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2015 Spring Festival — Senior Trophy: Preview & Prediction

4BR looks forward to the action that will unfold on Tallis Variations in the Spanish Ballroom on Saturday.

Senior Trophy:
Spanish Hall

Test Piece: Tallis Variations (Philip Sparke)
First Prize: £600 and Senior Trophy
Second Prize: £400 
Third Prize: £300 
Fourth Prize: £200

Draws: 9.40am & 1.10pm
Commence: 10.40am
Adjudicators: announced on the day


Friary Guildford
A step closer to Symphony Hall for Friary Guildford in 2014

The final contest to get under way on Saturday will be the Senior Trophy, which takes place amid the ornate splendour (and lively acoustic) of the Spanish Hall.

The British Open is possibly just three years away for any of the twenty contenders here, but if they are to take a step closer to Symphony Hall they will have to master the deceptive challenges of Philip Sparke's wonderful 'Tallis Variations'.

Popular

Commissioned for the European Championships in Birmingham in 2000, it has proved a popular own choice selection work ever since, and was used at the Grand Shield as recently as 2003. 

It has lost none of its edge since for certain. 

Sparke
The man behind the Tallis - Philip Sparke

The hymn tune on which the four linked variations are based is the third of nine that Thomas Tallis wrote in 1567 as part of a psalter for the first Anglican Archbishop of Canterbury, Matthew Parker.

It was later used by Vaughan Williams in the English Hymnal as a funeral hymn, as well as the basis for his famous ‘Fantasia’, which Philip Sparke stated, ‘fascinated’ him. 

He also wrote that the tune, ‘…as well as being classically beautiful, contains a certain musical truth and symmetry which, allied to its major/minor key conflicts, made it a perfect subject for variation treatment.’

Turbulent opening

Sparke’s work opens with a turbulent introduction, the first half of the theme stated by the middle of the band. 

Variation 1 (each based on a cell motif) contains the first two notes of the theme, exploring the E minor tonality with repeated semi-quaver activity, whilst Variation 2 features a gentle solo for flugel horn and a varied statement in chorale form. 

Variation 3 starts with a series of short solos before a serene cornet melody appears. The theme returns, re-harmonised, before the variation closes peacefully. 

The final variation is ebullient in character, starting with cornet fanfares, before evolving around a fugue-like lead first presented by the euphoniums. 

Eventually, music from Variation 1 returns to herald the final, fiery statement of the theme, accompanied by figures from the fugue.

However, the piece ends quietly, the serene beauty of the Tallis chorale unshakeable.


Who will win?

Such a hard one to call, especially as there are a host of well matched bands making the long (and shorter) trips to the North West coast in search of a jackpot return and promotion to the Senior Cup.

Making the some of the longest journeys from opposite parts of the UK are Dalmellington, Lochgelly, Newtongrange and Unison Kinneil heading South from Scotland (not forgetting Felling from the North East), whilst East London Brass, Medway and Wantage Silver 'A' head North.

Filton Concert Brass will be joined on the M5/M6 traipse by Llywdcoed from Wales, and the Midlands is represented by debutants Blidworth Welfare, Jackfield (Elcock Reisen) and SPAL Automotive Sovereign Brass.  

Yorkshire sends City of Bradford, Hatfield Colliery and Wakefield Metropolitan, whilst closer to home, the North West is represented by Longridge, Oldham (Lees), Rainford, and VBS Poynton.  

Out of these, City of Bradford gave an excellent account of their contesting credentials in the cauldron of St George's Hall in the top section in March and could do very well here, whilst Filton Concert Brass also signalled their contest credentials with a merited podium finish in Torquay.

Llwydcoed, Newtongrange, Rainford and Oldham (Lees) could be in with shout at the bookies with our dark horse selection of Jackfield (Elcock Reisen)

4BR Prediction:

1. City of Bradford
2. Filton Concert Brass
3. Llwydcoed
4. Newtongrange 
5. Rainford
6. Oldham (Lees)

Dark Horse: Jackfield (Elcock Reisen)



Gloucestershire Brass Band Association - Own Choice March & Test Piece Contest

Sunday 19 November • All Saints’ Academy. Blaisdon Way. Cheltenham GL51 0WH


Rotherham Schools' Youth Brass Band - Fountain City Brass Band

Monday 20 November • Rotherham Minster - Rotherham s60 1pd


Foden's Band - Matt Ford - Lichfield Cathedral

Friday 24 November • 19A The Close, Lichfield WS13 7LD


Lofthouse Brass Band - Pudsey Churches Together Christmas Concert

Saturday 25 November • Pudsey Parish Church, Church Lane, Pudsey, LS28 7BD LS28 7BD


Lofthouse Brass Band - Lofthouse Christmas Fair

Saturday 25 November • Lofthouse Methodist Church, Leeds Road, Lofthouse, Wakefield WF3 3NE


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


Steve Pritchard-Jones

FTCL LTCL LDBBA DipMusEd GMus QTS NPQH
Conductor, Adjudicator, Teacher