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2017 European Championships
Championship Section - As it happened

All the action from the 2017 European Championships — Championship Section — as it happened.

Monday 1, 06:58:37

Round ups and final thoughts...


4BR Editor Iwan Fox talks to British Bandsman Editor Kenny Crookston about the 2017 event


4BR Editor Iwan Fox talks to EBBA President Ulf Rosenberg


Saturday 29, 23:52:06

Results:

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Eikanger-Bjorsvik wins the European crown in Oostende in convincing style.

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Eikanger-Bjorsvik Takes the European crown

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It's Challenge Section joy for Italian Brass Band in Kursall Concert Hall, Oostende.

Championship Section:

Adjudicators:
Set Work: Torgny Hansen, Jan Van der Roost, Dr Roger Webster
Own Choice: Philippe Bach, Ben Haemhouts, Torstein Aagaard-Nilsen

Test Piece: Where Angels Fly (Kevin Houben)
(Draw): Set Work/Own Choice = Total

1. Eikanger-Bjorsvik (Ingar Bergby) (10/9): 95/98 = 193
Fraternity (Thierry Deleruyelle)

2. Valaisia Brass Band (Arsene Duc) (7/5): 96/95 = 191*
Goldberg 2012 (Sven H Giske)

3. Cory (Philip Harper) (6/3): 94/97 = 191
Destination Moon (Paul Raphael)

4. Brass Band Willebroek (Frans Violet) (11/11): 92/96 = 188
The Turing Test (Simon Dobson)

5. Tredegar (Ian Porthouse)(9/6): 91/92 = 183*
Prophecies (Gavin Higgins)

6. Concord (Jesper Juul Windahl) (8/10): 90/93 = 183
Journey of the Lone Wolf (Simon Dobson)

7. Paris Brass Band (Florient Didier) (3/7): 89/94 = 183
HorrowShow (Simon Dobson)

8. Brighouse & Rastrick (Professor David King) (4/8): 93/89 = 182
Visitations from Beyond (Thomas Doss)

9. Brass Band Schoonhoven (Ivan Meylemans) (12/4): 88/90 = 178
Journey of the Lone Wolf (Simon Dobson)

10. Brass Band Oberosterreich (Erik Janssen) (5/12): 86/91 = 177
A Brussels Requiem (Bert Appermont)

11. Brass Band Buizingen (Luc Vertommen) (1/1): 87/87 = 174
Dial 'H' for Hitchcock (Nigel Clarke)

12. 3BA Concert (Thomas Ludescher) (2/2): 85/88 = 173
The Triumph of Time (Peter Graham)

Best Instrumentalist: Glyn Williams (euphonium) — Cory
*Set Work placing takes precedence for tied points


Saturday 29, 23:29:29

Results:

Challenge Section:

Adjudicators:
Torgny Hanson, Jan Van der Roost, Dr Roger Webster

Test Piece: Imsomnia (Bart Picqueur) & Own Choice Programme & Own Choice Programme

1. Italian Brass Band (Filippo Cangiamila) : 92
2. 1st Old Boys (Stephen Cairns) : 91
3. Brass Band Regensburg (Christine Hartmann) : 89
4. Brass Band Panta Rhei (Tim de Maesener) : 88
5. Coalburn Silver (Gareth Bowman) : 85*
6. Sunday Brass (Tadas Sileika) : 83*

Best Soloist: Paulo Masi (trombone) — Italian Brass Band
*denotes points deducted due to passing the limit of total playing time


Saturday 29, 21:16:54

Gala Concert:

We are currently enjoying the Saturday evening Gala Concert, where reigning champion Cory is entertaining a very nearly jam packed full hall.

The audience is enjoying what they are hearing with the Cory soloists — although not too sure if 'Abide With Me' really a Welsh hymn as Philip Harper describes. The Steve Stewart and Tom Hutchinson fan clubs will have quite a few new members though — whilst the Roald Dahl finisher was a big dollop of Willy Wonka coated everlasting musical bubble gum....

After this there comes more entertainment and then the results...


Saturday 29, 19:11:28

Press Corps final round

The action has come to and end — and what fantastic action it's been.

Chris Thomas Own Choice:

Chris has gone for an own-choice top six of:

1. Eikanger Bjorsvik
2. Paris
3. Valaisia
4. Cory
5. Buizingen
6. Willebroek

Dark Horse: Tredegar

Overall:

Given the positions form yesterday and today, Chris goes for:

1. Eikanger Bjorsvik
2. Cory
3. Valaisia
4. Paris
5. Brass Band Willebroek
6. Buizingen
Dark Horses: Tredegar, Brighouse & Rastrick

Jeremy Wise Own Choice

Jeremy has gone for a top six today of:

1. Eikanger
2. Valaisia
3. Cory
4. Paris
5. Willebroek
6. Buizingen
Dark Horse: Tredegar

Overall:

1. Eikanger
2. Cory
3. Valaisia
4. Paris
5. Willebroek
6. Buizingen

Dark Horse: Tredegar, Schoonhoven


Saturday 29, 17:53:31

Championship Section:

12. Brass Band Oberosterreich (Erik Janssen)
A Brussels Requiem (Bert Appermont)

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On Stage: Brass Band Oberosterreich (Erik Janssen)

An opening of tranquility that is so beautifully captured and gradually fragments as it is punctuated by driving interjections from various sections of the band. And as the momentum quickens the energy gathers even greater momentum. This is impressive stuff indeed.

