Celebrating the past, looking to the future - Special commemorative issue

Issue 5967

Standing upon giants' shoulders - paying tribute to the lineage of BB Editors

BB looks forward to British Open and Lower Section finals

The brass band repertoire - use it or lose it?

 

 

North West Regional Championships - 1st Section LIVE!

Sunday 25 February, 2018

The Empress Ballroom

Test-piece:  Brass Metamorphosis (James Curnow)

Draw: 1.00pm (commences following 3rd Section results)

Adjudicators: Sarah Groarke-Booth and Glyn Williams

Kenny Crookston reporting

 

Results

1. Oldham (Lees) (John Collins)

2. Freckleton (Paul Dalton)

3. Wardle Anderson Brass (Sean Conway)

4. Boarshurst Silver (James Garlick)

5. Haslingden and Helmshore (Simon Cowen)

6. Blackburn and Darwen (David Thornton)

7. Eccles Borough (Mareika Gray)

8. Roberts Bakery (Paul Lovatt-Cooper)

9. Mossley (Duncan Byers)

10. Silk Brass (Tony Wyatt)

11. Crewe Brass (Matt Pithers)

12. Manx Concert Brass (Ian Clague MBE)

13. Cheshire Constabulary (David Woollam)

14. Diggle (Melvin Tay)

15. Poulton-Le-Fylde (Andrew Warriner)

Best Percussion: Oldham (Lees)

  

In the BB Frame

1. Wardle Anderson Brass (Sean Conway)

2. Oldham (Lees) (John Collins)

3. Freckleton (Paul Dalton)

4. Blackburn and Darwen (David Thornton)

5. Diggle (Melvin Tay)

6. Boarshurst Silver (James Garlick)

 

An intruiging contest in many ways with a broad range of quality across the spectrum. The top two for us are Wardle and Oldham, and we wouldn't argue about them in any order. It could be close below these for the other frame places too. Real results coming soon... (19:20)

 

15. Roberts Bakery (Paul Lovatt-Cooper)

A very good opening to close (!). Solo entries are all very good too (yet another excellent soprano!). Var I is nicely measured and we can hear all the lines clearly. II doesn’t start so successfully but yet again the soprano is terrific in his short solo. Var III is off like a bat out of hell, but the key is being able to play it all at the chosen speed - not quite so here. IV feels less secure too, with confidence in the solo lines dropping occasionally and tiredness seems to have set in at the end of a long day in the final variation. One that didn’t quite hang together all the way for us.

 

14. Cheshire Constabulary (David Woollam)

A more low-key approach to dynamics here, even if it is one of the day’s more tidy openings. Var I works pretty well but again just misses that bit of dynamic impact. Intonation is poor at the start of II but we liked Var II better if just a little scruffy at times. Some good work around the solo stands adds to the quality of IV and the finale is as strong as the band has been today. Much to commend here in terms of ensemble but greater contrasts would have added a lot to the picture.

 

13. Oldham (Lees) (John Collins)

One of today’s more successful openings - clean and vibrant. Var I works well too - using the music to create the drama like few have so far. II shows soloists off in their best light - just some occasional background intonation affects the overall picture. Soloists all terrific though. We like the approach to III - not too quick but measured and full of dynamism. IV works as well as any today - soloists again on top form - and the finale has a feeling of triumph about it. A very good show that could be right in the mix. Close now!

 

12. Crewe Brass (Matt Pithers)

Energy abounds in the opening and it’s all there to be heard. Soloists all do well and it’s off into Var I, which isn’t quite as clean as the excellent opening. Var II gets off to a ragged start but we enjoy some good solo work (lovely flugel). III races along but it does suffer from inaccuracy to a large degree. Some slightly nervous sounds appear in Var IV and general precision drops as it approaches Var V. Some fine moments in this one but it just fell away in terms of quality at times.

 

11. Eccles Borough (Mareika Gray)

Secure opening is less dynamic than some, but some solo lines are insecure in the adagio. Var I perhaps clinical in nature and missing some of the drama the best of the earlier bands have brought. Bass end loses the thread slightly towards the end. Some good solo work in II (well done soprano!) and the band sound is warm, although insecurity does creep in at times. Tempo has a good ‘feel’ in Var III, yet the untidiness continues, especially in the cornets. IV feels well under control (lovely trombone moment too…). The transition into V doesn’t quite feel seamless before a strong finale to what has been a slightly disappointing show today from the Butlin’s winner.

 

10. Silk Brass (Tony Wyatt)

Robust and slightly untidy opening (this is proving tough today). Var I feels quite heavy-handed too, with possibly less light and shade than some. Soloists contribute well to Var II but there are some notable intonation issues. III moves along at speed, not to everyone’s complete comfort as some bars just seem out of reach. IV suffers a bit from a short split note epidemic, while we feel that it didn’t really show the dynamic control some others have today. Further untidiness in the triplets in Var V and the end also feels a bit tired. A good attempt overall but one that just fell short in too many departments for us today.

 

9. Wardle Anderson Brass (Sean Conway)

Opening not entirely tidy although it has more precision in sound and balance than most so far. Var I is bright and vibrant - tight too. Nice playing in Var II also - bravo to the soprano cornet, but all soloists deliver with class. Just a minor clip as it winds down. Var III has a good feel tempo-wise and most of the technical playing is of a high standard. Very tasteful horn solo sets up an excellent Var IV, which develops appropriately into V. Percussion threatens to obliterate at times but this has been a terrific show overall.

