2004 Spring Festival - Live: Grand Shield

8-May-2004

Live band by band coverage from Blackpool's Winter Gardens.


Adjudicators:
David Read and James Scott

Test piece:
Les Preludes, Liszt/Gay

Commences: 10.00am

Draw

Leyland, 1
Conductor: Garry Cutt


Opening:
Opening as little tentative and uncertain and takes time to settle. However, when it does it is very good.

A-D:
Nice full balanced sound with firm bass foundation. Solo cornet and horn play very well and there is a flow to the music.

Middle sections:
Some uncertainties in lead lines but there is fine dynamic contrasts and good sounds. Superb flugel and these sections highlight class playing.

Marziale to end:
Spot on tempo - not too fast. Fine trombones and it buids to an excellent end. Overall a good marker for the rest to follow - just the opening may cost points.

United Co-operatives Yorkshire Brass, 2
Conductor - John Roberts


Opening:
Another uncertain opening although the music has a nice flow. Builds nicely.

A-D:
Good tempo but cornet work is scrappy and tuning in euphs is poor. Lacks contrast and individual lines are not always secure.

Middle sections:
Lacks feel and again there are too many slips. Some nice playing from Flugel and Solo Cornet. It develops well but just lacks security.

Marziale to end:
Lacking in depth and detail and now starts to sound very tired. Just fades to the end. Overall just too many mistakes to make a mark.

Beaumaris, 3
Conductor: Morten E Hansen


Opening:
A good start with nice bass sounds. Band capture the mood of the music and it builds well.

A-D:
Good Euphs and clear Horns and again is a nice flow and shape to the music. Some uncertainties before the allegro detract.

Middle sections:
This just lacks dynamic contrast and it is a little rushed and insecure. Fine flugel but this isn't as good as what went before.

Marziale to end:
Some good playing but now the detail is lacking and the tempos don't make for comfort. A little tired to end. Overall it started so well but just tailed off in the last third.

Flowers, 4
Conductor: Philip Harper


Opening:
A very poor opening few bars but it recovers and settles well.

A-D:
This is much better playing. Excellent flugel and horns but some nasty slips detract.

Middle sections:
Some nice clear detail but there are times when the approach is too aggressive. Flugel shines but it ends with a sense of insecurity.

Marziale to end:
Why the rush? All the music is lost and it has become hard and harsh. A big end but this is too little too late. Overall, this had its moments but not enough for us.

Travelsphere Holidays, 5
Conductor: David Stowell


Opening:
Terrible opening note but then it builds impressively with controland shape to letter A.

A-D:
There is some fine playing on show here but tuning in euphs and horns is poor. Soprano is having a fine day.

Middle sections:
Some excellent detail and this has a lovely feel. Just little slips but the overall shape of the music has real style. Sop again shines as do all solo lines.

Marziale to end:
Exciting but the tempo is too high and the detail is lost. It sounds a touch scrappy but again it recovers to an excellent finish. Overall the most secure performance so far.It should feature.

Redbridge, 6
Conductor: Melvin White


Opening:
A pretty good opening - together and balanced and it builds well right up to lette A. Solid stuff.

A-D:
A good steady tempo and there is a nice feel to things. Euphs and horns do the biz and it is shaping up nicely. Intonation starts to grate in a few places but overall this has been a well delivered section.

Middle sections:
Everything is in place - solid if a little unspectacular and the lead lines are well handled. The Pastorale loses shape and it becomes a little self indulgent - it did n't need this as it was working so well up to this moment.

Marziale to end:
This is now back on track and the feel and pace is bob on. A good tight ending as well. Overall this was a good one, but it may suuffer because of that Pastorale which was so out of character for us.

East Yorkshire Motor Services, 7
Conductor: Gareth Pritchard


Opening: A fine opening for us - plenty of depth and balance and it is well controlled right through to A.

A-D:
The tempo is on the staedy side, but this gives clarity and detail. The intonation though in the middle band goes AWOL and detracts. This has a fine flowing feel, but the sound has become imbalanced and that tuning doesn't get better.

