A King surveys his Gallery

Issue 5959

BRIGHOUSE AND RASTRICK PAINTS THE BRIGHTEST PICTURES AT THE RAH

WHAT'S ALL THE PALAVER WITH PALANGA?

SAGE GATESHEAD PREPARES FOR OUTSTANDING BRASS IN CONCERT LINE-UP

2017 Grand Shield

Friday 12 May, 2017

The Grand Shield

Venue: Opera House

Draws: 9.00am and 12.30pm, commences: 10.00am

Test-piece: reflections on Swan Lake (Stephen Roberts)

Adjudicators: Allan Ramsay and Steve Sykes

Kenny Crookston reporting

 

Result

1. Whitburn (Professor Nicholas Childs)*
2. Wingates (Paul Andrews)*
3. Reg Vardy (Russell Gray)
4. NASUWT Riverside (David Roberts)
5. Virtuosi GUS (Adam Cooke)
6. Woodfalls (Dr Robert Childs)
7. Hepworth (Leigh Baker)
8. Camborne Town (Kevin Mackenzie)
9. Aldbourne (David Johnson)
10. Ashton-under-Lyne (Philip Chalk)
11. Thoresby Colliery (Ian McElligott)
12. Hammonds Saltaire (Morgan Griffiths)
13. Pemberton Old Wigan DW (Ben Dixon)
14. Tongwynlais Temperance (Michael Fowles)
15. Rainford (Gareth Brindle)
16. Kirkintilloch (Bryan Allen)
17. Llwydcoed (Chris Turner)**
18. Unite the Union (John Roberts) **
19. Northop Silver (Paul Hughes)**
20. Burry Port Town (Matthew Rowe)**

Best Instrumentalist: Andy MacDonald, cornet, Wingates

*denotes qualification for 2017 British Open
**Relegated to 2018 Senior Cup

 

In the BB Frame

1. Reg Vardy (Russell Gray)

2. Whitburn (Professor Nicholas Childs) 

3. Woodfalls (Dr. Robert Childs) 

4. Tongwynlais Temperance (Michael Fowles)

5. Hepworth (Leigh Baker)

6. Wingates (Paul Andrews)

*NOT THE OFFICIAL RESULT

 

A fascinating affair here in the Opera House with a tight battle at the top for the two Open places. We think it could be Reg Vardy and Whitburn making the trip to Birmingham but we're not writing off Woodfalls. Real results hopefully coming soon after 6.15pm.

 

Draw

1. Thoresby Colliery (Ian McElligott)

2. Camborne Town (Kevin Mackenzie)

3. Rainford (Gareth Brindle)

4. Virtuosi GUS (Adam Cooke)

5. Woodfalls (Dr. Robert Childs) 

6. Hammonds Saltaire (Morgan Griffiths)

7. Llwydcoed (Chris Turner)

8. Northop Silver (Paul Hughes) 

9. Tongwynlais Temperance (Michael Fowles) 

10. Whitburn (Professor Nicholas Childs) 

11. Ashton-under-Lyne (Philip Chalk)

12. Kirkintilloch (Bryan Allen)

13. Hepworth (Leigh Baker)

14. NASUWT Riverside (David Roberts)

15. Aldbourne (David Johnson)

16. Pemberton Old Wigan DW (Ben Dixon)

17. Burry Port Town (Matthew Rowe)

18. Unite the Union (John Roberts)

19. Reg Vardy (Russell Gray)

20. Wingates (Paul Andrews)

 

20. Wingates (Paul Andrews)

Robust approach to the opening and it remains so in the piu mosso. Security is pretty good overall in comparison to the standard of the day and the adventure continues in good shape through to the horn trio, which certainly doesn’t hang around… Bolero has good shape but we are less convinced by the approach to andantino but the tarantella is alive and well. Lento has a lovely relaxed feeling and the soloists all play in sympathy with each other - very good indeed! Waltz doesn’t retain the same composure but the baritone is super as it leads into the final powerful section. A good show from Wingates that just dropped below its best at times but also produced some of the best moments of the day.

