2008 Norwegian National Championships - Preview: Third Division

6-Feb-2008

A big old field of 15 bands will be performing their own choice selections to open adjudicators in the Third Section and they have chosen some pretty ambitious works too. Could be interesting then.


Geig HallThird Section
Adjudicators: Kim Lofthouse and Jan Roger Øren
Friday 8th February (16.00)

 
The continued strength of lower section banding in Norway can readily be seen here in the Third Section where 15 bands take to the stage on the Friday to impress the two open adjudicators. 

There were some problems here last year with too many bands over stretching themselves in a bid to impress, although the bands that did come out on top produced authentic performances of merit.

Judges Paul Farr and Erling Mysaerth were generous and sympathetic in their appreciation of the bands efforts but they also made a number of telling points too – especially in regard to getting the basics of good brass playing right. Hopefully the bands have taken note.

The music choices are interesting to say the least. Nice to see that the music of Eric Ball will do battle against more contemporary rivals such as Jan de Hann and the twin assault of Idar Torskangerpoll and Gustav Oistensen Aaberg!

There is plenty more too – Bliss, Sparke, Gregson, Laovatt-Cooper and Bulla – what a great mix – as long as it is well played. 

All in all then a great contest awaits, although if you want to know who we have tipped then you will have to head to the bottom of the page…  


Bergen Brass Band 
Conductor:
Trond Elnes
 
National Record:
2007: 13th in Second Division (Helge Haukas) (rel)
2006: 5th (Stian Svendsen)
2005: 3rd (Stian Svendsen)
2004: 5th  (Stian Svendsen)
2003: 10th
2002: 14th in Second Division
2001: 2nd
2000: 7th

Last Year: 13th in Second Division

Own Choice Selection:
2007: Diversions on a Bass Theme
2006: A London Overture
2005: The Land of the Long White Cloud

After a little dip in form in 2006 when Bergen came out of the podium places, they suffered a disastrous relapse last year in coming 13th and dropping through the relegation trap door after failing to get to grips with George Lloyd’s under rated ‘Diversions on a Bass Theme’.  

Time to start the recovery process then under Trond Elnes and it appears that things may already be going in the righth direction after a fine second place at SIDDIS. More of the same would be great then.


Borge Brass Band
Conductor:
Torstein Aagaard-Nilsen

National Record:
2007: =7th (Torstein Aagaard-Nilsen)
2006: 13th in Second Division (Torstein Aagaard-Nilsen) (rel)
2005: Winners of Third Division (Torstein Aagaard-Nilsen)
2004: =8th (Torstein Aagaard-Nilsen)

Overall Record:
Winners of Third Division 2005 

Last year: =7th

Own Choice Selections:
2007: Connotations
2006: Partita – St. Theodulph
2005: The Present Age

A bit of a mystery form band perhaps? Borge has tasted victory here in the past – although in the Third Division and after being relegated in 2006 they put in a decent enough effort on Gregson’s ‘Connotations’ to show that they could well mount a more serious challenge once again this time around.

No SIDDIS to use as a contesting barometer, so you never know, but a crafty choice of test piece may see them push for a top six place or better. 


Flesland Musikklag
Conductor:
Svein Henrik Giske

National Record:
2007: 12th in Second Division (Svein Henrik Giske) (rel)
2006: 10th (Bengt Florvag)
2005: 7th (Yngve Nicolaisen)
2004: 9th (Egil Magnussen)
2003: 11th
2002: 5th
2001: 7th
2000: Joint 9th

Last Year: 12th in Second Division 

Own Choice Selection:
2007: Dampsanger
2006: The Land of the Long White Cloud
2005: Viking Saga Opus 3

Even the interesting selection of the own choice piece ‘Dampsanger’ couldn’t stop Flesland from relegation last year – the end result of a couple of years when they have struggled to make any real impression here at the contest. 

Hopefully the good times are back around the Bergen corner then under Svein Henrik Giske and a well merited 9th place at SIDDIS in the First Section may be an indication that it could start this weekend.  


