JAPAN'S RISING CORNET STAR - Chiaki Hirata talks to British Bandsman in an exclusive video interview

Issue 5974

THE UNFINISHED SYMPHONY: A CENTENARY CELEBRATION - Celebrating 100 years of Tullis Russell Mills Band

 GEARING UP FOR GATESHEAD - Extensive preview of the 42nd Brass in Concert Championships

Yorkshire Regional Championships - 1st Section LIVE!

Sunday 4 March, 2018

Test-piece: Brass Metamorphosis (James Curnow)

Sunday 4 March

Draw: 8.00am (commences 10.00am)

Adjudicators: John Doyle and Alan Morrison

Kenny Crookston reporting

 

Results

1. Strata (Jonathan Bates)

2. Skelmanthorpe (Martin Heartfield)

3. Stannington (Derek Renshaw)

4. Knottingley Silver (Kevin Belcher)

5. Wakefield Metropolitan (Richard Larder)

6. Drighlington (Tommy Tynan)

7. Lindley (Robert Westacott)

8. Hebden Bridge (David Hamilton)

9. Hade Edge (Jonathan Beatty)

10. Old Silkstone (Dr. Owen Wedgwood)

11. Skelmanthorpe Prospect (Philip Garlick)

12. Chapeltown Silver (Sam Fisher)

Youngest Player: Max Creese, 10, Hebden Bridge

Best Soloist: Tenor Horn, Strata

Best Soprano Cornet: Skelmanthorpe

Best Euphonium: Knottingley

 

In the BB Frame

1. Lindley (Robert Westacott)

2. Stannington (Derek Renshaw)

3. Knottingley Silver (Kevin Belcher)

4. Hade Edge (Jonathan Beatty)

5. Drighlington (Tommy Tynan)

6. Skelmanthorpe (Martin Heartfield)

 

 

13:50 - a fascinating contest in many ways and it could be tough to call a clear winner. Most of the quality was in the first half for us and we are going for Lindley and Rob Westacott to take the title. We think it is wide open though.

 

12. Drighlington (Tommy Tynan)

Opening section goes well soloists all contribute with some style. Var I is well-measured for tempo and dynamics. We’re just not hearing the same degree of clarity, especially in the cornets, that others have managed. Sticky middle valve undermines the horn entry at the start of Var II, while other soloists also sound less than fully confident at times. Sensible choice of tempo in Var III gives the band a chance that some others have denied themselves. Horns still sound on edge, but we hear better work from the cornets. Good work all round in Var IV, which has proved a tough one for many today. The transition into V has real drama and we like the style of the final movement, even if the split count is rather high. A fascination performance with lots to admire musically. It remains to be seen how much the judges focus on the occasional slips.

 

11. Strata (Jonathan Bates)

Tight as a drum to open and the solo contributions are all bold in the tranquil section - not all in tune though. Cornet section seems to be at odds with itself occasionally in Var I and this impacts on the overall picture. Var II is well-appointed musically, but the error count continues to rise. Solo horn is the pick of the soloists. Var III just threatens to get ahead of itself at times and the horn and cornet interjections become quite frantic as a result. Some moments of discomfort for soloists in Var IV, although the horn solo was one of the best of today. Nicely into Var V, where the cornets aren’t quite all together. It stays strong to the end though. A good effort overall but another with just too many fraught moments to figure highly for us.

 

10. Hebden Bridge (David Hamilton)

Opening has spirit but the overall precision is lower than the standard of the day. Quite a few splits and splashes in the tranquil section and into Var I, where the cornet tuning is very suspect at times. Good attempt at the proper dynamics in Var II but again the overall security suffers. Var III feels like an appropriate tempo for the music but the band really is on the edge of its limits (or beyond…) here. We love the solo horn’s sound in Var IV - very rich. This is proving tough for the band to keep together though and it becomes rather disjointed at times, especially in the final two variations. Not one we think will thrive today but plenty to build upon.

 

9. Skelmanthorpe Prospect (Philip Garlick)

A battle between the two Skelmanthorpe bands in prospect here. Could be fascinating! Well-shaped opening. There is perhaps less precision in the ensemble than some of the earlier bands but the overall sound is good and Var I is well delivered all round - perhaps just a bit narrow in dynamic range. Var II doesn’t feel quite so comfortable, with tuning and confidence issues really coming to the forefront. Great work by the solo euphonium nearly gets it back on course. Tempo feels well-chosen in Var III and the horns and cornets dig in to deliver their technical contributions well. Var IV tests the band’s control and most of the players come through very well - again there are some less confident moments. Nicely gauged into Var V and the band works hard to press on to the end of a performance that gave us plenty of excellent sections but could lose a few points for the insecure moments that kept appearing.

 

8. Old Silkstone (Dr. Owen Wedgwood)

 Not such a tight opening as we’ve heard today, while the sound is less cohesive at times. Var I well-handled all round and we like the opening of Var II - excellent flugel solo and the euphonium excels. Off like lightning in Var III and it proves a test for horns and cornets. One or two ensemble problems in IV and the transition into V and beyond just feels rather fraught at times. Another good performance but it’s possibly just a step or two off the pace today for us. 

