2010 Norwegian National Championships - Elite Division preview and prediction

3-Feb-2010

4BR will be in Bergen to listen to the very best bands in Norway battle it out to see who will represent them at the 2011 European Championships. Can Eikanger make it three in a row?


GreighallenElite Section
Set Work: Sketches from Nowhere (Thomas Doss)
Friday 5th February (16.30)
Own Choice:
Saturday 6th February (14.45)
Adjudicators: Maurice Hamers, John Wallace, Torodd Wigum


Once again the focus of the Bergen weekend is geared towards the competing bands in the Elite Division – and once again it promises to be a cracker of a contest.

Memorable

In what could be a memorable year for Black Dyke’s Dr Nicholas Childs, the Welshman has the opportunity to create his own bit of Norwegian history – by leading Eikanger to their first hat trick of National victories since the contest began in 1979.

On the other hand, it would be an even more historic occasion if a home grown conductor could lead a band to the title. Just four Brits direct this year, but you still have to go back to 1990 for the last time a Norwegian conductor won here.  

Like the Queensbury outfit, Eikanger is the iconic banding name in the country. 11 times champion, the Black Dyke MD has directed five of them since 1999. They have never won the title three years in a row though, so there will be a very unique pressure on them as they make their traditional slow walk onto the contest platform on the weekend.

They are the form band – unbeaten here in either discipline since 2007, winners of the SIDDIS title and close to their very best at the European in Ostend.  

Bookies

Undoubtedly the Bergen bookies favourite, their selection of ‘Titan’s Progress’, a piece that is an ensemble tour de force, is fortuitous as well as intelligent. It should suit the band’s legendary technical capacity, leaving the musical icing on the cake to be administered by the ‘chef de mission’, Dr Childs.

Only two bands have lifted the impressive National Trophy since 2003, and despite their recent period of rebuilding, it is Stavanger that remains the main obstacle in the way of another Eikanger success.

Last year’s 4th place was a major disappointment, but in truth they never produced the form worthy of an eighth national title.  Allan Withington’s musical direction is at times touched with banding genius, but he will know more than most, that his players cannot afford any slips if they are to claim the crown again.

Second place at SIDDIS showed that they are not too far away from hitting their best form, whilst their own choice selection of ‘Masquerade’ is the type of piece that if it comes off (and it can be a big IF) then it will bring the house down. It also shows they don’t lack for ambition.

Surprise

The surprise package of 2009 was undoubtedly Oslo Brass, who produced two mature, musically intelligent performances to claim the runners up spot.

Frode Amundsen is a real talent with the baton, whilst his band (which was winning the 3rd Division title in 2002) is packed with highly professional and committed performers.  

They proved that last year’s result was no flash in the pan by delivering a slick entertainment set in coming 4th at SIDDIS, whilst their own choice selection of ‘Seid – Version B’ is certainly intriguing and could be as inspired as ‘The Night to Sing’ was last year.

Torstein Aagaard-Nilsen’s fearsome work (those who played at the Europeans in 1996 still bear the scars) has been amended to include a ‘big finish’ – something that will add even greater fear into the hearts of players. If it comes off, then look out.

Eyebrow

Another band that raised an eyebrow last year was Molde, who came 3rd. One of the most consistent bands at the contest, Garry Cutt led them impressively to their highest ever finish.

This year it is the turn of Russell Gray and whilst they did not compete at SIDDIS, they should be in good shape given that they have opted for a much more ambitious own choice selection this year of Hakon Berge's, 'Brass Blot' – a work that tested the very best bands in Europe a couple of years ago here in Stavanger – and found many wanting.

Manger Musikklag last tasted victory in Bergen in 2002, and although they have come close since, they left last year after posting their worst result at the contest since the 1980’s.

They have since recovered form and won the Grenland Contest as well as coming 3rd at SIDDIS, whilst their own choice selection of ‘Dove Descending’ should prove to be more accessible than the more obscure tonalities of last year’s ‘Troglodyte Transition’. A return to the podium places could well be on the cards.

Looking forward

A band that should be looking forward to their appearance will be Ila Brass. In the past four years they have posted ever improving results at the contest, and last year they showed considerable character after delivering a disappointing set work only to follow it up with a well chosen, expertly delivered ‘Exergy Re-revisited’.

