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 - Third Section

Friday 28 February, 2020

Third Section:

Adjudicators: Jonathan Pippen & Glyn Williams

Matt Rowe reporting

Results:

1. Seindorf Beaumaris (Clive Zwanswiniski)*
2. Usk (James Jones)*
3. Briton Ferry Silver (Jeff Pearce)
4. Gwaun Cae Gurwen (Robert Burnett)
5. Mellingriffith 2 (Martyn Ford)
6. RAF St Athan Voluntary (Alan Bourne)
7. Ynyshir (Dean Evans)
8. Severn Tunnel (Dan Dennis)

*Qualify for National Final

Best Instrumentalist: Katherine Gaunt (baritone) — Seindorf Beaumaris

 

Predictions:

A real mixed bag of a contest that. Some bands that really got a lot not only technically, but musically out of this and some that really struggled today. It has to be said, this is a very stern test for the 3rd section today. We felt the top 2 were a bit of a step ahead (Beaumaris were excellent) with a battle for 3rd place between 3 or 4 bands.

1 - Beaumaris

2 - Usk

3 - Gwaun Cae Gurwen

 

8 - RAF At Athan Voluntary (Alan Bourne) 

Some risks taken dynamically to start, some work but there are a few too many inconsistencies to get off to a blinding start. Baritone is very bold in approach, but there are some major intonation problems unfortunately. It all needs a bit more style injected too, the dance is sitting a bit flat. The stately music doesn't quite have that pompous poise, and has a tendancy to get a little disjointed in ensemble. Lovely delicate contribution from soprano, but the following music doesn't quite have the level of precision needed to really tick. Great work from the back row in the driving sections, really injecting a great level of energy. This is some of the best playing in the performance so far and it continues in good fashion too. Duets are generally well handled, with well executed solo lines. Leading towards the cornet solo  the chords are well balanced, but don't sit well in tune so the picture is somewhat spoiled. Lovely approach to the cornet solo, followed by good solo Horn. As the band tires, the ending is feeling a bit forced and the intonation really rubbing now. 

Overall:

Another band that found the going a bit tough today. Plenty of good work with the soloists as we have heard for the majority of the day so far, but intonation really got in the way. It all just needed that bit more style and swagger too. 

 

7 - Severn Tunnel (Daniel Dennis) 

An uncomfortable opening, despite a great Flugel. Everything is in its place, but it is so quick that the dancing feel is not apparent. Great sop, but so much detail is lost here. You just have the feeling this all needs so much more space to completely work. It doesn't quite have the same ensemble focus that we have heard so far today, it just doesn't quite sit comfortably between cornets and duets. Well done solo euphonium, but the following exposed entries have some nerves creeping in. The chords leading to the cornet solo all just needs to connect up more. When the chords do balance it is really lovely playing, but it is just a tad inconsistent. Well played solo cornet. The ending doesn't quite come off.

Overall:

This was a piece that just uncovered some difficulties today. This is an incredibly tough piece it must be said. Plenty of good work from Daniel Dennis working with a young band, but it just didn't quite tick today despite a great solo euphonium.

6 - Melingriffith 2 (Martyn Ford)

Risks taken with the dynamics to start, but it is also uncomfortable with the intonation. Great flugel contribution. As this moves into the dance, it all just needs that bit more of a lilt and swagger to bring it to life, but all of the exposed intricate lines are boldly played and executed. 

The stately music has a lovely style to it to start, but it just starts to run away and loses its sense of poise. Great sop, but this is just getting quicker and quicker and losing cohesion as a result of this. The faster driving music has a lovely ritmico feel to it to start, but once again it's just speeding up and losing some control. The duet section is well negotiated, with great solo Trombone. Well done flugel too, this whole section is showing the band at their best. Well done solo Euphonium, lovely space to this. The lead to the cornet section is well handled, just with the odd splashy moment. Solo Cornet is bold in approach, but very well played and progresses very well. The back row are very present in the texture in the build to the louder moments, maybe too much so as the fortissimo becomes a bit of a surprise! You just feel this needs a little more flow and sustain to make a full impact, but a well well handled ending.

Overall:

One that had plenty of good moments, but struggled to dive into the nitty gritty of the stylistic nuances of this piece. Some brilliant solo work, just some intonation issues and hints of rushing away tempo-wise, but plenty to commend here.

5 - Beaumaris (Clive Zwanswiniski)

Atmospheric opening, so well directed with lovely little textures appearing. Just some intonation issues here are there, but when the moves into the dances it has such a lovely feel to it and all of the detail is so apparent. The basses are so well balanced and a fantastic contribution from sop. Perc have a tendancy to be a touch strong in this acoustic, but a quality start there. The stately music is brisk, but maintains such a lovely character. This is such great direction it has to be said, the longer lines are so well connected and it all just makes so much more sense. Bravo! There is so much menacing energy here, such a well blended and balanced sound which is fully sustained and in tune. Beautiful trombone playing, joined so well by the flugel. All of this duet section has so much space, with all soloists playing with so much confidence and artistry. Bravo Euphonium, lovely stuff. The lead to the cornet solo is so beautifully phrased, we have some magic here! Followed by brilliant solo Cornet with such a warm tone, and the sounds that follow are majestic and warm. This is a band that have confidence flowing through their veins, and my goodness it's paying off. The ending is so well handled.