There are burnished colours and a solemn heart to this work with a sonorous trombone choral that is so well enunciated heralding a moving hymn like central section that is played with such touching simplicity. One or two minor tuning issues surface but what is perhaps most refreshing about this is its absence of histrionics for their own sake. One senses that the music comes from the heart, both creatively and in terms of the performance itself.

The finale is perhaps less impressive in that there is less interest in the melodic material and the ensemble is not always totally as one, but the race to the driven conclusion is very impressive.

Overall: Bert Appermont's A Brussels Requiem seems to have gone down well in the hall even though it emptied considerably before the last band. A great shame given that Oberosterreich delivered a convincing reading, particularly in the slow central section.

Christopher Thomas

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On Stage: Brass Band Oberosterreich (Erik Janssen)

Our last band and final premiere — a new work written after the terror attacks in Brussels of 2016. The piece starts with a plaintive solo voice from the cornet accompanied by vibes. Simple slow playing with lovely lyrical lines although not everything speaks first time. The euph and sop duet that follows also suffers from minor accidents along the way.

Suddenly it leaps into live lead by double tonguing in the cornets and then it's music that would fit a car chase through the streets of Brussels. Virtuosic trombone and xylophone solos follow — sticks a blur in that moment. Stunning band technique on display here. The off stage cornets need to close the door — the distant effect doesn't quite come off.

The third (slow) section seems to meander somewhat and lacks a focal point. Again balance issues occur as we lose the middle band sound which is dominated by the cornets. The trombone section of this band are a particular feature it must be said. The third man takes the fiendish cornet solo in the finale.

They romp to the end at breakneck speed all guns blazing with the md whipping it along for all he's worth. An enjoyable performance of a piece about a serious subject but written in a lighter style to some today.

Jeremy Wise


Saturday 29, 17:22:39

Championship Section:

11. Brass Band Willebroek (Frans Violet)
The Turing Test (Simon Dobson)

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On Stage: Brass Band Willebroek (Frans Violet)

The Simon Dobson fest continues with The Turing Test and the opening doesn't quite click with voices not always speaking clearly. The impetus as the race quickens is fine though but the difficult rhythmic interplay between cornets and trombones isn't absolutely bang on the money.

The chattering of Turing's machine and the sheer precision called for in the rhythmic complexities of the score are immensely challenging and the dramatic intent of the playing is never in question. But precision of ensemble continues to remain erratic at times and this isn't quite living up to the standard of Willebroek's performance yesterday.

The slower music is so effective though and the quality of the solo contributions, notably from flugel and horn, are exceptional with the atmosphere so carefully created and coloured by the MD. This is so much more musically potent.

The approach to the conclusion is so powerful and the performance finds a new level of driving impetus as it reaches a powerful finale.

Overall: There was a latent sense of drama about Willebroek's Turing Test but it also wasn't without its slips. It really did gather momentum as it progressed though.

Christopher Thomas

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On Stage: Brass Band Willebroek (Frans Violet)

Another Simon Dobson work today with The Turing Test with Willebroek looking to build on a high quality performance from yesterday. It's a shaky start from the horns with a couple of misfires. There are a few hasty glances from the cornets.

The band settle and they us some really tight and clean ensemble work going in. A band that has maintained such a high standard now for many years. Their driving full band playing is so well organised and tidy generally — just the slightest of loose moments from time to time. Their cornet section has such a balanced and matched sound — all the voices agree. That degree of blend is hard to achieve and doesn't come quickly.

This has been a really enjoyable performance with terrific playing and superbly organised direction. A conductor in complete command again. What a sound they have when they really get going — one of the biggest of the day. Excellent all round performance with some minor early errors.

Jeremy Wise


Saturday 29, 16:58:28

Championship Section:

10. Concord (Jesper Juul Windahl)
Journey of the Lone Wolf (Simon Dobson)

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On Stage: Concord (Jesper Juul Windahl)

Our second Journey of the Lone Wolf of the day and the Danes of Concord Brass Band open in powerful fashion. It's amazing how the pressure of having put the set test behind a band can lift off those metaphorical shackles.

This committed, technically assured playing and the folk music references are captured with just the right Hungarian gait and lilt and there is so much character here that really does get to the heart of the music.

Solos are well negotiated. just the slightest of slips on trombone but euphonium is soaring, this is so well done, as is solo cornet.

There is a savage intensity about the playing that really grips and the wild cornets are despatched with that same gritty, savagery that continues to the very end. The volume is possibly a little too much in fact although that sense of drama permeates through to the last bar end in a performance of real drive and energy.

Overall: Such intensity from the Danes and a performance that found every emotional nuance of the Bartok inspired score.