 

19. Reg Vardy (Russell Gray)

An individual approach to the opening and it’s one of the cleanest we’ve heard. Nicely shaped as it progresses to piu mosso, which has only the smallest of slips and moves with real purpose to G. Conductor imposes his authority on the score with no prisoners being taken. Euphonium nearly perfect and horns are the same. Not hearing every single semiquaver of detail but the framework of the ensemble is 100% robust. Some lovely touches form the conductor and the cornets nearly deliver absolutely to his brilliantly conceived plan. Lento has a feeling of tranquillity and again nearly everything is placed perfectly by soloists. Waltz is again beautifully laid out by the conductor, but with the niggly errors continuing to amass we wonder if this potential winner may just have its wings clipped slightly. The most stylish reading of the day and a band that sounded every bit like it should be in the Open though. A real contender.

 

18. Unite the Union (John Roberts)

Opening lacks confidence in a number of the solo entries and it lacks definition overall through the first section of the piece. Piu mosso has its untidy moments too. Euphonium cadenza almost comes off perfectly and introduces an excellent horn section. It’s full of energy when it needs to be but more dynamic contrasts could have brought more colour to bolero and the following sections. Lento doesn’t find all the soloists at their respective best, while the waltz section is missing some of the character that others have brought to the dancefloor. Quite an underpowered finale to a performance that never really managed to maintain consistency enough to make a mark today.

 

17. Burry Port Town (Matthew Rowe)

Not the most comfortable of starts for Burry Port on this one. Piu mosso is in better shape, if rather monodynamic. Some concern over tuning and notation at lento, while balance and precision appear a constant issue. The conductor actually shapes the music very well, but the lack of polish in the playing is just too great for this one to succeed today.

 

16. Pemberton Old Wigan DW (Ben Dixon)

Opening allows the soloists plenty of freedom and we hear the filigree effects to the maximum. Not all the lines are secure though. Piu mosso does get a bit overexcited at times but it’s all there to be heard. Balance is a problem as the progresses, however. Some nice musical shaping from the conductor and we like the horns’ contribution, but there seems to be an ever-present threat of individuals going over the top with their contributions. Lento has good shape, but again the security is undermined at times. The waltz certainly didn’t suffer from any wallflowers not getting involved! Baritone was one of the best of the day though. It all gets a bit frantic towards the finale, which is as robust as the rest of the performance.

An odd one from Pemberton in some ways. There’s clearly a good band and conductor but it needed a lot more restraint to make the best of this music.

 

15. Aldbourne (David Johnson)

Nice cornet style in the opening but the contrasting approaches in the following entries don’t really work for us. Builds nicely to piu mosso, which is generally well delivered if a bit light on contrasting dynamics. Terrific euphonium cadenza and the horns contribute well, but the overall ensemble has a rather muddy texture at times - it is difficult to hear semiquaver detail when playing at speed. Lento is one of the most secure of the day but the band seems to have lost its ballet shoes in the waltz. Excellent baritone captures the mood perfectly but there is chaos in the cornet semiquavers before the underpowered finale.

Not one that we felt really came off today for Aldbourne.

 

14. NASUWT Riverside (David Roberts)

Opens with style and security and remains mainly so until piu mosso, which is robust but possibly a bit too much so at times. Fine euphonium cadenza introduces the horns, who aren’t completely as one. Style just right in the Bolero but again the errors begin to appear. The cornets, meanwhile, are right on the money at andantino and remain so through an energetic tarantella. Much to admire through the testing lento and soloists are well presented. We like the waltz too - it manages to avoid most of the trap doors on the dancefloor but the errors are easily heard if rare. Excellent baritone before the action kicks off again, but it is less precise than before. Balance isn’t all it should be in the finale but there is great commitment on show.

A fine reading and a generally good performance from Riverside. Perhaps one that can reflect on a few extra slips than it would have liked but a definite top half contender for us.

 

13. Hepworth (Leigh Baker)

Perhaps the most secure opening so far and there is fine detail in the filigree accompaniment. A tiny moment of poor intonation before piu mosso, which moves along apace. Bass trombone sets the action off with class and the surging dynamics create a real sense of drama. Conductor keeps a lid on the dynamics but when unleashed it can be impressive. Some horn detail just lost before the bolero, which has a relaxed feeling. Cornet section is pristine in the andantino, but it could perhaps have had a bit more style before the tarantella, which is positively bursting with energy. Lento doesn’t have the same confidence about it and the lines don’t always appear seamless. We like the waltz, even it is less tidy than some. Cornets are inaudible before the baritone cadenza and they get into a real tangle in the following animated section - a real shame. Strong finale, although not as well balanced as earlier.