Fræna Musikkorps
Conductor:
Jens Kristian Mordal

National Record:
2007: =7th (Jens Kristian Mordal)
2006: 11th in Second Division (Jens Kristian Mordal) (rel)  
2005: 11th (Jens Kristian Mordal)
2004: 6th (Jens Kristian Mordal)
2003: Winners Third Division (Jens Kristian Mordal) (prom)
2002: 9th
2001: DNC
2000: DNC

Overall Record:
Winners of Third Division 2003  

Last Year: =7th 

Own Choice Selection:
2007: Royal Parks
2006: Firestorm
2005: Oceans

A pretty solid showing last year from Fræna as they adjusted to life in the Third Division following 2006’s relegation. 

Their performance of ‘Royal Parks’ had its moments, perhaps just lacking poignancy in the middle section, and they will be looking to build on that this weekend under the baton of Jens Kristian Mordal. No SIDDIS to gauge recent form so we will have to wait and see if they can once again pick up the title here as they did in 2003.  


Gjøvik ByBrass
Conductor:
Thorbjorn Lunde

National Record:
2007: = 10th (Trond Elnes)
2006: 8th (Roar Bjerkehagen)
2005: 10th (Roar Bjerkehagen)
2004: 12th in Second Division (Roar Bjerkehagen) (rel)
2003: 2nd in Third Division (prom)
2002: Joint 13th
2001: 12th
2000: DNC

Last Year: =10th 

Own Choice Selections:
2007: Festivity
2006: The Plantagenets
2005: Kaleidoscope 

Gjøvik has been bumping along in the last quarter of the Third Division now for a few years and they will be headed by their third conductor in as many years this weekend when Thorbjorn Lunde takes the baton.

Hopefully they can inject that little bit of lost ‘X Factor’ that is needed to push them towards the top end of the prize list as they struggled to get to terms with ‘Festivity’ by Leslie Condon last year.  No SIDDIS form so another wait and see performance? 


Grenland Brass:
Conductor:
Morten E Hansen

National Record:
2007: =4th (Morten E Hansen)
2006: 5th in Fourth Division (Rune Hansen) (prom)
2005: 6th (Magne Rutle) 

Last Year: =4th

Own Choice Selection:
2007: Forest of Dean
2006: Kaleidoscope (Five Variations on the Brugg Song)
2005: Tryptich for Brass

The experienced Morten E. Hansen did a fine job with Grenland last year with a well chosen own choice work that just needed that touch of extra cultured veneer, but which eventually saw the band finish in a well merited joint fourth place.  

Much will depend on what they chose to play this year of course but they were solid enough at SIDDIS where they came home in 7th.   


Hasle Brass
Conductor:
Michael Antrobus

National Record:
2007: 9th (Michael Antrobus)
2006: 5th (Michael Antrobus)
2005: 7th (Tarjei Gilbrant)
2004: 6th (Tarjei Gilbrant)
2003: 10th Second Division (rel)
2002: 5th in Third Division (prom)
2001: 8th
2000: 20th 

Last Year: 9th 

Own Choice Selections:
2007: John O’ Gaunt
2006: The Land of the Long White Cloud
2005: English Heritage 

Hasle certainly try for something different with their own choice selections and last year an enjoyable romp through Vinter’s concert work ‘John O’ Gaunt’ brought them only 9th place – due to the organges and lemons bit at the beginning shedding a few too many pips!

A pity that as MD Michael Antrobus delivered a fine reading of the Black Prince even if it didn’t resonate with the judges. What they chose this time around is anyone’s guess but they will have to up their form a touch from the 13th place at SIDDIS although that was in the higher First Division. 


IMI Brass:
Conductor:
Per-Erik Petersen 

National Record:
2007: 12th (Per-Erik Petersen)
2006: 2nd in Fourth Division (Per-Erik Petersen) (prom)
Last Year: 12th

Own Choice Selection:
2007: Romans 8
2006: To Serve and to Save 

After their dramatic debut in 2006, IMI Brass also made an impression last year, although of a musical kind with the interesting choice of Steadman-Allen’s ‘Romans 8’ – with a robust account. 

Although it didn’t quite find favour with the judges it was a brave choice to make – and an enjoyable one too. What then this year? SIDDIS was a disappointment in coming 9th in the Third Division there so they will have to up their game a touch.  