Christopher Thomas

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On Stage: Concord (Jesper Juul Windahl)

Our second visit from the Lone Wolf and an unenviable task for the Danes as the hall is buzzing after that performance by Eikanger. As with quite a few other bands they seem to be in a much better place today and the playing is excellent.

There is a lot to admire about the playing and leadership — they are really capturing the essence of this music. The flugel cadenza is very exposed but confidently done. Again the solo euph raises the bar very high with a quite beautiful solo and the cornet player is inspired by this to deliver a great one himself.

The band is on fire today and really hurling themselves with gusto into this performance. It's a long way to come not to enjoy yourself. They are making sure that they do.

A performance that was carried along on a wave of enthusiasm by the band which inspired their soloists to great musical achievements today. Well done.

Jeremy Wise


Saturday 29, 16:26:31

Championship Section:

9. Eikanger-Bjorsvik (Ingar Bergby)
Fraternity (Thierry Deleruyelle)


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On Stage: Eikanger-Bjorsvik (Ingar Bergby)

The 'Black Land' of the opening is evoked in mysteriously evocative tones recalling Eikanger's breathtaking performance of Fraternity in Bergen, a performance that would take something very special indeed to top. The monolithic like chords as the music progresses are simply magnificent and already the pictures in the mind are so clear, so perfectly formed as a result of the sheer insight of the music making we are hearing.

David Morten excels on principal cornet with an unaccompanied solo that will surely strike terror into a few hearts come Birmingham in September and the transition into the faster material is skilfully handled.

There is just so much drama in this and the precision of the ensemble is magnificent. And as the band opens up to the higher dynamic level the effect is laden with drama.

Fabulous percussion and the MD is simply masterful at cranking up the tension and pacing. This just seems to be gaining in power at every stage of the performance with colossal dynamic contrasts and brilliantly executed detail.

Sonorous trombones intone the dark chorale with such pathos and David Morten's life affirming cornet solo emerges like a song of hope…this is so deeply moving. The audience is rapt in its concentration.

Glorious euphonium and the emotion of it all really does start to make a very deep effect with the final huge climax sending the audience into raptures. Eikanger does it again.

Overall: Such emotion wrought into every note. A performance of huge intensity from the Norwegians.

Christopher Thomas

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On Stage: Eikanger-Bjorsvik (Ingar Bergby)

Eikanger come on to play last year's set piece — Fraternity.after a stonker yesterday they set out as favourites today perhaps. All three bb's play the opening solo — they have worked out the acoustic it seems. Superb euph solo to begin — stylish and in full command. The big block chords have an organ like sound without any edge or crudeness. Once again the sop melts the face like that bit at the end of Raiders of the Lost Ark.

Super horn solo leads us into the cornet cadenza. The hall is motionless. Cadenza is note perfect. There is such energy and drive now to the faster section and it's all so perfectly placed. They keep all of the dynamics right under control only letting go when required.

This is such super playing the best thing to do is just sit back and enjoy it. The trombone trio leads into a perfect cornet solo and then on to the most beautiful sop and flugel duet. Every player is right on their game again today. Spoke too soon again. It's such a satisfying musical experience all round.

As expected the audience leap to their feet as one — simply terrific music making again

Jeremy Wise


Saturday 29, 15:59:30

Championship Section:

8. Brighouse & Rastrick (Professor David King)
Visitations from Beyond (Thomas Doss)

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On Stage: Brighouse & Rastrick (Professor David King)

A strangely unsettled opening to Thomas Doss's Visitations from Beyond by Brighouse. The atmospheres David King is conjuring with are there but there are also niggling little splits and clips from several quarters of the band and for a while it all feels oddly uneasy.

The sound of a conch shell being blown for the percussion section clearly takes the audience by surprise!

The taxing little solos that project out of the more dominant textures are so often afflicted by clips and yet this is also close to being a performance of technical brilliance with so much detail evident…..those niggling little errors keep on coming though.

The music is quintessential Thomas Doss with so many of his creative fingerprints evident in the melodies, harmony and rhythmic devices and the ending is effective but this was a performance that fell prone to so many errors.

Overall: A curious performance from Brighouse and Rastrick and one that never seemed to settle from the very outset.

Christopher Thomas

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On Stage: Brighouse & Rastrick (Professor David King)

Another new piece — one of 6 today from a Thomas Doss this time. Based on a Bach Chorale apparently. Straight in to a scary horn solo about four bars in — not what you want to see when a new piece is given out — this is taking some playing and there are quite a few pitching problems in the first few minutes — it's so exposed.

This is the first piece I have ever heard a conch shell being used but there are still those niggling clips occurring which musically don't count for much but accuracy always seems to be important. The little inaccuracies continue — associate often seems to be the case it's a contagion.

The musical language of Thomas Doss is clearly heard again in this music. It's leaving me a little unengaged at the moment. It's hard to put my finger in it but there's something that isn't coming across in this performance. A strangely unfulfilling experience — too many individual errors and a piece that lacked impact for me.

Jeremy Wise


Saturday 29, 15:29:03

Championship Section:

7. Paris Brass Band (Florient Didier)
HorrowShow (Simon Dobson)

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On Stage: Paris Brass Band (Florient Didier)

Paris Brass Band announces the opening of Simon Dobson's Horror Show with tolling bells and and an ominous tread, out of which grows a chorale like melody. The detail is stunning in its clarity but as always with PBB, is also laced with playing of such elegance, notably by Alexis Demailly on principal cornet.