A real contender from Hepworth but one that perhaps just failed to maintain the quality right to the end.

 

12. Kirkintilloch (Bryan Allen)

Excellent cornet opens but the good work is undone by some poor entries and it quickly becomes quite strained. Piu mosso is better and the bass end shows some quality sounds. Bass trombone is terrific (must be something in the Scottish water…) and the euphonium gets the job done in the cadenza. Slips are frequent in the ensemble though, and the bolero lacks poise. Good lead into lento (lovely soprano moment) and horn is tasteful, but yet again the mistakes detract from the good musical intentions. Unfortunately untidiness is never far away as it builds to the finale, which is a dynamic down on most we’ve heard today.

Not a great day at the office, but there were some stars on show and the reading was well-shaped.

 

11. Ashton-under-Lyne (Philip Chalk)

Committed opening is all secure if a bit on the ‘safe’ side dynamically. Piu mosso remains tidy and we hear the various layers with clarity, but again it has a monodynamic feeling. Excellent euphonium cadenza and the horns contribute well. Bolero lacks the same level of precision though, while the cornet andantino has style but again suffers insecurity. Great work between cornet and soprano in lento but there are some nasty errors in a fairly lead-footed waltz. Further scrappiness ensues when the band is at full volume although the final section is delivered with bravado - their best playing so far.

A slightly frustrating one overall. Plenty of quality on show but the lapses were of a fairly obvious nature.

 

10. Whitburn (Professor Nicholas Childs) 

Excellent opening, but again a couple of slips are noticeable. Piu mosso has clarity and balance, then the full force of sound is impressive before the climax. Super bass trombone sets the lento in motion and the playing from here has character and confidence. Euphonium and horns set the prominent cornets up nicely, but again the niggly errors are there to be heard. Lead into lento is pristine (first today) and the soprano/cornet interplay is nearly perfect. Waltz is moving along but it has style and complete security. Not 100% tidy leading to the finale, but there is majesty thus far unheard, leading to a powerful conclusion.

Outstanding at times and led with authority. Just a handful of small clips but this could be the halfway leader.

 

9. Tongwynlais Temperance (Michael Fowles) 

Lovely cornet opens and although the clips in later entries are all minor, there are quite a few of them. Piu mosso is well controlled and we hear detail throughout, leading to an excellent climax at G. We like the energy and committed nature of the approach, while the euphonium plays the cadenza with aplomb and the horns follow with security and style. Bolero section full of bravado and the cornets follow the conductor to the mark - bursting with character here. Good playing also in the lento section (despite the tiniest of lapses) and the waltz sets off on the correct foot although it maybe just needed to be unleashed a bit more. Final section perhaps not as strong as some we’ve heard but it’s all there to be heard. A superbly directed performance that could make a big mark today.

 

8. Northop Silver (Paul Hughes) 

Good opening from the cornet and the following soloists all contribute well. Just a hint of intonation and ‘muddy’ lower detail removes some of the polish as it approaches piu mosso. Well-measured climax at G and there is an interesting approach to the music making that brings some colour to the occasion. Bravado continues in bolero, which only suffers from a few scratchy entries, but the cornets set a fine scene in andantino. Great work continues through to lento, if sometimes a tad overdone in solo entries. Intonation and untidiness becomes a factor here though and much of the earlier good work is undone in a poor movement. It fights to get back on course in the waltz but the error count is rising rapidly. The finale feels tired although it remains mainly secure to the end.

A curious performance that started very well and had much to admire in the music making but just seemed to come off the rails halfway through.

 

7. Llwydcoed (Chris Turner) 

Nice cornet opens and most of the following soloists match him for style and clarity. Piu mosso doesn’t have the clarity we’ve heard from earlier bands but it holds together well to the climax at G. Excellent bass trombone (best so far!) in lento and we enjoyed the euphonium cadenza. Vivace perhaps slightly more ‘molto’ than is comfortable and there are further ensemble issues as the cornets come to the fore. Cornet and soprano have some good interplay but it does unwind slightly after that. Ensemble playing is generally quite weak in comparison to most of what we’ve heard so far, but there are good contributions (baritone!) towards the final section.

Not a band at its best today on this difficult test, but a lot to credit in terms of individual performances and a good overall approach.