Middle sections:
Again well shaped and there is a fine sense of style. Dynamics are well observed (one of the first to do so) and this is now starting to shape up well again. Pastorale has its fair share of blips and blobs and it just takes the shine off a well shaped section.

Marziale to end:
Steady as she goes means clarity and detail is heard, but little slips start to hurt as tiredness creeps in. A second wind gets them through to a very substantaial ending. Overall it was a fine effort and had a sense of style. The clips and the poor tuning though may just hurt them come results time.

Newstead Welfare, 8
Conductor: Duncan Beckley


Opening:
A poor start and the tuning in the middle band isn't good. It builds well but again there is a problem with the intonation for us.

A-D:
This has a nice Maestoso feel, but again little intonation problems arise. There is contrast in the dynamics which gives colour, but little errors also rob things.

Middle sections:
Nice solo lines - just a couple of blips and blobs, but overall this is very well handled. Tuning again goes peetong. Sop and flug shine and this section again has a neat shape from the MD. Just those little errors again!

Marziale to end:
This flows well and the shape is well delivered. Again those same old problems detract! A pity this as there is thought gone into it. Overall it ends as it begun - poorly. It could have been so much better but for the slips and tuning.

Glossop Old, 9
Conductor: James Cant


Opening:
Not a good opening, but it recovers well and it has a fine flowing feel and build to A.

A-D:
General scruffyness in the ensemble spoils - a real pity as the feel of the music is just right and there are some deft touches from the MD. Well done sop and 2nd cornets!

Middle sections:
Again the shape is excellent, but the error count is high and this is proving costly. MD has hit the nail on the head with his interpretation but the slips are now too numerous to ignore.

Marziale to end:
A fine shape again with excellent feel of the style required - if only there were less errors. It has control right to the end. Overall this was perhaps the best reading of the score for us so far - sensible and accurate and not self indulgent. The errors though will drop them down the prize list a fair way though. A real pity.

Fishburn, 10
Conductor: Ian McElligott


Opening:
A good opening and the atmosphere is created well. The build up continues in fine style right through to A.

A-D:
Steady tempo, but it means the detail comes through. Nice euph playing is a feature and this is starting to impress throughout. Odd clips are heard but they don't detract as yet.

Middle sections:
This is well handled as well - the tempo is well chosen and the players respond. Nice sop and flugel and the horn is top notch. Very musical and well thought out this.

Marziale to end:
Some of the best playing in this section so far today - balanced big and bold but not overblown. A tad scrappy to end and the balance goes AWOL in the last few chords, but this has been a very fine show. This should feature we think.

Jaguar (Coventry), 11
Conductor: David Lea


Opening:
Not a great opening and the balance isn't the very best. It recovers and settles down, but this could cost them.

A-D:
So much better - euph is classy but there are expensive errors in others lines. This has a nice flow but the focus is lost in the lead lines - it is not always clear who has the main line.

Middle sections:
This is good playing though. Neat and tidy with flugel, sop and horn doing well. Pastorale is not so secure though - far too mnay slips rob the musical picture and the confidence seems to dissipate from the ensemble sound.

Marziale to end:
It recovers once more but it becomes all a little rushed and frenetic for us. A bit more time and space is needed. A good end rounds things off though in style. Overall, a bit of a curates egg and that will prove costly.

Rothwell Temperance, 12
Conductor: David Roberts


Opening:
A little uncertain to open but it recovers on the reprise. This now builds well right up to A.

A-D:
A nice bright feel and a real swagger to the style. It perhaps lacks a little warmth but it is very well controlled. Neat stuff in fact.


Middle sections:
Little blips and blobs, but overall this is a neat section of work. The solo lines are secure enough, although again it needs a bit of warmth. Well shaped by the MD but again it needs more warmth for us.

Marziale to end:
This is very fine playing - balanced and controlled and now there is a real band sound. Where has it been missing in the quieter sections? A tremendous build to the end which is very well handled. Overall a good one this for us - it just was a tad clinical. It's a piece that needs a bit more heart and less brain, but this was perhaps the other way round. A good one though.