The subject matter of the Paris bombing is painfully close to home, quite literally, for these players and that gravitas seems to pour out in what is playing of clear emotion. Bastien Baumet on solo euphonium is simply magnificent and the music seems to veer between reflection and introspection and the sheer horror of what happened on that fateful night.

As the performance progresses the band's soprano player becomes more and more a key component and suddenly the textures dissipate into gently pulsing tuned percussion as solo trombone and horn rise to their feet, both delivering solos of touching tenderness and simplicity.

It's tough to single out specific sections or individuals in what is very much a team performance of a piece, but the band's percussion section is superb throughout and there are simply no weaknesses in this band with its strength in depth through the sections exceptional.

The ending is searingly powerful and quite literally leaves the audience silent for several seconds but this was once again playing of exceptional quality by Paris.

Overall: Another deeply gripping performance with Paris Brass band and Florent Didier giving a performance of Simon Dobson's Horror Show that although not easy to grasp on first hearing, was delivered with huge commitment. An emotional juggernaut of a performance.

Christopher Thomas

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On Stage: Paris Brass Band (Florient Florient-Didier.jpg)

Horror Show gives the clear idea of what is ahead and the sinister dark opening is no surprise. Again the direction from Florent Dider is an object lesson in clarity and he knows the score inside out — almost never looking at it.

It's a lighter more centred sounding band with an elegance and polish to the sound but then they show that they can really open up when required. Individual contributions from sop and solo cornet are superb — such facility. The euph solo is absolutely virtuoso playing — stunning.

After this slow interlude the malevolence returns with driving percussion and troms but it's short lived and a playful scherzo follows. This is a performance where every detail of the direction given by the conductor is heard in the playing. It's a struggle to describe this piece — it's one that needs to be heard. A brief jazzy section with featured solos from trombone, flugel and solo horn gives way to a driving heavyweight section which is then interrupted by a small group chorale.

The ending comes as a surprise to the audience who don't seem sure if it's finished or not. Again another tough work to assimilate quickly but there was no doubt about the virtuosity of the solo paying again. Outstanding.

Jeremy Wise


Saturday 29, 14:57:00

Championship Section:

6. Tredegar (Ian Porthouse)
Prophecies (Gavin Higgins)

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Tredegar (Ian Porthouse)

The opening is extraordinary in its eeriness with muted cornet textures mysteriously tracing patterns over the lower band. And immediately the commitment of the playing is so powerful, it simply draws you into what is the very dark and threatening world of Nostradamus and his prophetic writings.

The inner energy the band builds is stunning but it is the sense of the MD and players being completely at one with the music that impresses most, both technically (and this is hugely virtuosic writing) but also stylistically as the band embraces the language of a composer who continues to impress more with every work he produces.

The detail is evident from top to bottom and that all enveloping darkness and sense of something ominous is disturbing in its power to intoxicate and smother. Individually, principal cornet, flugel and horn all deliver contributions of such quality but it's Dewi Griffiths on cornet that perhaps stands out. He delivers what is a frighteningly challenging part with almost disarming ease.

And now as the pace quickens we can sense Ian Porthouse controlling what is a caged animal with such masterful pacing. The dynamics are never allowed to become unhinged and there is always a feeling of there being more; of something being saved for the abyss into which the music is destined to plunge. And come the closing bars that abyss proves to be a pretty nasty place to be.

Overall: A performance that was a masterclass in the performance of challenging contemporary music. Played with such commitment and integrity. It's darkness won't be for everyone and the audience reaction was somewhat muted in comparison to many but this was a performance that was a musical statement in every sense of the description.

Christopher Thomas

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On Stage: Tredegar (Ian Porthouse)


Having had a quick look at the score for Prophecies I am very pleased not to be the principal cornet today. Flipping heck it's a monster of a solo — I need a lie down just looking at it.

A slow and atmospheric start soon give way to complex fireworks with overlaid rhythmic complexities which are despatched with ease. This piece challenges the player and listener alike — you can't take your ears and eyes off it.

Ian Porthouse is a master at sorting out this music and the band has clearly worked very hard to negotiate their way through this complex work. The central muted section exposes a few frailties of production momentarily. Extended lines in unison are always perfect for exposing any intonation difficulties and there are the odd moments.

It's hugely interesting music and the use of radios in the background is fascinating. The white noise and crackle is a great effect behind the fiendish cornet and euph solos. By crikey there is some technique on display here.

Not everything is absolutely nailed but it's music written at the upper limit of what is possible. This work is challenging in so many ways and the fairly muted response at the end perhaps shows this cerebral aspect to the work. Bravo for the choice and again bringing new music to the parade.

Jeremy Wise


Saturday 29, 14:19:14

Championship Section:

5. Valaisia Brass Band (Arsene Duc)
Goldberg 2012 (Sven H Giske)


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On Stage: Valaisia Brass Band (Arsene Duc)

There is a magical, luminous quality to the opening as we hear such wonderful shining colours and textures. Great solo trombone and as the energy builds so does the sheer precision that seems to inform very note that the band plays.