 

8. Blackburn and Darwen (David Thornton)

Not the tidiest of opening sections - one or two extraneous sounds emerge. Var I is well measured and executed, although percussion and brass seem disjointed occasionally. Soloists make good contributions to Var II, where the control at quiet dynamics is also noticeably good. Some sections are right on their limits in Var III, even although the tempo isn’t especially quick. Var IV well delivered all round and we like the drama created in the finale. Arguably the most satisfying reading thus far but a few laspes in the playing may cost.

 

7. Boarshurst Silver (James Garlick)

A bold opening but one in which most of the lines come through clearly. The committed style remains in Var I, as does the general air of accuracy. It is slightly less dynamic than some, however. Terrific soprano in Var II and most other soloists also play with ease. III is off like a rat up a drainpipe and, despite the fast tempo, it is played with remarkable clarity - the best playing we’ve heard so far today. Classy horn playing sets up a good Var IV, which transitions perfectly into V. A very precise performance overall which could do very well here today. Some of the quieter sections could have been down a bit and there were some noticeable individual slips but overall this has been good.

 

6. Mossley (Duncan Byers)

Another that has found the opening bars hard to deliver with clarity. Var I is quite robust in style - all there to be heard though. Var II finds some soloists on the edge of their limits but every one delivers. Var III knocks along a bit and it’s nearly all good - just the occasional bar that gets away. Not entirely clean through IV, which is proving a real test for many, as is the transition into V which isn’t entirely successful here. Perhaps tired a bit towards the end, but another with plenty to commend.

 

5. Freckleton (Paul Dalton)

A slight lack of clarity in the opening but it is very brief. Var I is well measured and delivered with care. Good work continues in Var II where the soloists all step up to the mark - bravo euphonium! Var III has clarity and we hear good attention to dynamics and detail - quite sedate tempo-wise. Band and soloists show excellent control in Var IV and the transition into the final movement is seamless. Cornets announce the final Var beautifully and the quality remains through the finale. Very good indeed overall.

 

4. Haslingden and Helmshore (Simon Cowen)

Opening bars are untidy but it recovers well, despite the intonation issues in the upper cornets. Ensemble in Var I is the tightest and most dynamic we’ve heard so far, but there is a lapse towards the end. Unfortunately the lapses continue through Var II, which does sound quite uncomfortable at times. The fastest attempt at Var III we’ve heard so far, but it also has the band right on its technical limits. Lovely horn playing in Var IV and other soloists all contribute well. Ensemble problems continue in Var V where the cornets are having to really work hard. A performance that could have given us more but the error count was very high indeed and that should unfortunately keep it away from the top.

 

3. Poulton-le-Fylde (Andrew Warriner)

Quite an untidy opening, especially from the top half of the band, and the clips continue in the solo lines before Var I. Balance is proving an issue (although it may be very different for the real judges upstairs…). Flugel delivers and bravo to the young soprano player in Var II. Euphonium and horn nearly right on the money. Var III is quite sedate in style but it appears a tempo chosen sensibly. The band is tested further in Var IV but we like the way it moves into V. Ending loses a bit of sparkle but a good attempt overall.

 

2. Manx Concert Brass (Ian Clague MBE)

Not suite so tight in the opening section with one or two clips creeping around the stand. Var I continues in the same vein, although we are hearing a more dynamic reading than that of the previous band. Some enduring tuning problems in Var II and a number of the solo lines are affected thus. We like the approach in Vars III & IV but again the clips continue to stack up. Var V is well measured and the ensemble maintains its quality sound to the end. A lot to commend here but just too many minor slips to make a big impression today for us.

 

1. Diggle (Melvin Tay)

Good, tight opening and we hear good solo sounds - especially the enduring class of David Pogson on flugel. Var I is tight but light on the higher dynamics. Tuning not 100% in Var II, especially in the cornets, but we liked the euphonium solo a lot and he is matched by some tasteful horn playing. Var III - we suspect we might hear this faster today, but clarity is the key and there is nothing astray here at all. Var IV is delicately handled - just a hint of intonation at times but that is a minor criticism. Builds nicely into Var V and it stays tidy to the end. A good opening show that could have benefitted from more dynamic contrast but don’t be surprised if it lasts the pace today.

 

Draw

1. Diggle (Melvin Tay)

2. Manx Concert Brass (Ian Clague MBE) 

3. Poulton-le-Fylde (Andrew Warriner)

4. Haslingden and Helmshore (Simon Cowen)

5. Freckleton (Paul Dalton)

6. Mossley (Duncan Byers) 

7. Boarshurst Silver (James Garlick)

8. Blackburn and Darwen (David Thornton)

9. Wardle Anderson Brass (Sean Conway)

10. Silk Brass (Tony Wyatt)

11. Eccles Borough (Mareika Gray)

12. Crewe Brass (Matt Pithers)

13. Oldham (Lees) (John Collins)

14. Cheshire Constabulary (David Woollam)

15. Roberts Bakery (Paul Lovatt-Cooper)