Kjølsdalen Musikklag
Conductor:
Arvid Anthun 

National Record:
2007: 2nd in Fourth Division (Arvid Anthun) (prom)
2006: =10th (Helge Øren)

Last Year: 2nd in Fourth Division

Own Choice Selection:
2007: Gothic Dances
2006: The Four Noble Truths 

Kjølsdalen delivered an excellent performance here last year in claiming second place (complete with standing cornets) and promotion up a division. Their performance of Fernie’s ‘Gothic Dances’ had all the right ingredients in place and was delivered with real aplomb. 

What then this time around? Arvid Anthun is a talented musician and will have primed his charges well to make yet another impression we are sure. If he’s got the explosive mixture right then watch out.   


Langhus Brass
Conductor:
Idar Toskangerpoll 

National Record:
2007: Winners of Fourth Division (Idar Toskangerpoll) (prom)
2006: DNC

Overall Record:
Winners of Fourth Division 2007

Last Year: Winners of Fourth Division

Own Choice Selection:
2007: A Breathless Gnu Kiss!
2006: DNC

What a delight Langhus were last year under their conductor Idar Toskangerpoll and his clever, if ever so slightly bonkers composition about the Gnu. It was a performance that immediately gave the piece cult staus!

They were excellent value, full of good basic playing and if they can show that type of form once more (and up it from SIDDIS where they came 6th in the Third Division) then they will surely be in with another shout – or breathless gnu kiss maybe? 


Lindås Musikklag (Austrheim- Lindås Musikklag)
Conductor:
  Hogne Holmås

National Record:
2007: 4th (Hogne Holmås)
2006: 9th (Pål Magne Austnes)
2005: 5th (Age Torsvik)
2004: 7th (Age Torsvik)
2003: 9th in Second Division (rel)
2002: 8th
2001: 11th
2000: 12th

Last Year: 4th 

Own Choice Selections:
2007: Royal Parks
2006: Rhapsody in Brass
2005: Firestorm 

Hogne Holmås brought the best out of his troops last year in leading them into 4th place with a well chosen and delivered test piece in ‘Royal Parks’ that as many found just needed a touch more repose at times. 

If they have built on that performance then perhaps their time has come to secure for themselves a first national title (although they came 12th at SIDDIS in the Third Division) and get back to the higher Second Division for the first time since 2003.   


Lismarka/Mesnalia Brass
Conductor:
Morten Fagerjord 

National Record:
2007: 3rd in Fourth Division (Morten Fagerjord) (prom)
2006: =10th (Morten Fagerjord)
2005: 10th
2004: 5th (Erling Myrseth)
2003: 4th
2002: Joint 16th
2001: 13th
2000: 16th

Last Year: 3rd in Fourth Division

Own Choice Selection:
2007: Images for Brass
2006: A Celtic Suite - Philip Sparke

Lismarka/Mesnalia Brass has come a very long way since it was bobbling along in 16th place in the Fourth Division as recently as 2002. 

A fine performance of a well chosen test piece set them up for a podium finish last year (and which was played with a real American feel) and it was well deserved too.  Lots of credit then to the players and conductor Morten Fagerjord, so don’t be surprised if they take another large step in the right direction this weekend.     


Rong Brass
Conductor:
Reid Gilje

National Record:
2007: 6th (Reid Gilje)
2006: 3rd (Reid Gilje)
2005: 6th (Reid Gilje)
2004: 11th (Hogne Haugsda)l
2003: 3rd
2002: 11th
2001: 7th
2000: 9th

Last Year: 6th  

Own Choice Selections:
2007: Kaleidoscope
2006: Purcell Variations
2005: Partita - Postcards from Home 

The experienced Reid Gilje continues to make Rong tick along nicely, although their performance of ‘Kaleidoscope’ last year didn’t quite find favour with the judges as they may have hoped, perhaps just in need of a touch better balance in the quieter moments. 

5th place at SIDDIS under Stian Svendsen was decent enough, so can they build on that here and push themselves into the prizes once more. Should be interesting to find out. 