Overall:

Stunning playing from Beaumaris, which jumps straight to the top spot for me. This had so much style and character, with brilliant soloists. One that will take quite a bit of beating we suspect, congratulations MD and band.

4 - Briton Ferry (Jeff Pearce)

A solid, if dynamically healthy opening. It's confident playing, but just lacking that atmosphere that we have heard previously today. There are moments of uncomfortable intonation and execution, but also brilliant contributions from the Soprano. The loud music is loud, but does have a tendancy to not allow the more intricate parts to come through. Great close before the driving music kicks in again. Great sop once again, but it is just lacking that menacing energy with still moments of intonation rubbing on the ear. The slower music exposes a few problems in the duet lines, but once again a great solo euphonium. The lead into the cornet section feels very uncomfortable and gets a little 'lumpy', but well played cornet. 

The two on percussion are providing some brilliant effects and looking to be enjoy themselves with it, great to see! The ending is bold, but just gets a bit untuneful. 

Overall:

It felt like a bit of a struggle today for Briton Ferry. When the music was louder it was more comfortable, but just a few too many nerves and inconsistencies to make a big mark today.

 

 

3 - Ynyshir (Dean Evans)

A few uncomfortable moments to start, but the flugel plays with such character and style. The intonation issues are quite present in the mix of the band, and whilst played with good accuracy mostly, the music is just missing the lilt that it so requires. The stately section is certainly quicker than what we have previously heard, but it does work well although losing that pompous character. This is moving towards the best playing we have heard from the band so far, warm and well blended. 

The driving music is just a bit disjointed and dynamically very healthy. Lovely Solo Euphonium, but the intonation and balance issues do progress within the band. Well done Solo Cornet. Great work from percussion and some lovely shaping from MD, the pacing is so nicely done. Some fantastic bass sounds to close. 

Overall:

A slightly inconsistent one from Ynyshir today. Some lovely little moments shaped by MD Dean Evans, with some great solo contributions, but intonation proved to be problematic throughout and some inconsistencies in execution of the technical work. This is a stern test however, and the band handled these challenges well with plenty of young players scattered through. Well done! 

 

2 - Usk (Jamie Jones)

The opening is dynamically healthier, but there is so much confidence in the flugel and baritone lines, it makes for a wonderful start to this performance. There is so much style and character brought out of this from the middle, it is so exciting and sounds so easy as a result. Not without its slight moments of discomfort, but they are slight and it does not detract. So much control and precision from the stately music, with great contributions from Sop. This band has such a warm vibrant sound, singing through the longer lines to make this so alive. 

This then turns to such a dark texture, with such well blended sounds and some fantastic percussion effects brought out here, well played all. The exposed moments have a few intonation problems between soloists, but all so confidently played. Super Solo Euphonium, some risks taken in dynamic which pay off so well. The sounds before the cornet solo are beautiful, so controlled and warm whilst having such a great flow to the music. Bravo solo cornet, a lovely bit of playing that! The MD is ensuring this music moves is moving forward, it pays off big time. When the sounds open, it is still so wonderfully played with majestic sounds which continue to the conclusion.

Overall: 

Excellent show from Usk today. All soloists played with such artistry and control, with such a warm, balanced band sound. Excellent interpretation and work on stage from MD Jamie Jones. Early in the day, but would not be surprised to see that feature in the upper end of the results at the end of the day. 

 

 

1 - Gwaun Cae Gurwen (Robert Burnett)

An eerie opening, well balanced in textures and some risks taken in the lower dynamics with lovely contributions from Flugel and Baritone. There are slight intonation rubs to start, but the sound is so well warm and blended with lovely little details brought out. It has such a nice lilting feel, just the occasional snag detracts but this has such a clear picture laid out. The more stately music could benefit from slightly more rhythmic precision, but the style is clear. The band are showing a great dynamic range without the sound quality becoming effected. 

The bass section are really showing their sound here, it works so well in this hall. However as this is progressing, it is just losing some of the precision of the early work with some more intricate work not quite coming off and intonation becoming more problematic. Lovely contribution from Solo Euphonium, bravo! The blended sounds leading to the cornet solo are so beautifully controlled and balanced, it created a great moment before another great solo contribution from Solo Cornet. When the sounds open up, they are big that's for sure but it does get slightly imbalanced and a few errors do creep in. This leads to a well directed, but slightly tired ending.

Overall:

A good solid marker from GCG and Robert Burnett. There were brilliant solo contributions (especially Cornet and Euphonium) and such a full band sound, but the intonation rubs and unforced errors became higher as the piece progressed through the slower movements. A brilliant marker however, on an incredibly tough test piece it has to be said! 

 

Draw:

1 - Gwaun Cae Gurwen

2 - Usk

3 - Ynyshir

4 - Briton Ferry

5 - Seindorf Beaumaris

6 - Mellingriffith 2

7 - Severn Tunnel

8 - RAF At Athan Voluntary

 

Beaumaris (Clive Zwanswinski)
Briton Ferry (Jeff Pearce)
Gwaun Cae Gurwen (Robert Burnett)
Melingriffith 2 (Martyn Ford)
RAF St Athan Voluntary (Alan Bourne)
Severn Tunnel (Daniel Dennis)
Ynyshir (Dean Evans)
Usk (Jamie Jones)