This time round they will know that they may not be so lucky of they don’t perform well on the Friday, whilst they are really putting their necks on the line with ‘The Trumpets of the Angels’, a work that is as far removed from the general stereotypical confines of the brass band test piece as you could ever hear.

This takes some playing (from organist to virtuoso cornet/ trumpeters). If it comes off, then Ila could well be celebrating a second National title 21 years after their first. It’s a tightrope walk though.

Opposite

For Krohnengen - the opposite story. In the last three years they have just fallen off the pace, and after coming runner up in 2007 they finished 2009 in 6th under Ray Farr.  

Then they were a bit hit and miss with a rather tame own choice selection, so this time they will be hoping to stamp their authority with Carl Rutti’s rarely heard, but highly effective ‘Montreux Wind Dances’.

5th place at SIDDIS showed that all the essential ensemble elements are in the right place, but can Gary Peterson draw a touch of extra inspiration out of them this time around?

Mundane

Oslofjord Brass didn’t really set the Grieg Hall alight last year, with two rather mundane performances to come 8th overall. That surely won’t be the case this time, as they team with the talented Simon Dobson.

Although the initial partnership didn’t flourish at SIDDIS (coming 10th) they showed decent form at Grenland where they came runner up. This could be an intriguing combination, and although ‘Sounds’ by John Golland may not be the most technically demanding work, it is a deceptively tricky one musically to make shine. If it does buff up well then they could well be in decent shape come the results.

Authentic

That just leaves the two bands that come up from the 1st Division.

Last year’s champion Tertnes took the title in fine style under the baton of Gary Peterson, with a performance of ‘Dances & Arias’  that had a stamp of authentic brass band class about it.

Since then they have shown that they are at home against top class domestic opposition by coming 6th at SIDDIS, whilst their own choice of ‘Prague’ by Judith Bingham is perhaps the most intriguing selection of the entire weekend.

This wonderfully atmospheric work was slated in the UK when it was used as a Regional test piece a few years back, but when it is played well it is a stunning reminder of a form of intelligent, deeply thoughtful brass writing rarely heard today.  

It’s an ambitious choice all right, but one that could be inspired for MD Philip Hannevik and his band.

Stirring

Finally, Sola Brass, who rejoins the Elite ranks for the first time since 2005. They were runner up in the 1st Division last year, delivering a stirring performance of ‘Music of the Spheres’, and they have returned once more to the piece for their challenge this time around.

They come to the contest in decent shape, with a win at Grenland followed by a solid showing in coming 9th at SIDDIS.

Who will carry away the 2010 Norwegian title come Saturday night then?

Hard to see past Eikanger, but it could be close if some of their rivals really hit top form, especially on their own choice selections.  

Stavanger look as if they are returning back to their best, whilst both Manger and Oslo should be in the mix once again. Molde and Krohnengen should make it into the top six with our dark horse Ila.

4BR Prediction:

1. Eikanger Bjorsvik
2. Stavanger
3. Manger Musikklag
4. Oslo Brass
5. Molde
6. Krohnengen

Dark Horse: Ila Brass


EikangerEikanger-Bjørsvik Musikklag
Conductor:
  Dr Nicholas Childs

4BR Ranking:  17

2010 Draw:
Set Work
: 9
Own Choice: 1

Own Choice Selection:

Titan’s Progress (Hermann Pallhuber)

National Record:
2009: Winners (Nicholas Childs)
2008: Winners (Nicholas Childs)
2007: 3rd (Nicholas Childs)
2006: 4th (Nicholas Childs)
2005: Winners (Nicholas Childs)
2004: 2nd (Reid Gilje)
2003: 2nd  (Nicholas Childs)
2002: 7th  (Howard Snell)
2001: Winners  (Nicholas Childs)
2000: 2nd (Nicholas Childs)
1999: Winners  (Nicholas Childs)
1998: 4th  (I. Bergby)
1997: 2nd  (Howard Snell)
1996: 2nd  (Howard Snell)
1995: 5th  (Howard Snell)
1994: 4th  (Howard Snell)
1993: Winners  (Howard Snell)
1992: 3rd  (Howard Snell)
1991: Winners  (Howard Snell)

Overall Record:
Winners in 1981, 1985, 1987, 1988, 1991, 1993, 1999, 2001, 2005, 2008, 2009