Kibworth, 13
Conductor: John Berryman


Opening:
A fine opening - together (one of the few) and with balance and style. This has a flow right through to A. A good start.

A-D:
This just lacks a little clarity, although the solo lines are well handled and things are held together well by the MD. Well done sop and flugel and this is starting to impress.

Middle sections:
There is some real classy playing here, although the little errors spoil a fine musical picture a touch. Without these it would be right up there we think. Again the solo lines are impressive and the horn is spot on. Good stuff.

Marziale to end:
Cornets get harsh and all of a sudden sound very tired. A pity, as this was so well controlled up until now. This last section is the weakest as the players strive to create more sound. It just didn't come off to finish. A lot of quality here, just tarnished by a weak ending.

Hepworth, 14
Conductor: Mark Bentham


Opening:
Not quite together to start but it recovers so well and the build up to A is well handled and balanced.

A-D:
The cornet arpeggios tend to be too dominant but this is still high class playing from the band. The solo lines come through and there is much to admire. Well done solo cornet and sop is a little star.

Middle sections:
Not quite as convincing but still the quality shines through. We like what the MD does and this is starting to impress. Little erors do detract, but nothing too serious and the feel of the music is never lost. Classy.

Marziale to end:
This is good, although less of the solo cornet line would help. The bottom of the band comes into its own and this is as good as we have heard all day. The build to the end is so well shaped and controlled. Overall a very good show - one that should be up there come results time we feel. Just a few errors may cost, but they should be confident of being there or thereabouts.


Besses o' th' Barn, 15
Conductor: Steven Sykes


Opening:
Slightly tentative to start, but a fine recovery and the flow of the music is evident right through to A.

A-D:
Like this. It is sensible and controlled and the players respond. There are errors, but there do not detract from a carefully constructed musical picture. Plenty for the judges to award points for we think.

Middle sections:
Again the shape of the music is impressive although the flugel lines tends to over dominate in places. Good attempts from the solo lines, but it is the enemble work that impresses most. Decent playing.

Marziale to end:
Good stuff again. There are more annoying little clips, but the performance has had control from the word go and the MD hasn't let the performance lose any interest. A big bold end to a good show. Overall the slips will cost we think, but this reading created a lasting impression.

Stocksbridge, 16
Conductor: Derek Renshaw


Opening:
A little tentative to open but it flows along well enough and the build to A is well managed and creates the right amount of tension.

A-D:
Big and bold but just a bit brash for us and although the euphs and horns play very well not all the required detail is heard. Some suspect tuning spoils the overall picture but this has been safe playing. (Others today wouldn't have minded that)

Middle sections:
Good stuff, but just when you thought it was going to be very special a few nasty moments take away points. The solo lines are well enough handled, but it is the ensemble that detracts - too heavy and ponderous at times. Did something go wrong at the end of the Pastorale? There seemed to be one heck of a gap.

Marziale to end:
Much better - very much better. Great band sound this - full and broad and detail is heard. A second wind has given a real boost and the ride right to the end is excellent. Overall it was a performance that took a while to get going - the ending was perhaps one of the best of the day, but the Pastorale will cost dearly we think.

Lindley, 17
Conductor: Neil Jowett


Opening:
This is a good opening - safe, balanced and quiet! It builds well too right up to A. A good start.

A-D:
A well chosen tempo is rather undone by loose cornet work and the detail in the flugel and horn is submerged. Some fine contrasts in style, but little slips (how often have we written this today) detract. A neat flow and the style is right, but looseness will be costly.

Middle sections:
Again the style is good, but the errors are now mounting up. Fine flugel and sop and euph shines in Pastorale, but it just needs a bit more clean playing.

Marziale to end:
The sound of the band gets very hard and the style that was so right earlier has been lost. A pity as the ending recovers well. Overall not bad - the style from the middle was great, but the execution from around the stands just didn't do it justice.

