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

2020 Regionals: Welsh - Fourth Section

Friday 28 February, 2020

Fourth Section:

Adjudicators: Nicholas Garman & Jonathan Pippen

Matt Rowe reporting:

Results:

1. Cwmtawe (Wayne Pedrick)*
2. Crosskeys Silver (Sion Rhys Jones)*
3. Seindorf Arian yr Oakeley (Paul Wilson MBE)
4. Buckley Brass (Steve Pugh-Jones)
5. Oakdale Silver (Kerry Bowden)
6. Northop (Aled Williams)
7. Ogmore Valley Silver (Danny Stone)
8. Newbridge Celynen (Geraint Barnes)

*Qualify for National Final

Best Instrumentalist: Heather Jones (cornet) — Buckley Brass
Youngest Player: Becca Hogg (Northop) — aged 10

 

 

Predictions:

Such an enjoyable start to the day today, with 8 hard working but successful performances. For us today there were 3 bands that really are pushing for those Cheltenham spots, with our stand out being Cross Keys.

1 - Cross Keys

2 - Cwmtawe

3 - Northop 

 

 

8 - Buckley (Steven Pugh-Jones)

Good solid opening, well balanced. Dynamically healthier than many we have heard today but it's warm. A few difficulties as it moves forward, this opening has proved to be quite tricky today! Great drive from percussion in the faster music, and that ticking clock effect is well handled again. Just some issues with intonation underlying this, but it has a great verve. Just a few issues getting into the second movement. Lovely solo cornet but the accompaniment just gets a little scratchy, minor things though. The balance between melody line and accompaniment is sometimes not quite achieved, the melody tends to get a little lost. Bell effects are well handled, but intonation again gets in the way. Good start to the 6/8 section, with great perc and euphonium. This progresses well, but the interjections are a bit of a mixed bag of hit and miss and it just loses its way in terms of ensemble cohesion. Big sounds towards the close, with lovely warmth in mid to upper dynamics. Good to close.

Overall:

Another great performance to conclude. Maybe, once again, too many intonation issues to push right at the top but very enjoyable stuff. 

7 - Seindorf Arian yr Oakeley (Paul Wilson)

 Lovely start to this, but it does get a bit uncomfortable in the bars to follow. Lovely energy in the faster music after a successful accelerando. The conductor is working hard to get the most of his band and there is a lovely energy to this. Percussion just has a tendancy to override the brass in the louder music. Bell effects are handled very successfully. The euph/basses just lose some warmth and it starts to sound a little nervous. Well done euphonium in solo. Intonation is starting to become a bit problematic, but there is such lovely shaping here. Some of the detail is lost at the start of the 6/8, but great flugel in the mix! Lots of good stuff here in the clarity of playing, but some of the interjections do struggle to quite come off. Hello bass trombone! This really does come to life now, big sounds so boldly portrayed. The following 6/8 is good but not totally comfortable. Good to close! 

Overall:

Solid showing here today, just a few too many intonation and ensemble issues to challenge higher up today. Mid-table we expect but this piece has really made this an interesting contest today. Bravo MD for the inspiring energy throughout! 

6 - Newbridge Celynen (Geraint Barnes)

Great to see Newbridge back on the contest stage! Light on players like the first band of the day, but small steps for big results and great to see bands returning. There is a warm band sound on display, just intonation proving to be problematic. Well handled percussion effects and some great stuff being put on display by MD Geraint Barnes, who is keeping good control of ensemble. This moves well into the second movement, solo so well delivered by principal cornet. It all just needs to blend a little more and it just doesn't quite sit together in the slower music. Good start to the 6/8 dance, sensible tempo choice. It just loses some of the precision as we progress with some of the tricky interjections proving to be a bit problematic. You can tell this has been put together well in the rehearsal room, but this has just let adrenaline take over and the control of ensemble has been lost.

Overall: 

Great effort from Newbridge and great to see them back on the contest stage. Just a few too many errors in execution today to push towards the top, but plenty to commend from the middle and around the stands. 

5 - Cross Keys (Sion Rhys Jones)

Atmospheric start, so well balanced between band and tuned percussion. Just a tendancy for the bass sounds to not stay consistently at pitch, but this has such a wonderful feel when the faster music has kicked in. The MD has brought so much out of this, and this is the best ensemble cohesion we have heard so far today. The percussion are keeping a tight rein on things, which works to great effect. Good quality start this with minor intonation issues. The balances are so well taken care of, beautiful flugel playing followed by excellent cornet. There are so many risks being taken by the band and they all pay of to great effect, it makes for some real magic. Beautiful stuff from the solo euphonium. Such a beautiful warm sound, and all of the bell effects are handled so well. Great change into the 6/8, cohesion is not an issue at all with great euph and perc to kick us off. All of the interjections are played with such conviction with great dynamic details and brilliant character from the middle. The smooth band sound is retained, this is top quality stuff right until the end. 

