BATTLE OF THE TITANS - Bands gear up for a titanic battle at the Royal Albert Hall

Issue 6016

COMPOSERS' CORNER - Dr Liz Lane looks at the subject of  networking 

HERE IS THE NEWS - Looking back at the Daily Herald's Nationals sponsorship

North West Regional Championships - Championship Section LIVE!

Friday 22 February, 2019

Results are in!:

1. Foden's (Russell Gray)**
2. Leyland (Thomas Wyss)*
3. Pemberton Old Wigan DW (Ben Dixon)*
4. Fairey (Garry Cutt)
5. Wardle Anderson Brass (Sean Conway)
6. Milnrow (Dennis Hadfield)
7. TCTC Group (Jef Sparkes)
8. Wingates (Paul Andrews)
9. Oldham (Lees) (John Collins)
10. VBS Poynton (Stig Maersk)
11. Ashton-Under Lyne (Philip Chalk)
12. Freckleton (John Pearson)

** Foden's pre-qualified for National Final
* Qualify for National Final

Best Percussion: Foden's Band

 

Results Predictions:

That concludes todays offering, and a varied and interesting contest it was. As for results the middle of the section could be wide open but I think there is a clear winner. Plenty to test bands here, some tests were passed admirably, other sank.

But to hedge some bets:

  1. Foden's (by a considerable margin)
  2. Wingates
  3. Fairey
  4. Leyland
  5. Pemberton
  6. Milnrow (but maybe TCTC)

 

Band No.12 Milnrow (Dennis Hadfield)

This music really lilts, and the ideas are reasonably convincing. Some large sounds appear out of the band which are on occasion affected by intonation troubles (although no band has been perfect).  As the first movement closes it’s a little on the heavy side, although the final Andante has space. The second movement has momentum, but intonation issues are still distracting from this performance. A very similar story as we journey through the last movement. There are some real ensemble issues here at times, and tuning continues to be an issue. There’s much in this performance to be admired but at times the problems are obvious. When it’s good it’s very good, but when it’s not it really isn’t. Something for the judges to really consider though. 

 

Band No.11 Wardle Anderson Brass (Sean Conway)

A nice confident opening which lilts very musically, and plenty of colour on display at the allegro. There’s no holding back here, and they’re really going for it! The second movement opens warmly, but a few intonation issues creep in, but it doesn’t really detract from this performance. The final movement is really quite exciting, although we do hear some stamina issues, but it builds to an exciting conclusion with some excellent cymbal work! This performance probably won’t bother the very top contenders but it will certainly give the adjudicators something to think about.

 

Band No.10 Fodens (Russel Gray)

Great sounds to open, very rich dark playing, a pleasure to listen to. We’re in safe hands here, but never a dull moment. They find dynamics and colours that few have yet achieved. The second movement has tonnes of space to really breath and it’s paying off. This is a real performance, and the phrases melt into one another. We’re really sailing now. Fantastic pyramid of sound from the bases as well before the close. And into the final movement, this really goes! Edge of the seat stuff, the tranquillo has real poise and an exciting finish. That’ll take some beating today.

 

Band No.9 Leyland (Thomas Wyss)

Some lovely opening colours with some fine playing on display here. Although the players could be allowed more time here to do their thing! This is apparent at the beginning of the second movement, an unfortunate slip in the cornet part where a bit more time might have prevented this – let’s hope they can recover quickly! And they do mostly, some lovely euphonium work on display! This last movement is traveling at some pace, but a clip here and there unfortunately takes some of the shine off. Sop and Cornet at fig 7 are excellent, probably the best we’ve heard so far today. Poco stringendo is electric. This is an interesting one. So much to offer, but also some risks that didn’t quite come off. Watch this space but don’t book hotels in London just yet.

 

Band No.8 Oldham (Lees) (John Collins)

The opening ensemble works well but having to wait for a later draw has perhaps meant instruments are cold. Tuning really suffers in the quieter dynamics. However, as we warm up it all becomes much more convincing and the band finds its stride. The louder chords are helping people hear one another better. As we enter the slow movement the softer dynamics are proving taxing. That being said, there’s an interesting musical line to be found here with some charmingly lyrical playing. There is some nice confident playing here in the last movement with some bold chords at the end.