 

7. Chapeltown Silver (Sam Fisher) 

 As tight as any we’ve heard in the opening, while the solos in the tranquil section are all excellent. Var I is perfectly paced and delivered with both commitment and precision. The back-row cornet accompaniment in Var II isn’t always together and the solo lines just drop in confidence at times. Tempo well judged in Var III and the melodic line flows well around the band. Some of the accompaniment is less accurate though. Background is comfortable dynamically in Var IV and the soloists are all on top of it. Transition into Var V works a treat and the quality continues to the end with just the occasional loss of detail in the cornets. Another good one! 

 

6. Wakefield Metropolitan (Richard Larder)

Opening has an abundance of energy but there are some intonation issues and some blips in the tranquil section that follows. Var I is well measured for tempo and dynamics, and the ensemble remains precise throughout. More intonation problems at the start of Var II and not all the solos go strictly to plan. Very nice euphonium solo gets it back on track but Var III is a notch too fast for the cornets and horns. We like the horn solo in IV and he is backed up ably by the other soloists. Switch from IV to V works well and we like the clarity in the cornet sound that follows. Yet another good performance overall, but there were just too many minor flaws for it to get near the top for us.

 

5. Skelmanthorpe (Martin Heartfield)

Tight in the opening if slightly heavy-handed in style. Var I continues in the same vein. Few risks taken at the start of Var III but again it is confident and secure. Soloists all do well and the soprano is the undoubted star - top-class playing there. Euphonium is confident too but there is a constant feeling that the background is a notch higher than it could be. Untidy opening to Var III, which feels just too fast for comfort for the horns and cornets. Excellent work from the solo horn in Var IV and the energy increases well into V. It remains strong to the end of another good show that just lost some of its quality in the faster variation.

 

4. Hade Edge (Jonathan Beatty)

Not quite so precise in the opening ensemble and this continues in Var I. Some very fine individual sounds around and the conductor has them all gelling very well as a band. It’s just falling short in terms of precision in the more technical passages. Good opening to Var II and we like the flugel horn sound and the euphonium is outstanding in his extended solo. Var III feels more sedate than we’ve heard so far, but the reward is clarity and it is well handled around the band. Beautifully handled opening to Var IV, where the horn solo is very tasty indeed. Some of the following accompaniment threatens to get over-excited and the overall quality drops slightly as it moves into Var V. Another good one that possibly just got a bit tired towards the end.

 

3. Stannington (Derek Renshaw)

Excellent opening and we hear classy horn and euphonium sounds. Var I feels just right for style and delivery. Great use of dynamics too. Atmosphere is suitably eerie at the start of Var II and it’s all in pace, even if some of the solo work is slightly lacking in confidence. We loved the euphonium though. Var III really comes to life and the semiquaver work around the stand is terrific. Var IV not quite so confident all the way through and although the transition into V is well paced it seems to have lost some of the pristine quality in the sound heard earlier. A very good performance overall though.

 

2. Lindley (Robert Westacott)

Opening is tight and the solo lines that follow are almost all pristine. Lovely horn and euphonium sounds. Ensemble isn’t absolutely precise through Var I and there is a hint of uncertainty at the start of II. Terrific soprano solo and the young euphonium soloist shows a lot of quality, as does the solo horn (again). Tempo in Var III feels about right for the band and the music, plus we can hear proper semi-quavers. An air of insecurity at the start of Var IV but the soloists all dig in and hold it together. Well-measured transition into V and the drama builds through to the final bars. An excellent show, even if the final note just went slightly over the top.

 

1. Knottingley Silver (Kevin Belcher)

Opening is tight and dynamic, with just a hint of poor intonation as it moves into Var I. There is a feeling of aggression when the band is at full flow. Everything is going in the right pace, however, and solo contributions are all secure. Some strained sounds in Var II could impact negatively. We loved the euphonium solo though and the bottom end of the band in general is very good. Not hanging around in Var III and for the most part it is very well delivered, with great work from the cornet section especially. Var IV feels less comfortable at times and the transition into the final movement seems to lose precision. A committed finish to a performance that had much to offer but just dropped in quality very occasionally.

 

Draw

1. Knottingley Silver (Kevin Belcher)

2. Lindley (Robert Westacott)

3. Stannington (Derek Renshaw)

4. Hade Edge (Jonathan Beatty)

5. Skelmanthorpe (Martin Heartfield)

6. Wakefield Metropolitan (Richard Larder)

7. Chapeltown Silver (Sam Fisher)

8. Old Silkstone (Dr. Owen Wedgwood)

9. Skelmanthorpe Prospect (Philip Garlick)

10. Hebden Bridge (David Hamilton)

11. Strata (Jonathan Bates)

12. Drighlington (Tommy Tynan)