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British Open Coverage 2002:

Harry Mortimer Centenary Concert
Symphony Hall, Birmingham
September 15th 2002
Commences 1.30pm

Sunday the 15th September will see six of the best bands in the United Kingdom take part in the celebratory Centenary Concert of the birth of Harry Mortimer.

The bands invited to take part are as follows: BAYV Cory, Black Dyke, Williams Fairey, Grimethorpe Colliery UK Coal, Fodens and Yorkshire Building Society – some line up eh? Although the concert is in effect a celebration of the life of the man many refer to as “The Man of Brass”, the bands themselves have taken the opportunity not to confine themselves to the past, and will feature some modern works in their 30 minute programmes. Things kick off at 1.30pm.

Buy As You View Cory will start things off in their programme with the Mortimer march “Medallion” before featuring the famous cornet duet “Mac and Mort” – the pleasant duet written for the great man and Jack Mackintosh. David Childs will be featured with Peter Graham’s “Pantomime” before the band round off their programme with Gareth Wood’s “Salome” which has just been featured on their latest CD release “Wildfire”.

Black Dyke will set things off with “Academic Festival Overture” – the piece Mortimer made his first appearance on as a conductor (he didn’t win incidentally) before Roger Webster will be featured playing “Fatherland” by John Hartmann, a piece that Mortimer used to wow the crowds with by all accounts. The band ends their programme with Ray Farr’s arrangement of Stravinsky’s “Firebird” Suite.

Fodens will take the stage to perform “Epic Symphony” conducted by Russell Gray as well as “Resurgam” – a piece for ever synonymous with Mortimer. Barry Gott’s arrangement of Smith’s “Declaration Overture” will also be featured.

Grimethorpe Colliery UK Coal under the baton of Elgar Howarth (lets hope he speaks up a bit this year from the stage!) will highlight Vaughan Williams’ “Variations for Brass Band” – a lovely piece of brass writing if ever there was one, whilst Sandy Smith will give a whip through the Richard Strauss “Horn Concerto Number 1”. They will finish off in a fashion only Grimey and Howarth can get way with – the Charles Godfrey arrangement of Elgar’s cantata “Caractacus” written in 1898 and played at the 1903 British Open.

Yorkshire Building Society under David King will perform John Ireland’s “Comedy Overture” before Andrew King, the double British Solo Champion and Ern Keller winner will perform Phiklip Wilby’s “White Knuckle Ride”.

Williams Fairey will play “Rhapsody in Brass” by Dean Goffin and “Crown Imperial” by William Walton as well as featuring Philip McCann as guest soloist on “Alpine Echoes”.

That’s all the details we have at present. It promises to be a great day (as long as the bands keep to time and don’t decide to add extras to their shows) and there is plenty of great music to listen to. Don’t quite know what to make about some of the choices just yet – some seem to have a very tenuous link to Mortimer and strike us as being a chance to showboat rather than celebrate (the concert blurb says the music reflects the life and achievements of Harry Mortimer) – still can’t complain too much with that can we?

We’ll give you a report as soon as we get back from Birmingham.

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