Creating a buzz at the National Youth Championships

Issue 5965

All the fun of the big event at Warwick University

BBC success for Isobel Daws and Thomas Nielsen

European stage awaits in Utrecht

Scottish Championships - 4th Section LIVE!

Sunday 11 March, 2018

4th Section

Test-piece: World Tour (Rodney Newton)

Sunday 11 March

Pre-drawn (commences 9.30am)

Adjudicators: Mark Wilkinson and Michael Alcorn                           

Dave Kinross reporting

An intriguing contest and it could be anyones, however we go for the musicality and tight ensemble of Highland with Mark Bell. Results after Section 4b.

In the BB Frame

1. Highland Brass (Mark Bell)

2. Kilmarnock Concert (Scott Walker)

3. Whitburn Heartlands (Ian Fleming)

4. Barrhead Burgh (David Henderson)

5. Callander Brass (Ian Milligan)

6. Penicuik Silver (Stuart Black)

Dundee Instrumental (Robert McDonald)

The band starts well with the back row couner melodies being heard well. In “Auld Lang Syne” the tuning suffers from some difficulty but it recovers well. Theres good style in the opening movement and you can depict the Besses ship making it’s way across the Atlantic. A slightly shaky to Chicago Rag but it picks up well and there’s good style on show. The semi quavers at the fourth bar of I causes the rim shot to be late but we feel that will be a bar that may be catching a few out. “Pacific Paradise” starts well with good solos in the main and there are a few tuning issues but the picture is good. Good start to the final movement and Matilda is waltzing with good style! The tempo’s throughout are on the steady side but they don’t feel out of context. A good marker to start the contest. 

Newland Concert (Paul McKelvie OBE)

It’s a good start and all the lines are heard. Going into Punchinello the tuning in the cornets is a little strained but the march is played in good style. “Chicago Rag” bounces along at a good tempo and technically everything is in place. The interaction between the lines are very good at the awkward semi quaver bar fits perfectly. In the opening of the third movement there’s some nervy moments and it affects the tuning however the style of the music is really nice. Well done back row for the really counter melody. This is a good reading of the movement by the MD and with some lovely sounds particularly in the middle of the band. Lovely sounding sop too. Not altogether convincing entries at the start of the last movement but it comes together well. Once into the opening theme the band plays with a big sound. The band give a fantastic account of themselves on their return to the contesting stage.

Queensferry Community Brass (James Anderson)

A strong opening but it’s rushing in the theme and it doesn’t all quite fit together. The cornets, however, make a good account of “Auld Lang Syne”. Punchinello rolls along at just the right tempo, very well measured. The Rag is taken up tempo and it has a couple of uneasy moments as it doesn’t always flow. Into the third movement and the soloists make good efforts at the varying lines but again it feels uneasy. The cornets play with nice style into the finale of the movement and it ends well. Good start to the last movement and the ensemble is rhythmically precise, this is the band’s best movement which moves to a good close.

Kilmarnock Concert (Scott Walker)

A good start which is well held together and is largely in tune. The style and approach is a good one and a star is born in the young timpanist! The start of the Rag is the best measured of the day and although it’s above tempo it makes sense still. It’s lovely music making at the start of the third movement by far the best of the day thus far. The MD is allowing the music time to breath. Some intonation issues just start to creep into the upper lines but the subtlties are winning for sure. The flugel and sop make good contributions and the horn does well as does the cornet. The dynamics are good to end the movement. The last movement starts at a good tempo but the MD takes a risk at adding 50% on to the one in the bar waltz. Good ensemble playing is again a feature as the piece heads back to Expansivo. This is a good one from Ayrshire and it takes the lead for us.

Forfar Instrumental (Terrence Jackson)

A fairly unevern start but it soon settles although there are some tuning rubs in evidence in the upper band. The tempo in the rag is a steady one and more faithful to the score with a good euphonium in evidence. Hats off to the lone percussionist for and for neat work in the difficult semi quaver passage. There are some insecurities in the opening to the slow movements and a wrong note in one of the intervals but there is some fine cornet work on display. The last movement starts well and moves into the Expansivo with some good sounds. Not one of the ones that will challenge at the top we feel but you have to admire the fortitude of bands to keep going into a contest with short numbers in the ranks. Bravo!

Callander Brass (Ian Milligan)

A pretty good start with some strong sounds but they’re not over the top and although there are some tuning issues they don’t really detract. It’s a bit of a scrappy start to the second movement but the tempo is as per the score and in the composer’s intent as he quotes Joplin’s “It is never correct to play ragtime fast”. The semi quavers are measured and it’s a good account. The third movement opens with lovely soloists and the music is well shaped by the MD. Not for the first time today the accidentals at K give some difficulty. The flugel again excels as does the horn, cornet. Great care is being taken in the lower dynamics and this is good music making. The fourth movement is very steady and the trombones aren’t always together but the cornet contribution is good. The waltz goes off at well above the marked tempo and as it settles back into the opening Expansivo there is good sounds again on show. A good account from Callander.

