MAGNIFICENT SEVEN - Whitburn claims historic seventh consecutive Scottish Open title

Issue 6119

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FOUNTAIN OF KNOWLEDGE - Brett Baker meets American music dynamo, Lee Harrelson

Review: Regionals 2022

Thursday 11 November, 2021

Regionals 2022 | Various bands | Various conductors | Doyen

 

Having missed out on the Regional contests this year, it’s with an added degree of excitement that we approach these important contests in 2022.

We recently heard the announcement of the test-pieces and congratulate the choice of music, appropriate for each section. Of added interest is the CD containing performances of these works. We all enjoy listening to these performances to hear how somebody else interprets each piece while, at the same time, knowing that conductors will each want to stamp their own personality on their contest day performance as well as demonstrating their own band's individual character.

Contest Music brings back happy memories of 1985 and the careful preparation we carried out at GUS in order to prepare our winning Regional contest performance. It's enigmatic music containing lots of areas of very sparse orchestration. Yorkshire Building Society Band (David King) performs the work with apparent ease, demonstrating immaculate attention to detail and carefully judged dynamic contrasts throughout. There is an essential poise in the first movement, nothing hurried, well-balanced unisons in the second as well as an outstanding performance of the huge cornet solo and, again, absolute precision in the finale building to an exciting conclusion.

Spectrum caused such a stir when it first appeared at the British Open in 1969 but is now considered to be well within the scope of many bands. So many First Section bands will have already enjoyed performing this wonderful music, a work with so many engaging rhythmic features as well as lovely lyrical moments. The performance here by Williams Fairey Engineering Band (Major Peter Parkes) is fortunate to have such a wonderful soprano player in the section entitled Green and stylish euphonium in the many solos for this instrument that occur throughout the work, as well as outstanding musicians throughout the ensemble.

The Aeronauts is so typical of Goff Richards’ outstanding skills in orchestration. Second Section bands will work hard to conquer the technical hurdles required in the fast-moving 12/8 sections (but not too fast, please) as well as enjoying the beautiful writing of the central section, all of which are accomplished so well by Foden’s Richardson Band (Garry Cutt) on Regionals 2022 Facets Of Glass makes us wish we had more original compositions from the pen of Gordon Langford but we know from his many fine arrangements that he certainly knows how to make a band sound impressive. This suite contains four relatively short movements, all requiring a different style, so wonderfully portrayed by Leyland Vehicles Band (Richard Evans) in this recording.

Argos features the one live performance on the CD and what a fine performance it is by Wardle Academy Youth Band (Lee Rigg). Bands in the Fourth Section will do well to encapsulate the grandeur of the first movement and the infectious vitality in the second, all captured brilliantly in this recording.

It remains for me to wish all the bands lots of enjoyable moments while rehearsing this music and best wishes for contest day. Some of these pieces are well-known but the secret will be to bring them to life with a fresh approach, which won't be difficult following the pandemic-imposed halt in our activities.

Keith Wilkinson

Programme: 5

Performance: 4

Overall Presentation: 5

Recording Quality: 4

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issue 6116 digital November 11, 2021