Overall:

One that will take some beating you have to say. Basic issues were minimal, with such an understanding of the score and subtle nuances required by MD. This is a band that have had some real troubles of late with the flooding taking its toll, but my goodness this was so well well prepared and executed with fantastic soloists. Bravo all! 

4 - Northop (Aled Williams) 

Great opening, such a vibrant sound. Some intonation issues do creep in in the following section, but there is an excellent accelerando into the first fast section. So much confidence here, lovely horns and some brilliant effects through the percussion (the clock ticking was brought out so well, not heard yet). Some parts just don't quite sit together as well as they could, with intonation still causing some problems. Lovely stuff from the euphs/basses and middle of the band, great sounds. Well done solo cornet, so beautifully shaped with a lovely sound. Lovely euphonium again, there is so much confidence in the solo lines here. Just loses focus of solid ensemble along the way, but the 6/8 settles so well. It just doesn't quite quite have that punchy energy that we have heard before, it just feels as though it is losing its way a touch. There is such strong playing around the stands but it just doesn't quite have the detail of the start of this performance. 

Overall: 

Another great performance here. Some of the best playing we have heard so far today, with brilliant soloists but it just lost its way in the 3rd movement. What a treat this contest has been so far! 

3 - Oakdale Silver (Kerry Bowden)

Confident start, but it then just loses its way momentarily in the ensemble and it doesn't quite settle between percussion and brass. There are some lovely singing sounds (bravo sop) but it doesn't quite sit comfortably. There is so much lovely playing, but it is quite dislodged unfortunately. Lovely touches from the euphonium and flugel before a great solo cornet. The MD is allowing this to flow in all of the right places, it makes for such an enjoyable interpretation. The sound is warm at the loudest dynamics, there are just consistent rubs with intonation throughout. Great pace to the 6/8 dances, well done percussion for keeping the drive. There is so much drama and energy here, with lovely details being brought out. It has just lost some tempo now, meaning some parts are not as together they could be. The sounds just all need to blend a touch more in the louder slow music, before a convincing ending. 

Overall:

Good stuff from Oakdale, plenty of great shaping from the middle and classy soloists. May be a few too many intonation issues and dislodged ensemble to really push for the top today, but certainly a strong showing with great musical intentions.

2 - Cwmtawe (Wayne Pedrick)

The opening has so much space and time, creating a lovely atmosphere. Just a few errors in execution, but this has such a lovely feel to the music. The band create such a warm sound led by a great bass section. There are just some intonation issues that surround some sections, but the playing is full of confidence and so rhythmically assured with great horns. The MD has so carefully kept a lid on the sound to keep it warm and balanced and allow the right details to come through. Beautiful shaping between trombone and flugel, before a lovely cornet solo (what a lovely sound). Well done solo horn and bravo solo euphonium. There is some seriously good musicianship from the middle here, drawing so much from the score. You can tell the band have enjoyed this piece! Such a lovely pulse and rhythmic security to the 6/8 dance, with so much technical accuracy. Percussion keep a lid on things so well, but enhance the performance so well. Some of the interjections are more successful than others, but the ensemble is generally tight and bringing the louder details so well off the page. The sound just gets a little inbalanced in the loud music, but there is so much energy and quality playing on show here.

Overall:

Great showing from Cwmtawe here. Such a young band, but so much maturity in the ensemble and solo playing. A good solid one to beat today, shaping up to be a good contest! 

1 - Ogmore Valley (Danny Stone)

A very young band, and with a few seats down start off the day with youthful vigour. There are intonation problems to start, but the horns sing so well through the first lines with nice little effects brought out from MD. The tuning is quite out around the stands, but there is such a lovely spirit to how this progresses with nice dynamic touches aided so well by the percussion. All of the lines could just benefit from some more air through the instruments just to for extra support. Solid solo cornet in the solo line, and special mention to the gentleman on Eb bass taking the whole bass line by himself today sat by the 2nd trombone, providing a lovely foundation. You have to say that if the tuning was more centred this would be a performance with plenty of lovely moments. Well done euphonium through the dancing section, the technique is well done from here on around the stands. We are hearing the best playing so far here from the band, sounds more comfortable. The band make a good sound despite the obvious gaps around the stands, this has been a good show of endeavour and effort. 

Overall:

A great endeavour from Ogmore to kick us off. Took to the stage with 14 brass and 2 percussion, and they had a great stab at this excellent piece. Obvious gaps and tuning issues that will be found in the box, but this was such an enjoyable performance it must be said. Bravo band and MD! 

Draw:

1 - Ogmore Valley

2 - Cwmtawe

3 - Oakdale Silver

4 - Northop

5 - Crosskeys Silver

6 - Newbridge Celynen

7 - Seindorf Arian yr Oakley

8 - Buckley

 

 

Buckley Brass (Steve Pugh-Jones)
Crosskeys Silver (Sion Rhys Jones)
Cwmtawe (Wayne Pedrick)
Newbridge Celynen (Geraint Barnes)
Northop (Aled Williams)
Oakdale Silver (Keri Bowden)
Ogmore Valley Silver (Danny Stone)
Royal Oakeley Silver (Paul Wilson MBE)