Last Year: Winners: 1st on set work/ 1st on own choice

Own Choice Selection:

2009: Extreme Makeover
2008: Riffs and Interludes
2007: Eden
2006: Journey to the Centre of the Earth
2005: Concerto Grosso
2004: Concerto No 1 for Brass Band
2003: The Trumpets of the Angels
2002: Daphnis and Chloe


ILAIla Brass Band
Conductor:
Thomas Rimul

4BR Ranking: 
103

2010 Draw:
Set Work:
7
Own Choice: 2

Own Choice Selection:

The Trumpets of the Angels (Edward Gregson)
 
National Record:
2009: 5th (Thomas Rimul)
2008: 8th  (Thomas Rimul)
2007: 9th (Trond Korsgård)
2006: 7th  (Trond Korsgård)
2005: 8th  (Catherine Winnes)
2004: 3rd (Thomas Rimul)
2003: 7th  (Bjorn Sagstad)  
2002: 8th  (Frank Renton)
2001: Winners of First Division  (Bjorn Sagstad) (prom)
2000: 7th  (Bjorn Sagstad)
1999: 5th  (Helge Haukas)
1998: 6th  (Nicholas Childs)
1997: 5th  (Nicholas Childs)
1996: 4th  (Ray Farr)
1995: 4th (Maurice Hamers)
1994: 3rd  (Maurice Hamers)
1993: 3rd  (Maurice Hamers)
1992: 7th   (Maurice Hamers)

Overall Record:
Winners 1989
Winners of First Division in 2001

Last Year: 5th overall: 9th on set work/ 2nd on own choice

Own Choice Selection:

2009: Exergy Re-revisited
2008: Titan’s Progress
2007: Chain
2006: Guovssahasat
2005: Montreux Wind Dances
2004: Exergy Re-Revisited
2003: Salamander
2002: Between the Moon and Mexico


Krohnengen Band logoKrohnengen Brass Band
Conductor: 
Gary Peterson

4BR Ranking: 59

2010 Draw:
Set Work
: 6
Own Choice: 10

Own Choice Selection:

Montreux Wind Dances (Carl Rutti)

National Record:
2009: 6th (Ray Farr)
2008: 3rd (Ray Farr)
2007: 2nd (Selmer Simonsen)
2006: 9th (Allan Withington)
2005: 5th (Ray Farr)
2004: 7th  (Ray Farr)
2003: 6th  (Ray Farr)
2002: 2nd  (Ray Farr)   
2001: 3rd  (Ray Farr)   
2000: 3rd  (Ray Farr)   
1999: 2nd  (Ray Farr)   
1998: 7th  (Kim Lofthouse)
1997: 3rd  (K.O. Midtbo)
1996: 3rd  (K.O. Midtbo)
1995: 6th  (Allan Withington)
1994: 2nd  (K.O. Midtbo)
1993: 4th  (K.O. Midtbo)
1992: 4th  (N/K)

Overall Record:
Winners 1990
Second Division Winners 1986

Last Year: 6th overall: 4th set work/ 7th own choice

Own Choice Selection:
2009: Concerto Grosso
2008: Eden
2007: Ginnungagap …seeming emptiness
2006: Music of the Spheres
2005: …Dove Descending
2004: Harrison's Dream
2003: Masquerade
2002: Revelation


MangerManger Musikklag
Conductor:
  Peter Szilvay

4BR Ranking: 43

2010 Draw
:
Set Work: 10
Own Choice: 5

Own Choice Selection:

…Dove Descending (Philip Wilby)

National Record:
2009: 7th (Peter Szilvay)
2008: 6th (Robert Childs)
2007: 6th (Robert Childs)
2006: 2nd (Robert Childs)
2005: 2nd (Jesper Juul Sørensen)
2004: 5th (Jesper Juul Sørensen)
2003: 4th  (Allan Withington)
2002: Winners  (Allan Withington)
2001: 5th  (Allan Withington)
2000: 4th  (Allan Withington)
1999: 4th  (Allan Withington)
1998: 2nd  (David King)
1997: Winners (David King)
1996: Winners (David King)
1995: Winners (David King)
1994: Winners (David King)
1993: 2nd  (David King)
1992: 2nd