Those solo 'Goldberg' entries are gilded in gold quite literally and everything is knitting perfectly into place here with such confidence about the solo entries that seems to be sending a message throughout the entire band.

And now as the jazz kicks in we hear further brilliant work from solo cornet, trombone, soprano and bass trombone. We know that this piece is a technical tour de force on an individual level but every player in Valaisia is proving to be the equal of those challenges.

Glenn van Looy excels on solo euphonium and again we sink into textures that are so magically coloured and shaped, with every minute nuance playing its part in the overall picture. Principal cornet is fabulous and goodness do the quieter dynamics make an impact. You can hear a pin drop in the hall.

The funk that follows is a strange juxtaposition but one that the band takes in its stride, the dynamics are wide ranging but always under control and we sense that Arsene Duc is saving us something for the end here. And when to comes it is quite magnificent. The audience once again rises to its feet and applauds a performance of such detail and transparency.

Overall: Valaisia proves its consistency following on from yesterday with a Goldberg 2012 of incredible accuracy and luminosity.

Christopher Thomas

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On Stage: Valaisia Brass Band (Arsene Duc)

After a great show yesterday Valaisia will fancy their chances today of winning the title for the first time. They have chosen a monster of a piece in Goldberg Variations. It makes massive demands on every section and the sop must have had sleepless nights.

This is such a great sounding band with terrific balance and technique. The solo and duet lines are simply played and immaculate. The whole band ensemble is superb.

The introduction of the Goldberg thematic material is gently and elegantly done. This is such an unusual piece — very different and a brave choice for today. It changes moods and styles constantly and calls for great stylistic range from the band. The trombones show themselves to be a very funky bunch. The muted cornet start to the next section sounds clunky though.

At times it's exhilarating but it's so hard that there are bound to be some casualties and there are. Moments of pure beauty and ethereal sounds followed by music that sounds like an American to show theme — I'll confess that I just don't get this piece. It's a very strange mix up to me.

It's a very fine band indeed with some stunning individual contributions but it doesn't quite have the impact of yesterday for me. The audience clearly don't agree however — they go absolutely berserk.

Jeremy Wise


Saturday 29, 13:52:35

Championship Section:

4. Brass Band Schoonhoven (Ivan Meylemans)
Journey of the Lone Wolf (Simon Dobson)

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On Stage: Brass Band Schoonhoven (Ivan Meylemans)

An opening of such razor like precision and power and like Buizingen, we quickly sense that Schoonhoven has thrown the shackles off since yesterday; this is a band in overdrive in comparison so far.

It's not without its issues though as the solo cornet rises to his feet and is completely drowned out by the rest of the band. He is literally inaudible in our position at the side of the stage. Euphonium fares better and the flugel solo is finely done.

Just the slightest of slips in the trombone solo and now solo baritone rises too her feet and this is magical. The delicacy of the accompanying textures are so beautifully done, luminous and glowing and as the euphonium solo takes over there is a desperate sense of loneliness about this; it chills you to the very core and Robert Vos is so eloquent as a euphonium soloist….wonderful artistry.

The performance so far has not been without some unevenness but now it steps up another gear and there''s great work in the closing section, huge sounds and at last we feel we are hearing what Schoonhoven is really capable of.

The ending is simply immense and caps a fine effort from the Dutch team. It's going to be a huge uphill task after yesterday though.

Overall: Like Buizingen, Schoonhoven has been a different band today. Not without a few inconsistencies but a performance that grew in stature as it progressed.

Christopher Thomas

The Dutch have reverted to their traditional bright orange shirts today to deliver the first of two performances today of Simon Dobson's Journey of the Lone Wolf. It's certainly a mighty meaty opening today. The band were perhaps not at their absolute best yesterday but already seem to have notched it up a gear.

The mazurka euph duet is stylishly played and the ensemble is clean and tight. The cornet and euph duet is underplayed and we lose the cornet sound totally. The acoustic is still winning at times.

The flugel cadenza is well played but not totally perfect but the bowed vibes add great colour. Once more we lose the solo sound of the trom although a few splashes are heard. A cracking baritone solo leads us into the meltingly beautiful euph solo which is gorgeous and played with superb control. Again we could do with more from the solo cornet — it's controlled but we can't hear it and we are sat at the front. It will never make it to the back.

The charge for home is exciting but doesn't quite have the brutality needed and we could do with a bit more clarity in the detail. It's been a musically satisfying reading and the loud playing is top notch — we had balance issues in the quiet sections with soloists getting buried but the band and swallowed by the hall again.

It's a huge and full blooded finish to a great test are are a lot of orange jackets in the audience giving a rapturous ovation.

Jeremy Wise

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On Stage: Brass Band Schoonhoven (Ivan Meylemans)


Saturday 29, 13:23:42

Championship Section:

3. Cory (Philip Harper)
Destination Moon (Paul Raphael)

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On Stage: Cory (Philip Harper)

The mysterious creative figure of Paul Raphael and his Destination Moon brings Tin Tin and his exploration of space to Ostende. We have lift off!

