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Issue 6110

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Vaughan Williams album on the horizon

Thursday 9 September, 2021

A new album celebrating the brass band repertoire of Vaughan Williams is to be released – and it will comprise a star-studded line-up.

Vaughan Williams on Brass will bring together a trio of works the English composer wrote for the brass band medium. The recording will mark the 150th anniversary of his birth in 2022, and will be performed by Tredegar Town Band, based in south Wales. Its musical director Ian Porthouse will be joined by Martyn Brabbins, music director of English National Opera, marking Maestro Brabbins’ eagerly awaited return to the medium in which he first made a youthful musical mark as a euphonium player.

The soloist in the Vaughan Williams Tuba Concerto (1954), arranged by Phillip Littlemore, will be multi award-winning tubist Ross Knight, pictured above. Brought up and educated in Scotland, Ross was a member of the Carnoustie and District Youth Band, is a former BBC Radio 2 Young Brass Musician of the Year and a graduate of the prestigious Berlin Philharmonic Academy. He is principal tuba of the acclaimed Suisse Romande Orchestra based in Geneva.

Speaking about the project, producer Paul Hindmarsh said: “Vaughan Williams was a late convert to brass bands. He composed the Shakespearian overture Henry V at the age of 60 and it was a further 20 years before, in his 80s, he wrote for brass band again. In 1953, RVW was captivated by the expressive sound and musical conviction of the International Staff Band of The Salvation Army and agreed to write something for them. Prelude on Three Welsh Hymn Tunes was the result. Four years later his masterpiece, Variations, was commissioned for the 1957 National Brass Band Championships of Great Britain.”

Vaughan Williams on Brass is due for release in September 2022.