European Championships: A closer look at Carl Rutti's magnificent
test piece, Robert Childs and the Welsh band that hopes to do the
Buy As You View Cory Band
Robert childs biography
Montreux Wind Dances: Carl Rutti
Whoever at the European Brass Band Association made the decision
to ask Carl Rutti to compose the test piece for the 2001 Championships
should be made to get up on the stage and accept the grateful thanks
of all bandsmen and women around Europe – for his “Montreux Wind
Dances” is a quite brilliantly realised piece of musical composition.
We at 4BarsRest may not like everything the EBBA are doing, but
this is one of the best things they have ever done.
Broken into three distinct movements – fast, slow, fast – it is
an amazing collage of colours, timbres and textures interwoven with
subtlety and wit – a million miles away from the run of mill test
pieces most top class bandsmen get to perform year in year out.
Not only will this root out the very top class bands from the rest
of the field, the piece will give pleasure and satisfaction to listener.
The first section is entitled “Tree Dances” and evokes pictures
of gently swaying trees that progressively move, bend and change
shape as the tempo and complexity of the scoring increases. The
start is very (and I mean) very quiet with sparse chords linked
to the vibraphone and marimba, before the first of many subtle motifs
appear in reels of notes that imperceptibly change over the course
of the movement. It’s sparse and minimalist and quite beautiful,
with a lovely cornet solo, which is surrounded by echoes of birdsong.
A notable feature throughout the piece is the composer’s deliberate
instruction to the conductor to “realise” the colours, shapes and
textures for themselves, so that the music is just not an interpretation
of tempo and style but of the subtleties of music making. This will
catch a lot of bands out.
The second section is entitled “Lake Dances” and is perhaps musically
the most challenging section. Again it is the colours and timbres
that impress, even though the technical challenges are difficult
enough and reminds you of the music of Elgar Howarth. A lovely languid
trombone solo is repeated up to four times throughout the band,
but it is the underscoring of tapered motifs that accompany this
that is so beautifully realised. The composer invites the conductor
to realise his picture of a stone being dropped into a lake with
the resultant ripples moving out from the centre before finally
disappearing. It’s an idea that requires the conductor to employ
intelligence and musical thought – the tam tam is used to amazing
effect with different beaters for instance and the section is quite
The last section is the one that technically will sort the men
from the boys – the “Fire Dance”. Minim = 132 beats per minute –
that’s 264 crotchets to you and me and is reading that is off your
average metronome. To makes matters worse, there are 250 bars in
the movement and 238 time signature changes. Complex or what?
However, it’s the music that comes shining through and not the
technical pyrotechnics. The moving motifs are apparent and again
change very imperceptibly so that by the end of the piece everything
has literally turned full circle – the chords at the very beginning
are heard again at the end. There is super use of the percussion
section throughout, but it compliments and does not overpower, whilst
individual players parts speak clearly even though the dynamic level
is loud. It is exciting, vivacious and very nearly wild, but it
is always intelligent. We should be hoping that Mr Rutti can be
persuaded to write more for brass bands in the future.
Well done the EBBA and we hope everyone at the Stravinsky Hall
enjoy the piece as much as we did.
Buy As You View Cory Band
The Buy As You View Cory Band was originally formed in 1884 as
The Ton Temperance Band, holding their rehearsals in the village
of Ton Pentre in the Rhondda Valley South Wales, where the band
is still based.
During 1895 the band were engaged to play at the opening of the
colliery library and so impressed the chairman of the mine owners,
Sir Clifford Cory, that he offered to provide assistance and to
find suitable employment for a first class conductor. Hence the
famous name of the Cory Workman's Band was formed.
In 1920 the band attained championship status and three years later
achieved the distinction of performing what is believed to be the
first radio broadcast by a brass band from the studio in Cardiff
of the newly formed Radio Broadcasting Company in Wales.
Throughout the 20th Century the band achieved significant success
in the brass band contesting field. In 1948 the band were runners-up
at the National Championships of Great Britain and in 1950 the band
were runners-up again, this time at the most prestigious contest
of them all - The British Open. On both occasions the legendary
Walter Hargreaves conducted the band.
The 1970's saw a return to contest success at the highest level
with the band being placed third at the 1971 National Finals and
third at the 1972 British Open under the baton of Major Arthur Kenney.
In 1974 however, the band created history in becoming the first
Welsh band to take the National title back to the Principality when
they took the title with the "Major" at the helm.
A significant honour bestowed on the band during 1976, was to
represent the Great Britain Brass Band Movement at the bicentennial
celebrations in the USA. During the historic tour the band performed
over twenty concerts in such venues as The United Nations Building
and the Kennedy Centre in Washington.
