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2014 4BR Awards — Test Piece of the Year

Lots and lots of test pieces were performed in 2014 — some better than others it must be said. So which one was the best of the bunch though?

The nominations from the 4BR team for consideration are...

Oliver Waespi

As if a voice were in them (Oliver Waespi)

The set piece for the top section bands at the Swiss National Championship was a masterful new work of musical maturity from the increasingly influential Swiss composer.

Inspired by a 19th century Wordsworth poem, Waespi captured the elemental majesty, mystery and sheer force of nature that can be found amid the sublime beauty of the Alpine Simplon Pass.  

It is music that gives the brass band the opportunity to express itself in a modern way without losing the essential connection to its traditional tonal textures.


rOBERT sIMPSON

Energy (Robert Simpson)

Over 40 years now since it was first performed, Simpson’s remarkable composition still retains its cutting edge of cerebral difficulty - despite being derived from the simplest of thematic ideas.   

The ability of a MD to increase the pace of the music incrementally without discernible loss of underlying momentum remains an amazingly troublesome thing to do - as was shown at the Butlins Mineworkers Championship this year.  

‘Energy’ was the perfect antidote to the crass, under developed musical bling we were injected with throughout much of 2014.


Simon Dobson 

Journey of the Lone Wolf (Simon Dobson)

Dobson’s evocative work (used at the Belgian Nationals amongst others) was one of the musical delights of 2014 - and deservedly won him his second British Composer Award. 

It was a darkly edged portrait of Bela Bartok’s musical, social and political inspirations, and took the listener on a melancholic trip into the psyche of a much misunderstood composer - from the early folk music explorations, to his lonely time in America and his ultimate, sad death: A man of complex emotions, difficult relationships but undoubted genius.


Stphan Hodel

The Legend of Curupira (Stephan Hodel)

And now for something completely different; a red headed, alcohol swilling, cacked legged, pig riding, eco-warrior Brazilian dwarf.

Hodel’s First Section work at the Swiss Nationals was packed with colour, excitement, mystery, mayhem and sheer unadulterated joyfulness. It asked questions of style and musicianship, of wit and interpretation - all ending up in a samba inspired finale that left everyone in the hall - players and audiences alike - with huge smiles of satisfaction on their faces.


Ed de Boer

Vita Aeterna Variations (Ed de Boer)

A musical triumph in all senses of the word. Not just because the British Open organisers picked it, but they did so knowing it was such a lengthy and demanding work that could only be truly mastered by the very best bands in the world.

Beautifully constructed and developed from a simple theme, De Boer never resorted to artifice or effect; no single bar wasted in the pursuit of its ultimate musical goal.  As a result, the very best bands at Symphony Hall did a magnificent brass band work, full justice.



Walsall Brass Band - Willenhall Singers

Saturday 18 November • Sneyd Communnity Centre, Vernon Way, Bloxwich, Walsall. WS3 2PA


Rushden Town Band -

Saturday 18 November • Park Rd Baptist Church, Rushden, Northamptonshire NN10 0RW


Contest: Brass in Concert

Saturday 18 November • Sage Gateshead, St Mary's Square, Gateshead NE28 2JR


Foden's Band - Morley Town Hall

Saturday 18 November • Queen Street, Morley LS27 9DY


Black Dyke Band - Waterford, Ireland

Saturday 18 November • Carriganore Arena, Waterford Institute of Technology Sports Campus tbc


Newstead Brass

November 18 • Bb Cornet (position negotiable). . Newstead Brass, established Midlands Championship section, have opportunity for an additional cornet player. Suitable for experienced player or someone looking to take the next step in their development.


Wakefield Metropolitan Brass Band

November 17 • FRONT ROW CORNET. SOLO TROMBONE. . The band have an exciting concert/contest/marching schedule ahead. We are looking for a committed front row cornet and solo trombone player to come and join us in the Yorkshire 1st Section! MD: Richard Larder.


Glossop Old Band

November 17 • SOLO TROMBONE. The Glossop Old Band Welcomes applications for the Solo Trombone Chair. The Band will be competing in the First Section as of 2018 and are looking to continue its progression back to the top levels of performance


Ian Porthouse


Cornet soloist, clinician, conductor and adjudicator