Hawick Saxhorn (David Robb)

A solid start although there are some tuning issues at the top end of the band. The transition into Punchinello is a good one in terms of rock solid tempo and dynamics. At the back end of the movement the tuning seems to settle a little to a strong close. The start of the Rag is a little uncertain but the tempo and feel of the music is a good one. The euph plays well with a good sound as does the flugel. The third opens with some good playing in horn and trombone. Bravo the young back row in the counter melody. There’s some nerves in evidence which is a shame because it’s well shaped. Well done horn again. The last movement opens at a good tempo with a good build up and the trombone theme is the best of the day.  Into the Expansivo, a consequence of tiredness is strained intonation but this has been a good account from the young borderers.

Barrhead Burgh (David Henderson)

Perhaps the best start of the day, the tempo is very quick but Punchinello is also notched up so it does make sense. Also one of the first bands of the day where tuning doesn’t suffer in The National Anthem. The start of “Chicago Rag” is similarly tidy with a good euph and cornet motif. It does rush a little but the flugel does particularly well and I is handled well. Also it’s the first band to get the closing rhythm in the horns completely on point. A slightly nervy start to the third movement the MD is intent on making music but you feel that it’s on the heavy side dynamically. These concerns dissipate when we move through the movement and this is again a good account. The fourth starts strongly but the tuning has some slight challenges in the trombones. Again, the dotted minum = 60 is taken at a lick and you’d perhaps like the Expansivo to be given more room. A full band sound right throughout but maybe it asked for more of a delicate touch at times.

Highland Brass (Mark Bell)

A strong opening by the Highlanders with a strong ensemble and subtlety when required. Into Punchinello theres a few little tuning rubs coming through but the tempo is good. The start of the Rag works well and it’s a confident opening. This is right on the composers mark and although the band starts to drag the MD picks right up on it and it’s a tight ship once more. This is really good stuff form the band; very very stylish. The start of the third is a little nervy but it comes through largely unscathed. Through J the tuning in the cornets starts to suffer just a little but it’s a sympathetic reading from the MD. Nice sop, horn and suph continue things before handing on to the cornet who expresses well. The end dynamic is good and largely in tune. The opening to the final movement is precise with good trombones. The Waltz works well and the final Expansivo has that lilting feel. The trip back up the A9 will be a satisfying one you feel; takes the lead for us.

Whitburn Heartlands (Ian Fleming)

The opening to this is well measured and played at good tempo. The style in Punchinello is the best of the day with the euphonium line adding real quality. The upper end tuning suffers at the end but it’s a positive start. The Rag starts with a good steady feel and the suphonium cornet and flugel are of great quality. The bottom end of the band really underpins the upper effort. The best Rag thus far. Some slight frailties in the start of the third movement but the sounds are good when they speak. As we move through J and K, the tuning isn’t altogether what it could be but there are some sweet sounds particularly in soprano. Lovely controlled ending. The “Australian Walkabout” is played with some style and the trombones are good, Matilda certainly waltzes! Some great sounds from the bottom end and the middle of the band play with style too. Into the Expansivo the band plays with good majesty. It’s a good one from Whitburn Heartlands, perhaps the tuning in the slow movement and the lighter upper end may keep it away from the very top but it’s up there.

Stranraer Brass (Angela Miller)

Three cornets down but you wouldn’t think it with the good balance led by a good sop. The band is well directed and the sounds are all heard. A good opening. A steady approach to the Rag and there is a good lilt to the music.  The suph delivers well as does the cornet. This is a very young band but there are some real talents on show and stylistically there is lots to admire. In the slow movement some of the voices don’t speak as you would want but it is a sympathetic reading from the MD. In to the 4th there is sensibility from the MD and although the band gets understandably tired it’s been a good show.

Bon Accord Silver 'B' (Jennifer Cook)

Bold opening to Leaving of Liverpool. Intonation in the high Gs is not entirely settled but the sound is warm, sustained and well balanced. Good attention is paid to the lighter moments of Newton's score. Chords don't entirely speak together in the lead in to Punchinello and snare takes a few bars to join in. It regains composure and there's a confident end to Leaving of Liverpool. Chicago Rag is stately. Snare player forgets to turn snare on but gets there. The steady tempo works for large parts, but on occasions threatens to become a bit static. the semiquaver lines get a little scruffy in cornets but the movement is tight to close. Pacific Paradise opens confidently with assured soloists; only the slightest clips. This lacks flow at times and the legato lines could benefit from a blanket of air to connect everything together. Attention is paid to the small notes to open Australian Walkabout and this reading is underpinned by a strong, well balanced bass end. The top end tires towards the end, with sound quality dipping, which is a shame. An enjoyable performance which could have benefited from a little more direction to shape the phrases in Newton's score.

Penicuik Silver (Stuart Black)

A good opening account with a good balanced sound although there are some frailties in the tuning. The Rag goes off apace but it makes sense musically and the euph displays some good sounds along with cornet. The semi quavers aren’t rushed and they make sense. A rather lumpy start to the third but the soloists play with confidence and quality, the MD gives the music room to express and this pays dividends. There’s good balance in the ensemble and the delicacy comes across in delivery. A sweet sop interlude gives over to some nice middle band sounds and this is going along well. When the dynamics soften there are a few tuning rubs but the soli horn near the end is as sweet as there’s been today. A little grizzled in the opening to the final movement and the trombones play with clarity if not altogether in tune. The waltz moves nicely and the Expansivo has good style. A good account from Penicuik to round us off nicely.

Draw