Innovate Skelmanthorpe, 18
Conductor: Kevin Wadsworth


Opening:
A decent opening this - neat and tidy, balanced and secure. One to listen out for?

A-D:
Spoke to soon! This lacks drive and sounds a tad lethargic. The detail is there for sure, but just a bit more pace and rhythmic pulse is needed for us. Fine solo lines and solo cornet is classy, but it's all a bit staid.

Middle sections:
Not quite clean and tidy, but there is contrast in the dynamics and the sense of style is right. Sop and flugel star and although there are one or two clips it never messes up the musical picture.

Marziale to end:
This is the weakest section for us - the previous nice sound is lost and it has become hard sounding in the top end of the band especially. A second wind gives a boost to the close, but this just took the shine off things. Overall a performance that nearly came off, but that may not be good enough today.

Sellers International, 19
Conductor: Philip McCann


Opening:
Fine opening, although there is a distinct lack of pace. Very precise, perhaps overly so, but it is clean, balanced and secure. Builds well and this could be a good one if they carry on like this.

A-D:
Meastoso sounds just that - fine swagger and the detail is heard. Bravo euph and horns and sop has a fine trill day. Good quality stuff this.

Middle sections:
Plenty of atmosphere and well controlled. Spoke to soon! Timp has a dodgy moment that unsettles all around. Fine recovery but for a moment it was looking dodgy. Pastorale is so well shaped by MD, but little slips again smudge the clarity. It's still up there shouting though.

Marziale to end:
Good controlled playing this - fine balance and it is not overblown and right to the end it has shape and style. Well done everyone - this has been a classy show. The Open beckons?

Desford Colliery, 20
Conductor: Peter Parkes


Opening:
An excellent opening - nice and clear, balanced and in tune. It may just need a bit more flow but it is so clear in the build to A.

A-D:
Great sense of pomposity and bravura playing. Sop is a real find - classy and sweet when required. Solo cornet too. There is plenty to admire in this reading and the players are on top of their game. Little blips are kept to a minimum and this has the hallmarks of a corker.

Middle sections:
Very, very nicely played - great detail, although flugel horn sometimes intrudes a bit much and this is as secure as we have heard all day. Solo lines shine and sop is having a belter. The build is so well well handled. Bravo Mr Parkes!

Marziale to end:
Perhaps a bit on the quick side, but they can handle it - detail is there to be heard and the band retains a fine balanced ans sonorous sound. It ends as it started - excellent. The best for us so far - the one performance of the day that really did the piece full justice.

JAG Mount Charles, 21
Conductor: Bryan Hurdley


Opening:
A well handled opening leads to some fine detailed playing and it builds with confidence to letter A.

A-D:
This has a Maestoso feel all right, but there are a couple of wild moments in the ensemble. Fine solo lines, but it needs a bit more flow. Very musical in outlook though and this has the makings of a strong contender.

Middle sections:
Again good stuff with fine sop, flugel and horn. Euphs are a bit scratchy but the MD has gone for a very lyrical approach we like a lot. It makes so much sense when the aggression is taken away from these sections of the piece. Fine playing this.

Marziale to end:
This has shape and style and moves along at quite a lick. This may cost as some of the detail is not heard as clearly as others today. The wind is up though and the ending is a sparkler. Top notch stuff. Overall the third quality performance in a row at the end of the contest. Maybe not quite winners, but another who should be around the frame.

Aveley & Newham, 22
Conductor: Nigel Taken


Opening:
An uncertain opening but it builds well after this with dynamic contrast and flow right up to letter A.

A-D:
It has a maestoso feel but is so untidy in the cornets. It gets better though and a nice sop is noted. Scrappiness returns to haunt the cornets again.

Middle sections:
Bass lone not clear but good dynamics and the music has real style. Fine sop and flugel but cornet needs warmth. Pastoral has deft touches but it becomes hurried in the horn line. This has been pretty good but could have been better.

Marziale to end:
Fine style and it builds to a good climax with basses giving excellent foundation. Overall a performance of credit but just off the pace for us today.

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