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 - 4th Section LIVE!

Sunday 25 February, 2018

4th Section

Opera House

Test-piece: World Tour (Rodney Newton)

Draw: 9.30am (commences 10.30am)

Adjudicators: Paul Holland and Brian Rostron

RESULTS

 

Paul Hindmarsh reporting

Good morning from Blackpool. There are 12 bands in the North West 4th Section playing Rodney Newton's musical postcards of Besses o' th' Barn's celebrated World Tours. It's not a particularly technical piece, but is requires plenty of colour and attention to style to enable Rodney's attractive vignettes to shine.

After a speedy and effecient section, two bands stand out for me for the quality of the sound, precision of ensemble, the confidence and skill of the solo playing in the pearly third movement and and understanding of the styles in each movement. Whether I'm on the same page as the judges we'll find out shortly.

Results

1. Lostock Hall Memorial (Joshua Hughes)*
2. Sale Brass (John Anderson)*
3. Stacksteads (Fred Bowker)
4. Parr St. Helens (John Ludden)
5. Rode Hall Silver (Nigel Butler)
6. BMP Europe Ltd. Goodshaw (Alan Seymour)

7. Brindle (Keith Richmond)
8. Blackley (Adrian Smith)
9. Ramsey Town (Robert Quane)
10. Cadishead Public (David Holland)
11. Stockport Silver (Alex Parker)
12. Denton Brass (Jim Hunter)

Best Basses: Lostock Hall Memorial
Best Percussion: Lostock Hall Memorial


*Qualifying for the finals in Cheltenham

In the BB Frame

1. Sale Brass (John Anderson)
2. Stacksteads (Fred Bowker)
3. Lostock Hall Memorial (Joshua Hughes)
4. Parr St. Helens (John Ludden)
5. Rode Hall Silver (Nigel Butler)
6. BMP Europe Ltd. Goodshaw (Alan Seymour)

 

12.Stacksteads (Fred Bowker)

A strong, purposeful first movement, leads to a rather too relaxed Chicago Rag perhaps – with imprecise rhythms and ensemble. Great ending though! The slow movement begins beautifully – restrained and sonorous, with expressive rise and fall of harmony to enhance some tasteful, sensitively matched solos – beautifully done. Troms are pretty clean at the start of the finale, and not too ‘in yer face’. There is much to enjoy here in the appreciation of style,  warmth of the tutti sound and the balances created by experienced director Fred Bowker. The ending builds naturally to a firm finish – good job!

11.Stockport Silver (Alex Parker)

A much lighter bass sound allows the inner textures to come through without pressure. Musically delivered, if lacking in the tonal resources and technical efficiency of the best bands in the section. Chicago Rag is very measured – taking note of Joplin’s caution about a ragtime not being fast. However, it has to retain spirit, character and precision. Not much Paradise in this Pacific postcard sadly – the slow movement lacked energy and rather too much went wrong with the solos. Full marks for recovering and making it through to the end after such a major set-back.

10.Brindle (Keith Richmond)

A little slow at the start, but we do hear most of the detail and the overall sound is balanced and in tune. Chicago Rag is neat and precise at the start. A major problem with the flugel horn solo detracts from the overall performance, which loses some rhythmic stability thereafter. There is an attractive ebb-and-flow of dynamics in Pacific Paradise – well rescued flugel and nicely done solo cornet! The sound doesn’t lose character at a quiet dynamic; a poor last chord sadly. The tempo in the finale seems steady but under control.

9.Rode Hall Silver (Nigel Butler)

This is the first band to try and play the opening in a properly expansive manner, playing through the phrases but not over blowing. ‘Pulchinello’ section is well-balanced and secure with the National Anthem finding its proper place. An unbalanced final chord and slightly scruffy start to Chicago Rag dim the picture a little, but the relaxed euphonium solo and clean soprano answer, with flugel following are more settled – brings a smile to the face! Pacific Paradise began and a fluffed solo horn entry didn’t detract too much from the musical flow. Some well-matched phrasing here, with soloists in the foreground. The finale is one of the best so far in terms of musical contrast, if not as accurate as one or two others.

8.Parr St. Helens (John Ludden)

A very strong soprano cornet player leading from the top in the first movement. There is some good playing, but also some overblowing. Chicago Rag could do with being a touch cleaner and rhythmically precise – just a touch too quick for complete comfort and clarity, but a neat ending. The tuning and tone in Pacific Paradise is efficient. The music flows naturally with a strong contribution from solo cornet – lovely ending. Troms rasp away at the start of a rollicking finale. This was a commendable performance.