The opening seems to veer around erratically as if the space ship is out of control but what clarity and detail we are hearing from the band. This is playing of quite breathtaking precision and unanimity of ensemble. And the sound!! The balance through the band that Philip Harper finds is really quite extraordinary. Every layer is audible within the textures.

Terrific solo trombone work from Chris Thomas and now the initial frenetic pace of the music settles and we are hear a return to the opening material that mutates and one again drives us onward in seemingly uncontrollable fashion as we literally hurtle through space toward our lunar destination.

The atmosphere changes and suddenly we are floating as Steve Kane comes to the fore on baritone with playing of such warmth. Helen Williams turn now and whoever Paul Raphael might be (I supt we might be able make a pretty informed guess!) he is certainly playing to Cory's star players who are responding in spades as Steve Stewart and Glyn Williams now take centre stage.

But Tom Hutchinson arguably outshines everyone…we just sit back and listen. You can do nothing else when listening to playing as sublime as this. And the transition as the pace quickens is magical.

And now we hit the big climax which is organ like and monumental before the music subsides to a moment of introspection before such delicate atmospheres, and oh my goodness how surprising is this…..the music simply gradually subsides into the ether and silence……a quiet ending!!! And what a quiet ending!!

Overall: The audience would not have known what to expect from Destination Moon but what they got was a tour de force of a performance, and a piece that played to the band's strengths in spades. What playing! What a band! Simply magnificent.

Christopher Thomas

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On Stage: Cory (Philip Harper)

Having had the first two drawn bands in the same slots again today we change yesterday's running order with Cory now to play a new piece by Paul Raphael — we sense a possible nom de plume lurking here. Not sure show tall Paul is but rumours have it he has to duck a lot. Or should that be 'canard'? It's a tall sounding name to me.

Anyway, after yesterday's blockbuster performance they are right in contention today to retain the trophy. It's an earlier draw than they would choose I suspect but it can be done. The audience are already fully revved up.

Blimey what a start — fiendish technique on display and it's absolutely immaculate playing. What a band this is — their playing never drops below the astonishing. ChrisThomas is back in his old seat and sounds as great as ever. The whole band makes ridiculously difficult things sound simple.

Superb baritone playing from Steven Kane leads into the inevitable flugel solo. Again super playing with just the tiniest of wobbles. Solo euph sings out in the link to the cornet solo. This is such lovely shapely playing with the warmest sound imaginable.

You could hear a pin drop in the hall. The tension and atmosphere is electric. They crank up the pace now in the final section and the sound is glorious. This piece has ticked all the contest boxes. Whoever Paul Raphael is he knows what to write for this event. The back row have now all disappeared from the stage. What's in store? Amazing the end just gently fades away from view courtesy of the off stage group. What an amazing brave ending. Stunning playing from this great band and an engaging piece from start to finish. Fantastic.

Jeremy Wise


Saturday 29, 12:59:52

Championship Section:

2.3BA Concert (Thomas Ludescher) (Thomas Ludescher)
The Triumph of Time (Peter Graham)

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On Stage: 2.3BA Concert (Thomas Ludescher)

A quality opening and there's an immediate rush of adrenalin at the first big climax. Cornets not quite as one at 'fast and brilliant' but what great work from solo euphonium. The detail just isn't always bang on the money though….but it's certainly mightily high on adrenalin.

Fine bass into the haunting nocturne and Thomas Fountain excels…what a meltingly gorgeous cornet sound and atmosphere is created here.

Trombone soloist rises to his feet for the jazzy Ritmico and despatches the solo with confidence and a helping of swagger. This moves forward well but there's just a hint that it's occasionally pushing the band all the way.

Sonorous trombones and the flugel horn solo is beautifully intoned from the front of the stage. So stylish from Martin Britt on soprano and as the dynamic level settles there a touching sense of peace and stillness that permeates though the hall. And again the slow music is so finely done.

The ending is majestic and caps a fine effort from the Germans, barring a misplaced bass from beats the end. It was just those last ounces of precision and detail that could prove crucial.

Overall: Playing of great commitment and passion from 3BA but it's going to find it very tough to rise through the ranks against extreme competition today we suspect.

Christopher Thomas

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On Stage: 2.3BA Concert (Thomas Ludescher)

The Triumph of Time was written for Black Dyke for this contest. Right from the start there is insecurity in the technical front cornet parts — it's not all convincing at the moment. It's massively technical and a bit of a stretch it seems. Euph and baritone solos are well handled and a super eb solo follows with massive fruity pedal to finish. A dreamy solo is just gorgeous from Thomas Fountain. Lovely. The solo trombone takes off on his raunchy solo with some cracking lip trills thrown in. This is really just the right style needed.

The trombone lead into the flugel solo is not quite together a few times which is a pity as the tuba solo is great. The flugel solo is played with real space and time — perhaps just needs to flow a little more but it's nicely done. The sop solo is short but beautifully tucked in. We arrive at the ultra quiet section and it could be quieter for greater effect.

