ARCHIE AND THE ALL-STARS - Cornet prodigy, 7, records with celebrity ensemble

Issue 6048

GLIMMER OF HOPE - 'Possible' for small groups to rehearse, confirms BBE

THE WORK OF A HEAVYWEIGHT - Professor Stephen Allen lifts lid on Ralph Vaughan Williams

Scottish Championships - 3rd Section LIVE!

Saturday 10 March, 2018

3rd Section

Test-piece: Napoleon on the Alps (Philip Harper)

Saturday 10 March

Pre-drawn (commences following 2nd Section results)

Adjudicators: Paul Holland and Michael Alcorn                       

Dave Kinross reporting



1. Newmains and District (Michael Marzella) 97*

2. Selkirk Silver (Stuart Black) 95*

3. Perthshire Brass (George D. Annan) 94

4. Langholm Town (Chris Shanks) 93

5. Brass Sounds Inverclyde (Chris Mansfield) 91

6. Dysart Colliery (Kenneth Letham) 90

7. Buckhaven and Methil Miners (David Neil) 89

8. Dunfermline Town (Andy Shaw) 88

9. MacTaggart Scott Loanhead (Craig Savage) 87

10. Peebles Burgh (Peter Holmes) 86

Best Instrumentalist: Anna Linzi, cornet, Newmains and District

* denotes qualification for National Finals


In the BB Frame

1. Newmains and District (Michael Marzella)

2. Brass Sounds Inverclyde (Chris Mansfield)

3. Perthshire Brass (George D. Annan)

4. Langholm Town (Chris Shanks)

5. Selkirk Silver (Stuart Black)

6. Buckhaven and Methil Miners (David Neil)

Dysart Colliery (Kenneth Letham)

Dysart have a positive start just marred by some inner band intonation. There is a nice broad sound to the band though. Kenny Letham leads the band with passion and is drawing the music from his players. Bass section gives a good foundation to the soloists who all play well.  Percussion is not always together with band. The cornet solo is handled very well. Dynamic contrast is also very good. Just gets a little untidy and intonation issues creep back in but recovers well. An excellent marker for the 3rd Section here and Scotland.

Selkirk Silver (Stuart Black)

It’s a tidy opening by the Borderers and the music is being allowed to speak. Some slight intonation issues but they don’t detract too much from the overall picture. Rhythmically this is on point and it skips along with the dynamics balanced and controlled. There’s a real military feel to this and the style you feel is just right. Another fine cornet cadenza is delivered and there is a good feel to close. Goes into the lead for us.

Peebles Burgh (Peter Holmes)

Some good work in the opening is marred by some poor intonation in the cornets. When it settles though the shaping of the sounds works well. Not all of the solo lines are entirely clean and the intonation challenges creep into the Maestoso. The muted tutti cornets work well and the cornet cadenza is delivered bravely. Some nice interchanges with the cornet and flugel into U is underpinned by tight percussion. Heading to the finale there are good dynamic contrasts and the ensemble is tight.

MacTaggart Scott Loanhead (Craig Savage)

Not entirely clean in the basses to begin but there’s good detail in the cornet triplets. Good block chords at H but the tuning suffers shortly after. The solo lines are well accompanied into L. Into M it’s not always together but the cadenza is played with confidence. “Onwards to the Empire” begins well and this is MacTaggart’s best playing of the day. Good percussion accompanies the light flugel and euphonium and this is followed by tight ensemble into the listesso. A performance that grew in stature closes well. Intonation may keep this slightly behind the leader.

Langholm Town (Chris Shanks)

Light and menacing basses with some fine cornet work starts this well. Trombones and middle of the band deliver cleanly into the legato section and there’s good work in the block chords with big balanced sounds into the Lento Eroica. Some slight intonation niggles settle quickly and the dissonant chords are well balanced. Some of the solo lines aren’t altogether secure but the euphonium line is well done. The cornet cadenza is the first of the day to have real space and it works well. The Come Prima has the same menacing feel, this is a good reading by the MD. Once again, intonation is a slight issue in the Marziale but this dissipates. Tight sounds and good balance to close. This was a good one but we wonder if some of the tuning issues will allow it to stay at the top come the end.

Newmains and District (Michael Marzella)

Good start from last year’s 4th Section National champions will a solid bass line and percussion accompaniment. Classy cornet and euphonium into the Lento Eorica, this is impressive stuff with no intonation issues to be concerned about. The solo interchange at K is played with great style from cornet,  horn and euphonium. The Allergando into the Maestoso is fantastic with the MD giving the music room to come alive. The muted cornets before the cornet cadenza not quite together but the playing it hands over to is the best of the day. Menacing basses into Q and the upper band takes over with great accuracy. This is the performance we have been waiting for to make a real statement, it’s not without it’s clips but it’s exciting and the work on the dynamics and balance towards the end. The bar is raised!

Dunfermline Town (Andy Shaw)

An opening that isn’t all together but it soon settles, however there are a few tuning issues coming to the fore. The transition into the triplet section is well handled and the detail is heard. The Allergando suffers similar tuning problems but it settles soon after. The closing section is exciting but there have been a few too many issues to feature today.

Perthshire Brass (George D. Annan)

A good opening section with some lyrical individual contributions. The detailed work in the cornets comes across well and the block chords are followed by good fp effects. Good controlled playing from the solo cornet into the Lento and the MD allows this section some freedom of expression, this is good stuff. Some slight tuning issues in the back row surface but the soloists that follow play with good style. The intonation in the Maestoso is rubbing which is a shame as the reading is very musical majestic playing into the Poco Meno is followed by a well played cadenza into the Come Prima. The cornets in the Marziale are tight and the intonation issues that were evident previously aren’t now. Exciting close and a good performance from the home team.

Buckhaven and Methil Miners (David Neil)

Good sounds to open but it gets slightly untidy and there are some intonation rubs. It’s good work though into the Lento where the dynamic contrast is heard, the solo lines that follow are well delivered particularly in cornet and soprano. The Allergando is well controlled into the Maestoso and this is another reading that is looking to give the players room to express. Once more some tuning issues are evident in the upper lines and the middle of the band. The muted cornets before the cadenza are clean which hasn’t always been the case today. The cornet cadenza is one of the best of the day too and this one is growing in stature. The Marziale is well delivered and the close is a good one.

Brass Sounds Inverclyde (Chris Mansfield)

A little untidy to start but does settle and gives way to some nice sounds. Good playing from the flugel and cornet as the Lento builds. This is another where the MD is giving the music room. The middle of the band in particular is playing with real depth, balance and quality. The Maestoso is well played and there’s a sense of style into the cornet cadenza which is delivered well. The Come Prima is delicately accompanied by the trombones and you can feel the composers desired intention of distance coming through. The Marziale is again stylish and you could state a case for this one forcing its way into qualification contention.