Tromsø Brass
Conductor:
Robert Jensen

National Record:
2007: 11th in Second Division (Robert Jensen) (rel)
2006: 11th in First Section (Robert Jensen) (rel)
2005: 2nd in Second Division (Robert Jensen) (prom)
2004: 4th (Robert Jensen)
2003: 7th 
2002: 8th
2001: N/K
2000: 3rd

Overall Record:
Winners of Second Division 1998
Winners of Third Division 1990 

Last Year: 11th in Second Division

Own Choice Selections:
2007: Dances and Arias
2006: Babylonian Tablets
2005: Blitz

Hopefully the falling through the divisions will stop here this weekend for Tromsø who have tasted both success and failure at this contest over the years. 

‘Dances and Arias’ was a very ambitious choice last year and perhaps found the band wanting (although the euphonium player was excellent and such a cool head under pressure), so much will depend on what test piece they chose this time around. If they get it right then they should be OK and could well make a real impression – if not – then beware. Let’s hope it’s the former and not the latter under Robert Jensen. 


Trondheim Politis Brassband
Conductor:
Peter Hatfield

National Record:
2007: =10th (Odd Steinar Morkved)
2006: 12th in Second Division (Odd Steinar Morkved) (rel)
2005: =4th (Odd Steinar Morkved)
2004: 3rd (Odd Steinar Morkved)
2003: 5th
2002: 11th in First Division (rel)
2001: 7th in First Division
2000: Joint 5th in First Division

Last Year: =10th

Own Choice Selections:
2007: Royal Parks
2006: Ballet for Band
2005: St Theodulph 

Trondheim Politis Brassband didn’t quite play to form last year (another band who found George Lloyd’s test piece not quite a stroll in the Park so to speak) and ended up in joint 10th spot – somewhere they won’t want to be this time around we are sure. 

Much then will depend on what test piece newly appointed MD Peter Hatfield will choose. Given his experience it may be one that highlights strengths and not weaknesses, and the end result could be very encouraging.  


Test Piece Selections:
         
A.   Variations on a Chord (Jan de Haan)     
B.   Variations on Laudate Dominum (Gregson)     
C.   Sinfonietta - The Wayfarer (Ball)     
D.    Prillar-Guri – The Voice of the Valley (Gustav Oistensen Aaberg)    
E.    Resurgum (Ball)    
F.    The Dark Side of the Moon (Lovatt-Cooper)   
G.   Firestorm (Bulla)     
H.    A Pastoral Symphony (Redhead)     
I.     Triptych for Brass Band (Sparke)    
J.    Songar fra Fysjenes (Torkangerpoll)     
K.    Kaleidoscope (Sparke)    
L.    Northern Landscapes (Graham)    
M.   Kenilworth (Bliss)     
N.   Journey into Freedom (Ball)
O.   Resurgam (Ball)       


2007 Result: 

1. Musikkorpset Gjallarhorn (Espen Westbye) - 95
2. Kopervik Musikkorps (John Philip Hannevik) - 94
3. Skui Brassband (Henrik Dalhaug) - 92
=4. Austrheim/Lindås Musikklag (Hogne Holmås) - 91
=4. Grenland Brass (Morten E. Hansen) - 91
6. Rong Brass (Reid Gilje) - 90
=7. Borge Brass Band (Torstein Aagaard-Nilsen) - 89
=7. Fræna Musikkorps (Jens Kristian Mordal) - 89
9. Hasle Brass (Michael Antrobus) - 88
=10. Gjøvik Bybrass (Trond Elnes) - 87
=10. Trondheim Politis Brassband (Odd Steinar Mørkved) - 87
12. IMI Brass (Per-Erik Petersen) - 86
13. Nes Musikkforening (Andres Halla) - 85
14. Frei Hornmusikk (Stein Åge Sørlie) - 84
15. Rosendal Musikklag (Jan Magne Olsen) - 83

Soloist prize: Cornet, Fræna Musikkorps
Best section: Trombone, Kopervik Musikkorps 


4BR Prediction:

Who will emerge top of the pile here is just about anyone’s guess although there are a few bands that if they play to form, or have built on last year’s performances could be in the mix. 

Of those we opt for a close run battle between Bergen, Langhus and Grenland, with Rong, Lismarka and Hasle to make up the top six. Our darkest of dark horses on this occasion is Flesland.

1. Bergen Brass
2. Langhus Brass
3. Grenland Brass
4. Rong Brass
5. Lismarka/Mesnali
6. Hasle Brass

Dark Horse: Flesland Musikkorps

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