 

6. Hammonds Saltaire (Morgan Griffiths) 

Cornet opens with style but again following soloists don’t all manage to keep it secure and there are some moments of poor intonation as it develops towards piu mosso. Better here and the main theme at G has aplomb. Quality continues through the excellent euphonium cadenza, although the horn suffers one or two lapses when featured. Cornet section fares better given its moment in the sun and we love the overall style through to lento. Good work continues (excellent cornet and soprano contributions) although the niggly errors continue. Great style and clarity in the waltz section, but occasional slips are starting to become more frequent. Lovely baritone takes it into another good section at D1 and the finale is delivered with some style.

Lots to admire in this one, but again the error count may just be a factor in the end. Not one to write off though.

 

5. Woodfalls (Dr. Robert Childs) 

Secure opening reveals classy soloists all round, although there is a touch of poor intonation, especially in the top sounds. Piu mosso has authority and is well-balanced and secure, leading to the climax at G with real purpose. Euphonium delivers the cadenza with confidence and at last we hear real accented detail at the molto vivace. Great work (especially from cornets) at andantino and piu mosso - clarity is the key! Occasional blips as it leads into lento, which although not 100% secure in the solo lines still has purpose and musical intention. Tension builds up nicely as the waltz develops and once unleashed has ‘freedom’, despite some blips. Lovely baritone leads into a clear allegro, although again there are some slips up top. Big ending rounds off a fine show for Woodfalls. A clear leader for us, but a moderately high error count could have left some room for later bands to knock it off the podium.

 

4. Virtuosi GUS (Adam Cooke)

Expressive cornet opens but not all following solo lines are as secure. Piu mosso has real definition in the semi-quavers and big dynamic contrasts. There are notable slips though and some of the more tranquil moments that follow feel on edge. Plenty of bravado in the bolero but minor slips are unfortunately too frequent. We loved the cornets in the andantino but again some of the interjections just came over as untidy. Lento has some good touches but there is a ‘bull in a china shop’ feel to it at times. Waltz continues in the same vein, with bags of style and commitment, but top-end balance is definitely an issue. The technical playing before the finale is the tightest we’ve heard, but tiredness comes across in the big tune.

A band and conductor with a lot to offer at any level, but we felt that it was a step or two off the pace we’ve come to expect from them today.

 

3. Rainford (Gareth Brindle)

Classy cornet solo opens and all other solo moments work in sympathy. There are some intonation issues between cornet and euphonium though. Piu mosso isn’t entirely convincing in delivery and again there are intonation issues when the main theme returns at G. Molto vivace is just too fast for the band’s comfort and although the following sections are secure more contrasting dynamics could have added a lot in stylistic terms. Another insecure lead into lento, which again just lacks a bit of confidence. Opening of the waltz section lacked definition but it did develop nicely, despite one or two slips along the way. More untidiness before the finale, which maintains its strength through to the final bars.

A lot to admire in this one, especially some excellent soloists. Possibly too much detail lost along the way to feature too highly as the day progresses though.

 

2. Camborne Town (Kevin Mackenzie)

Nicely-handled opening and soloists all play with aplomb. Good attention to dynamics and style as the music develops through to piu mosso, but there are some notably untidy entries at the top end before the main theme returns at G. Euphonium plays with authority in cadenza and the following czardas has some nice stylistic touches. Goes well through to bolero, which is less tidy overall. We liked the approach to the andantino and the cornets were right on top of it, but some of the lower parts were less successful. Not the most secure lead in to lento and it seems to lose its overall poise. Waltz is more secure but it does feel quite restrained in style. Tuning issues in muted cornets before the excellent baritone interjection. More detail lost before the finale, which sounds tired, especially at the top end.

We liked a lot of this, especially the style in the first half of the piece, but it lost its way in delivery at times and may struggle to feature as a result. 

 

1. Thoresby Colliery (Ian McElligott)

Tranquillo opens quite tentatively and there is a slight lack of confidence in some solo lines. Andante has a better feel about it. Piu mosso is alive and driving relentlessly and the melody at G is played with authority. All goes well through to Molto Vivace, where some of the detail is lost amid the energetic approach. Cornets impress from andantino and although lento is generally well handled it does sound right at its safety limits at times. Waltz ‘limps’ slightly to open and some of the solo interjections slip up as it develops. Return of the main theme at F1 feels underpowered and there are some tired sounding entries as it runs to the final bars. A good, well-shaped show overall but one that just felt a bit tentative at times for us.