has definitely left a door or two open today.

 

2. Lanner and District Silver (David Hamilton) 

Opening is almost clean from the cornets but it soon becomes quite untidy throughout the ensemble. Some basic articulation problems affect the back cornet contribution and the difficulties in staying completely together continue throughout the opening movement.

Some more uncertainty at the start of Cortege from baritones and horn, while the trombones are also at odds with each other. The music drives on but seems devoid of any real drama or majesty when the opportunities to create them are there. Nice control to close the movement all round.

Cornet feels tentative at the start of Jousts and ensemble problems continue, notably in the horn trio but also elsewhere, with a wrong note or two in the cornets adding to the band’s woes. Again the majestic finale isn’t given a lot of space to develop but the band stays strong dynamically to the end. Not one we expect to make an impact inside the box.

 

1. Filton Concert Brass (Tom Davoren)

Very energetic opening is full of life and very dynamic. Some back row cornet detail does get lost, but the conductor introduces a few nice touches. A question over the bass end notation at the end?

Cortege not totally clean to open and the bass end comes over quite aggressively at one point. Melody feels quite ‘raw’ in style at 4 although there is more a feeling of brightness at 6. Soprano is outstanding in the closing bars and the control here is good.

Committed cornet fanfare is nearly all there and again the soprano is almost effortless in delivery. Again it is very lively for tempo and although the band delivers with full commitment it is hard for all the detail to get through. Allargando before 15 is ‘inventive’ but it leads to a strong finale to a performance that certainly left nothing unsaid. 21st century Herbert Howells!