7.Sale Brass (John Anderson)

The Leaving of Liverpool is a confident and exciting one in this reading. No hanging around for tearful goodbyes here – the ’Pulchinello’ section is a ‘toe-tapper’. Nicely focussed sound on the last chord.
Chicago Rag is accurate, clean and light on its feet – nicely done Mr. Bass Trombone! - A few unsteady moments away from excellent and a great false ending – good work! Super soloists at the start of Pacific Paradise – plaintive phrasing, well-matched. John Anderson keeps things moving and everyone fits in well. An easy flowing reading, soloists project well and are all playing off the ‘same page’, as it were. The dynamic contrasts at the opening of the finale are spot on- lovely cornet ‘chorusing’ – balanced and in tune. The waltz trips along. The rich sonority (in the contest of this section) is sustained through the Homeward Bound reprise. No fuss performance – good choices of tempo – style is understood. 

6.Denton Brass (Jim Hunter)

The start flows along nicely, and we hear the cornet line easily enough. A pity that some of the middle parts are playing sharp. The ‘Puchinello’ could be livelier and crisper. Chicago Rag is confident and bright but could be more secure in rhythm and in the detailing. The soloists start well Pacific Paradise. A touch faster and they would have kept the same intention through to the end. Australian Walkabout and Homeward Bound also got slower and energy flagged. Well done soprano!

5.Cadishead Public (David Holland)

A confident leaving of Liverpool- for the first time in the session we hear Auld Lang Syne clearly.  The band is really giving this a good go – all the elements are coming thought clearly, although Rodney’s demanding cornet line is causing problems in sustaining the tone. Chicago Rag – details are the clearest so far, and we can hear the good bits (plenty!) and a few awkward ones too. A scruffy ending but lots of strong playing before that. All that good work is undone at the start Pacific Paradise – with a procession of mis-pitching. Apart from the solo cornet, the soloists struggle to project their little contributions – ‘pearly’ times! Confidence is restored in the finale and a resounding ending.

4.Ramsey Town (Robert Quane)

A bigger sound from the Manx musicians, and the musical intentions are admirable but also quite few slips in important places. A steady start to Chicago Rag – the tempo and contrasts are spot on, but the top line is rather accident prone. Great to hear it at the written dynamic however. The soloists struggle to bring out the solo lines in Pacific Paradise accurately – such a pity given the way the easy flow of the harmonies. The ensemble at the start of the finale could be neater. The homeward journey sounds rather tired – the ship was running out of steam!

3.BMP Europe Ltd. Goodshaw (Alan Seymour)

A cleaner and clearer sound from BMP Europe, although the trombones dominate the texture at the start. Bands so far seem to be finding difficulties balancing the opening section to bring out the top line. The rhythmic profile of Chicago Rag could be crisper. This a bit loose and uncontrolled in places and the false ending caught a few out! The band makes an attractive sound in Pacific Paradise, although it lost momentum. Nice euphonium – well done! A pity that the final chord isn’t in tune. The best finale opening so far – with a bit of ‘poke’ to the sound – but the music lost some tension towards the end.

2.Lostock Hall Memorial (Joshua Hughes)

Lostock has similar balance issues to band no.1 in the opening section – the top line struggles to come through a rather opaque texture. Dynamic contrasts in the ‘Pulchinello’ passage come across well leading to a strong departure from Liverpool.Neat and tidy at the start of Chicago Rag and pleasing lift to the euphonium solo and a bright, finish. The soloists in Pacific Paradise play with confidence and the background harmonies resonate well with expressive contrasts. Lovely solo cornet contribution here. Atmospheric finish. The finale begins neatly – clean as a whistle and sharp in articulation. Matilda marches and waltzes effectively.

1.Blackley (Adrian Smith)

A full sound from the band on departure from Liverpool, although not always balanced and in tune. Some of the ensemble is a bit loose but the references to Auld Lang Syne etc come across. Chicago Rag trips along nicely, but a bit more dynamic contrast and sharper articulation would have helped. A nervy start to Paradise in the Pacific, but some pleasant touches from solo cornet and soprano later on. Overall this lacked confidence in the quiet lyrical style. Much better in the Waltzing Matilda finale – bright and lively. 

 

Draw

1.Blackley (Adrian Smith)

2.Lostock Hall Memorial (Joshua Hughes)

3.BMP Europe Ltd. Goodshaw (Alan Seymour)

4.Ramsey Town (Robert Quane)

5.Cadishead Public (David Holland)

6.Denton Brass (Jim Hunter)

7.Sale Brass (John Anderson)

8.Parr St. Helens (John Ludden)

9.Rode Hall Silver (Nigel Butler)

10.Brindle (Keith Richmond)

11.Stockport Silver (Alex Parker)

12.Stacksteads (Fred Bowker)