The return to the frantic opening material again just lacks nailed on clarity from the cornets. The big tune is broadly played and flugel again shows a lovely sound and solid nerve. A great showpiece test that the band clearly loved and delivered with absolute gusto. Technically a stretch but musically heartfelt playing. Excellent solos all round.

Jeremy Wise


Saturday 29, 12:34:26

Championship Section:

1.Brass Band Buizingen (Luc Vertommen)
Dial 'H' for Hitchcock (Nigel Clarke)

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On Stage: Brass Band Buizingen (Luc Vertommen)

There is great drama and detail about this from the off and woweee!! What dynamic contrasts! And immediately we sense that the band is in a very different place to yesterday. This is alert, incisive and so exciting.

A short way in and we are already getting the feeling that Nigel Clarke's Hitchcock inspired score is fast paced, at times witty and packed with colour and dynamism. But this is no Hermannesque pastiche…..yes there are little flecks of the Hermann scores but its about the style and the atmosphere of the films that inspired the music.

We hear great inner detail from the band and there is a confidence flowing through the performance that really grips us. You won't hear many pieces with a scream written into the score neither!

There is some ravishing music at the heart of this and there is real warmth emanating from the band. Little whisps, the merest hints of scenes from films such as Vertigo float from the score but it's easy to overlook how technical a challenge the music is…there is always something going on…something that takes our ear from one detail to another or simply from one side of the band to the other.

A police siren heralds a frantic chase that drives on with remorseless energy and the audience looks to be in rapt concentration. Good ness Nigel Clarke has packed so much into the multitude of vignettes that make uo the score and it's magnificent playing from Buizingen that culminates in a conclusion of sheer brilliance.

If this is the level of what we are due to hear this afternoon oh my are we in for a treat!

Christopher Thomas

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On Stage: Brass Band Buizingen (Luc Vertommen)

BB Buizingen must be ruling their bad fortune — to be drawn number 1 on consecutive days is really not fair at all. They are to play the interestingly titled Dial H for Hitchcock by Nigel Clarke. There are bound to be some interesting effects and sure enough we start with haunting bell and wind machine.

What a difficult job the judges have today with 6 premieres — it's a fascinating prospect. Buizingen have learnt from yesterday and moved as far forward as they can without falling off the stage. The balance benefits from this — why that drape has to hang there I've no idea.

This is such an atmospheric cinematic work -you can really sense the movie even though you can't see it — complete with blood curdling scream from the young lady on 3rd cornet. It's dark and mysterious music at times — perfectly depicting the Hitchcock movies of the 50's and 60's.

There extended solos for sop and solo cornet in the lush central section before a longing full band tutti of real beauty. A tolling bell adds to the atmosphere in this desperately quiet muted euph and percussion add a sense of foreboding and an air raid siren takes us into the star of the finale.

The end draws on the thematic material from earlier with the big love theme soaring before the final dash for the line. An interesting piece and really well played. It needs hearing again but a thoroughly enjoyable start to the section.

Jeremy Wise


Saturday 29, 12:29:30

Championship Section:

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Own Choice Contest
Kursall Concert Hall
Draw: 8.00am Saturday 29th April
Commence: 12.30pm (local time)

Adjudicators:
Philippe Bach, Ben Haemhouts, Torstein Aagaard-Nilsen

Draw:

1. Brass Band Buizingen (Luc Vertommen)
2. 3BA Concert (Thomas Ludescher)
3. Cory (Philip Harper)
4. Brass Band Schoonhoven (Ivan Meylemans)
5. Valaisia Brass Band (Arsene Duc)
6. Tredegar (Ian Porthouse)
7. Paris Brass Band (Florient Didier)
8. Brighouse & Rastrick (Professor David King)
9. Eikanger-Bjorsvik (Ingar Bergby)
10. Concord (Jesper Juul Windahl)
11. Brass Band Willebroek (Frans Violet)
12. Brass Band Oberosterreich (Erik Janssen)

Own Choice Selections

A Brussels Requiem (Bert Appermont)
Destination Moon (Paul Raphael)
Dial 'H' for Hitchcock (Nigel Clarke)
Fraternity (Thierry Deleruyelle)
Goldberg 2012 (Sven H Giske)
HorrowShow (Simon Dobson)
Journey of the Lone Wolf (Simon Dobson) x 2
Prophecies (Gavin Higgins)
The Triumph of Time (Peter Graham)
The Turing Test (Simon Dobson)
Visitations from Beyond (Thomas Doss)


Friday 28, 23:41:20

Press Corps round-up:

4BR Editor Iwan Fox asks Chris Thomas, Jeremy Wise and Kenny Crookston about their thoughts on the day's contesting — and to find out what their top six picks are....


Friday 28, 21:44:42

Chris Thomas Analysis and round up

It's been quite an afternoon in the Kursaal. Kevin Houben's colourful score has drawn some performances of exceptional quality from the bands that have had opinions raging in the hall.

For us there was one towering performance that elevated itself above all others but behind that it could be a very close call indeed when the own choice performances are factored in tomorrow evening.