In 1979 the band once again were runners-up at the National Finals,
this time under the direction of Denzil Stephens, who also had the
honour of steering the band to winning the 1980 European Brass Band
Championships. The return of Major Kenney saw the band complete
an amazing hat-trick of wins at the National Finals in 1982, 1983
and 1984 - the latter title won in their centenary year.
The band continued to be consistent challengers for the top contesting
honours in the following period, but it was with the appointment
of Robert Childs that the band reached it's culmination of success
in the year 2000, when the band became the first Welsh band in the
148 year history of the British Open Championships to win the coveted
Shield and be crowned "British Open Champions." Not content with
this achievement, the band reclaimed the title of National Champion
Band of Great Britain at the Royal Albert Hall in the October of
last year and became historic "Double Champions". 2001 also saw
the band become Brass Band in Residence at the Welsh College of
Music and Drama - working development that allows them to pass on
some of their experience to talented young musicians throughout
The Cory Band had been self-supporting for many years, relying
on income from concerts and competitions together with funds raised
by a ladies committee. However, during 1998, Just Rentals a locally
based company agreed to support the band resulting in it becoming
known as the "Just Rentals" Cory Band. Resulting from expansion
of the sponsor company and a change in their name to reflect the
developments in their business in 1999 the band became known as
the "Buy As You View" Cory Band. The enthusiastic and committed
sponsorship has seen the band carry the company name to the forefront
of brass banding in the UK and it proudly bears their name as Welsh
representatives at this year's European Championships in Montreux
in Switzerland, the 13th time they have had the honour since the
inception of the contest in 1978.
Professional Music Director:Robert B Childs
M.Mus dist. A.R.C.M. (hons) F.L.C.M. P.G.C.E.
Robert Childs is an Associate of the Royal College of Music, a
Fellow of the London College of Music, and has gained a distinction
in a Master's Degree from the University of Leeds. He also holds
a Post Graduate Certificate in Education from the Open University
and is currently on a Doctoral programme at the University of Salford.
He is Director of Brass Band Studies at the Welsh College of Music
and Drama, Cardiff, Professor of Euphonium at The Royal Northern
College of Music and The University of Leeds, where he also conducts
the University Brass Band. Robert is a tutor and council member
to the National Youth Brass Bands of Great Britain and Wales and
is also a council member of the National Youth Wind Orchestra of
Great Britain. He is also an experienced record producer and Director
of Doyen Recordings.
He began learning the euphonium at the age of seven under the guidance
of his father John Childs. Robert also took lessons at an early
age with Mr Ivor Powell, conductor of the Tredegar Youth Band. After
a short spell with The Crosskeys Silver Band he joined The Tredegar
Town Band and soon became their Solo Euphonium player, leaving in
1976 to join the GUS (Kettering) Band. Subsequently Robert has been
a member of The Grimethorpe Band, The Hammond Sauce Works Band,
The Yorkshire Imperial Metals Band, The Brighouse and Rastrick Band
and The Black Dyke Mills Band.
Robert conducted and performed with the Yorkshire based Black Dyke
Band for almost ten years and conducted them on several important
occasions, including performances with Susanna Walton, Lesley Garret,
Philip Smith and The Beautiful South pop group and he has performed
with many of the UK's leading professional orchestras.
As a clinician for Boosey and Hawkes Musical Instruments he regularly
gives solo recitals in prestigious halls at home and abroad, he
has performed in Carnegie Hall, The Royal Albert Hall, The Grieg
Hall, The Royal Festival Hall and Sydney Opera House. He frequently
delivers Master Classes at many Universities at home and abroad.
He recently gave the World Premier performance of Elgar Howarth's
new Euphonium Concerto, 'Stories for Saroyan'.
In May last year Robert was delighted to accept the invitation
to become the Professional Music Director of the 'Buy As You View
Cory Band' from the Rhondda in South Wales, re-uniting him with
his homeland and associating him with the band he had held in such
high esteem since his youth. In a short space of time he has revitalised
brass banding in Wales by steering his new band to an historic 'Double'
- winning both the British Open and the National Championships of
Gt. Britain in the year 2000 - the former being a title that had
eluded Welsh bands for 148 years.
Robert is part of a very musical family; both his children Lisa
and David are studying at The Royal Academy of Music, London and
the Royal Northern College of Music, Manchester, whilst his wife,
Lorraine, plays flugel horn with the Hull based EYMS Band. Both
his sisters, Sandra and Melanie are involved in band music and his
brother Nicholas needs no introduction to anyone in the music business,
being the Music Director of the Black Dyke Band and Managing Director
of Doyen Recordings as well as being personal adviser to his older