Overall Record:
Winners in 1980, 1983, 1994, 1995, 1996, 1997, 2002

Last Year: 7th overall: 7th on set work/ 4th on own choice

Own Choice Selection:
2009: Troglodyte Transition
2008: Vienna Nights
2007: Seid
2006: Cantigus
2005: Harrison's Dream
2004: Paganini Variations
2003: Harmony Music
2002: Montage


MoldeMolde Brass Band
Conductor:
Russell Gray

4BR Ranking:
63

2010 Draw:

Set Work: 4
Own Choice: 7

Own Choice Selection:

Brass Blot (Hakon Berge)

National Record:
2009: 3rd (Garry Cutt)
2008: 7th (Nigel Boddice)
2007: 7th (Alan Morrison)
2006: 5th (Garry Cutt)
2005: 7th (Nigel Boddice)
2004: 4th (Alan Morrison)
2003: 5th  (Alan Morrison)
2002: 4th  (Alan Morison)
2001: 2nd in First Division (Alan Morrison) (prom)
2000: 4th in First Division (N/K)
1999: 7th (N. Albelseth/A. Morrison)
1998: Winners of First Division  (Nils Magne Abelseth)
1997: n/k
1996: 12th in First Division  (N/K)
1995: 7th in First Division (A. Dalhaug)

Overall Record:
Winners of First Division 1998

Last Year: 3rd overall: 2nd on set work/ 6th on own choice

Own Choice Selection:
2009: Lowry Sketchbook
2008: Montage
2007: Harrison’s Dream
2006: Ginnungagap
2005: Contest Music
2004: Concerto Grosso
2003: …..Dove Descending
2002: Harrison's Dream


OsloOslo Brass Band
Conductor:
Frode Amundsen

4BR Ranking:
52

2010 Draw:
Set Work:
1
Own Choice: 6

Own Choice Selection:

Seid – Version B (Torstein Aagaard-Nilsen)

National Record:
2009: 2nd (Frode Amendsen)
2008: Winners of First Division (Frode Amundsen) (prom)
2007: 2nd (Frode Amundsen)
2006: 2nd (Michael Antrobus)
2005: 7th (Sverre S. Olsrud)
2004: 2nd in Second Division (Sverre S. Olsrud) (prom)
2003: 3rd
2002: Winners of Third Division (prom)
2001: DNE
2000: DNE

Overall Record:

First Division winners 2008
Third Division winners 2002
Last Year: Winners of First Division

Last Year:
2nd overall: 3rd on set work/ 3rd on own choice

Own Choice Selection:

2009: The Night to Sing
2008: …Dove Descending
2007: Revelation
2006: Paganini Variations
2005: Blitz


OsloOslofjord Brass
Conductor:
Simon Dobson

4BR Ranking: 74

2010 Draw:
Set Work:
3
Own Choice: 9

Own Choice Selection:

Sounds  (John Golland)

National Record:
2009: 8th (Armin Renggli)
2008: 5th (Selmer Simonsen)
2007: 5th (Michael Antrobus)
2006: 4th (Michael Antrobus)
2005: 9th (Garry Cutt)
2004: 9th (Christian Tenfjord)
2003: 8th  (Robert Childs)
2002: 5th  (Peter Parkes)
2001: 8th  (Selmer Simonsen)
2000: Winners of First Division (Selmer Simonsen) (prom)
1999: 8th  (J.P. Hannevik)
1998: 6th  (J.P. Hannevik)
1997: 2nd in First Division  (J.P. Hannevik)

Overall Record:

Winners of First Division 2000

Last Year: 8th overall: 6th on set work/ 8th on own choice

Own Choice Selection:
2009: Journey to the Centre of the Earth
2008: Music of the Spheres
2007: Aubade – Dawn Songs of the fabulous brids
2006: Whitsun Wakes
2005: Paganini Variations
2004: Montage  
2003: Revelation
2002: Contest Music


Sola Brass Band
Conductor:
Selmer Simonsen

4BR Ranking: N/A

2010 Draw:
Set Work:
2
Own Choice: 3

Own Choice Selection:
Music of the Spheres (Philip Sparke)