 

Band No.7 Pemberton Old Wigan DW (Ben Dixon)

A wonderful opening note to start, with some lovely warm colours. Although as the music progresses it’s not always balanced and the occasional inaccuracies creep in. A similar story here with second movement, some lovely music making here and the band clearly enjoy it, but in a contest attention to detail is key and some intonation issues may cost down the line. The last movement has found a real energy and the allegro moderato hangs together nicely. There is some real stuff to be admired here in the poco stringendo. What a lovely band sound to close. Overall a very good account that grew in stature as the music progressed. Could it tickle the top? Who knows, but it’s worthy of merit.

 

Halfway Predictions

It's been an enjoyable afternoon so far with some interesting renditions of the Ray Steadman Allen classic. This music has really tested every band with no-body coming out completely unscathed.

So far I'm going for

Wingates, just pipping it over Fairey, with TCTC in tow. 

 

Band No.6 TCTC Group (Jef Sparkes)

A nice opening but some of the ensemble isn’t always ship shape unfortunately, however the MD’s clear direction see’s them through it. They seem to have found their mojo again at the allegro and this is no holds barred stuff. The second movement isn’t always in-tune (this is proving tricky for all bands so far today) but the band really do find the beauty within the music and bravo cornet duet! The final movement here is making real demands of the players, some are met, others are not but it’s mostly convincing. At figure 11 the pesante is certainly heavy, but it really works with when contrasted with the tranquillo. Overall a good performance, sometimes a little bold but occasionally that can pay off. 

 

Band No.5 Wingates (Paul Andrews)

The opening takes one or two bars to settle but the picture quickly comes back into focus, and some fine band colours can be found. Wow this music has real zip and bounce at the Allegro furioso, perhaps the dynamics are a little ambitious but its exciting to be sure. Super in-tune chord to finish, can really hear those open fifths! The second movement is wonderfully musical and probably the most convincing so far, super trombones before fig. 4. The Allegretto really dances and we have a lovely last few bars that finds a quiet peace! The last movement really bobs along, and is enjoyable to listen to, when we get to the allegro moderato, there are a few individual slip ups that may cost in the long run. The ending has real energy and is jovial, and some real fine playing to close. Overall a great rendition and one that the band should be proud of.

 

Band No.4 Ashton-Under Lyne (Philip Chalk)

This begins at a steady pace, perhaps too steady and cautious? This music asks a lot from any player and these challenges aren’t always met convincingly during the first movement unfortunately. Many of the same challenges are apparent here in the second movement also, however the last few bars are quite magical! The opening of the final movement is much more convincing, however as we head into the allegro, the ensemble isn’t always as tight as it could be. Lovely Bass solo though at the quietamente and a great timpani sound to close. Overall a fine effort, however this music perhaps got the better of them on occasion. Although timpanist and principle Eb bass shone through as star players.

 

Band No3. Freckleton (John Pearson)

The opening here is well measured and contained, and at times very rhythmical, the balance with percussion is very good! Some excellent playing into the louder sections. This music is buoyant and has life to it – a sensitive end to close, lovely stuff. The second movement has some enjoyable musical ideas painted within, however some of the technical demands mean that sometimes it isn’t always perfectly in-tune. The close of the music is well balanced, however there are quite a few major intonation issues. The last movement is clearly a challenge here, but Sop and solo cornet do very well at fig. 7! Some fine playing to the close, however this music has been a real challenge for this band, but an admirable effort none the less.

 

Band No2. Fairey (Gary Cutt)

A warm opening, with all dynamics very well balanced, and attention to detail, the allegro is very exciting, and atmospheric to close. The slow movement has a lovely shape to it, there are a few intonation errors here, but they are few and far between and don’t really detract from the performance. The final movement has bundles of energy and some great euphonium playing adds to the excitement, which gathers even more momentum seeing us through to the end. A thoroughly energised and musical account that was well appreciated by the audience here in Blackpool. 

 

Band No1. VBS Poynton (Stig Maersk)

Lovely Opening to begin and has a lovely balanced sound. Some thunderous bass drum playing towards the end of the first movement! The second movement is well shaped and swims along nicely, however sometimes the tuning is not always perfect. (But overall is good). The few bars of the slow movement are wonderfully sonorous. The final movement sets off at a good pace and has momentum to it. The louder bits here cover some of the detailed cornet work which is a shame, but it is upbeat and lively. A great chord to close what was a very convincing performance and a great number 1 marker to start this afternoon.

 

North West Regional Championships - Championship Section LIVE!

Test Piece: Seascapes – Ray Steadman Allen

Adjudicators: Howard Evans and Sheona White

Alex Webb reports from Winter Gardens, Blackpool