National Record:
2009: 2nd in First Division (Selmer Simonsen)
2008: 4th (John Philip Hannevik)
2007: 12th (Christopher Evans)
2006: 4th (Rune Gundersen)
2005: 10th in Elite Section (Benny Wiame)
2004: Winners of First Division (Steve Bastable)
2003: 4th in First Division (Steve Bastable)
2002: 6th in First Division (N/K)
2001: 3rd in First Division (Russell Gray)
2000: Winners in 2nd Division (Russell Gray)
1999: 9th (Melvin White)
1998: N/K
1997: 12th in First Division (T. Anundsen)
1996: 3rd in First Division (N/K)
1995: 4th in First Division (Melvin White)
1994: 7th  (Melvin White)
1993: 7th  (James Scott)

Overall Record:
Winners of First Division 2004
Winners of Second Division 2000

Last Year: 2nd in First Division

Own Choice Selection:
2009: Music of the Spheres
2008: Tallis Variations
2007: Variations on an Enigma
2006: Dances and Arias
2005: Between the Moon and Mexico


StavangerStavanger Brass Band
Conductor: 
Allan Withington

4BR Ranking:

2010 Draw:
Set Work:
5
Own Choice: 8

Own Choice Selection:
Masquerade (Philip Wilby)

National Record:

2009: 4th (Allan Withington)
2008: 2nd (Allan Withington)
2007: Winners (Allan Withington)
2006: Winners (Russell Gray)
2005: 6th (David King)
2004: Winners (David King)
2003: Winners  (David King)
2002: 3rd  (Steve Bastable)
2001: 2nd  (Frank Renton)
2000: 5th  (Frank Renton)
1999: 6th  (Philip McCann)
1998: 3rd  (James Gourlay)
1997: 4th  (James Gourlay)
1996: 6th  (Garry Cutt)
1995: 3rd  (Garry Cutt)
1994: 5th  (Garry Cutt)
1993: 5th  (Richard Evans)
1992: Winners (Richard Evans)

Overall Record:

Winners in 1982, 1984, 1986, 1992, 2003, 2004, 2006, 2007

Last Year: 4th overall: 5th on set work/ 5th on own choice

Own Choice Selection:
2009: Revelation
2008: Concerto Grosso
2007: Vienna Nights
2006: Eden
2005: Music of the Spheres
2004: Masquerade
2003: Concerto Grosso
2002: Tristan Encounters


TertnesTertnes Brass
Conductor:
Philip Hannevik

4BR Ranking: 187

2010 Draw:
Set Work:
8
Own Choice: 4

Own Choice Selection:
Prague (Judith Bingham)

National Record:

2009: Winners of First Division (Gary Peterson) (prom)
2008: 10th in Elite Division (Bjørn Breistein) (rel)
2007: 7th (Bjørn Breistein)
2006: 8th (Bjørn Breistein)
2005: Winners of First Division (Bjorn Breistein)
2004: 10th in Elite Section (Bjorn Breistein)
2003: Winners of First Division  (John Hinkley)
2002: 10th in Elite Division
2001: 7th in Elite Division
2000: 6th in Elite Division
1999: 2nd in 1st Division

Overall Record:

Winners First Division 2003, 2005, 2009
Winners Second Division 1984 and 1985

Last Year: Winners of First Division

Own Choice Selection

2009: Dances & Arias
2008: Tallis Variations
2007: Ascending – learning how to fly
2006: Contest Music
2005: Dances and Arias
2004: …Dove Decending
2003: Variations on an Enigma


2009 Result:

1. Eikanger-Bjørsvik Musikklag  ( Dr. Nicholas John Childs)  97/96 = 96.5
2. Oslo Brassband  (Frode Amundsen)  94/94 = 94
3. Molde Brass Band  (Gary Cutt)   95/90 = 92.5
4. Stavanger Brass Band (Allan Withington)   92/91 = 91.5
5. Ila Brass Band  (Thomas Rimul)  88/95 = 91,5
6. Krohnengen Brass Band  ( Ray Farr)  93/89 = 91
7. Manger Musikklag  (Peter Szilvay)  90/92 = 91
8. Oslofjord Brass  (Armin Renggli)  91/88 = 89.5
9.  Jaren Hornmusikkforening  (Helge Haukås)  89/87 = 88
10. Sandefjord Brass Symposium  (Michael Antrobus)  87/ 86 = 86.5

Adjudicators: Maurice Hamers, Edward Gregson, Carthrine Winnes Trevino

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