Chris Thomas goes for a top six of:

1. Eikanger Bjorsvik
2. Cory
3. Brass Band Valaisia
4. Paris Band Band
5. Brighouse & Rastrick
6. Willebroek

Dark Horse: Tredegar Town

Jeremy Wise analysis and round up

A great contest today and some stand out performances.

For me Eikanger lead the way followed by either Cory or Valasia. After them I would have Paris, Brighouse, Willebroek and Tredegar.


Friday 28, 21:09:00

Championship Section:

12. Brass Band Schoonhoven (Ivan Meylemans)

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Back stage: Brass Band Schoonhoven (Ivan Meylemans)

There's an almost Mahlerian darkness to Schoonhoven's opening which Ivan Meylemans imbues with so much light and shade. And when we hit the Allegro it moves on at a crackling pace with a real sense of electricity. This has real promise.

An uncomfortable flugel solo unsettles things and the focus is disturbed as the ensuing soloists sound a touch tentative. The balance is all wrong at the prayer as the accompanying baritone dominates over the solo horn and again the early promise is under threat.

The band finds a new seam of energy though and plunges into the reprise of the Allegro with energy and drive. The detail can't live with the best today so far though and it feels a tad unhinged at times…exciting, but always on the edge.

The approach to the end is well handled and the band puts everything into it until the very end leading to a huge final statement. It's come a little too late to counter earlier inconsistencies though.

Overall: Too many inconsistencies from Brass band Schoonhoven on a day when only the very best will survive.

Christopher Thomas

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Back stage: Brass Band Schoonhoven (Ivan Meylemans)

The Dutch complete the day — a band that has done well here before and with another top class conductor in the middle. Whilst clearly a very fine band there are some unusual sounds, clips and intonation difficulties. There was also an apparent wrong entry early on in the basses. After such a high standard this is likely to cause them problems.

Tuning and balance is again adrift with the accompaniment burying the horn solo and fragilities in other lines spoiling the overall picture. The band is seemingly much more comfortable today when motoring as their fast playing is really excellent. Terrific technique and tight ensemble.

It's a mixed performance today from the Dutch — some really good but some moment that just didn't come off. It has been a pity as when they were good they were absolutely excellent — it was just that bit too inconsistent for me.

Jeremy Wise


Friday 28, 20:46:05

Championship Section:

11. Brass Band Willebroek (Frans Violet)

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Back stage: Brass Band Willebroek (Frans Violet)

The local team of Willebroek send a few early cheers through the audience as the band takes to the stage.

And the opening is rich in atmosphere and presence as Frans Violet directs in his customary batonless fashion.

There is a powerful presence about the faster music and the MD has the ability to crank up the band sound at will, generating a real sense of propulsion but never at the expense of clarity of detail.

What a lovely contribution from the band's flugel player and the same is true of the solo horn player in the 'prayer' which is poignant and emotionally involving.

The return of the faster music heralds impressive sounds but the energy and ear opening clarity of the handful of leaders today is going to be very difficult to beat. The chorale is effective and again the musical presence of what follows is impressive but not quite on the remarkable level of the leading contenders so far.

Overall: A solid account from the local team of Willebroek but one which despite it's high standard, might not have enough quite rise to the level of a serious contender today.

Christopher Thomas

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Back stage: Brass Band Willebroek (Frans Violet)

What a job Willebroek have in following that spine -tingle from Eikanger but they immediately pick up the cudgels with a superb opening section. Franz Violet has been an amazing leader of this band for over 30 years now, what an achievement.

They've moved forward on the stag to allow the upward facing instruments sounds to carry and it works. We are getting a much better balance — useful bit of local knowledge there.

Again we have an absolutely top class group of soloists who float majestically through the central section. This really is a super band with a terrific work ethic from players and leader alike. Such a glorious full band sound — lush and rich.

It is so hard at the highest level in this contest to pick out one band from another — the standard is so high now. Another stonking performance with the local crowd going crazy. Terrific playing and direction.

Another one in the mix.

Jeremy Wise


Friday 28, 20:11:54

Championship Section:

10. Eikanger-Bjorsvik (Ingar Bergby)

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Back stage: Eikanger-Bjorsvik (Ingar Bergby)

What a glorious bass sound at the opening and Ingar Bergby masterfully shades the music with differing hues of semi-darkness. It's so atmospheric and ominous in its potency.

The drama that Bergby generates through his presence in front of the band seems to permeate down through every player and the inner energy that he creates is latent in its heat. This really is playing that seeks out every minute opportunity to create dramatic effect and the effects are often startlingly different to other bands we have heard today.

The prayer is sensitive, delicate and heart rending with lovely sounds from solo horn and the confidence of the playing is ever present.

As the drama returns its as if something demonic has been unleashed in the MD. The detail is so precise and the West Side Story cornets are magnificent aided by the bands soprano player…and what a sop player he is.

The choral bursts through in majestic fashion and the ending almost defies description. The sheer energy that Ingar Bergby has instilled in this performance is nothing short of remarkable.

Overall: Eikanger picks up where it left off in Bergen two months ago. That was special. Very special indeed.

Christopher Thomas

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Back stage: Eikanger-Bjorsvik (Ingar Bergby)

Super smooth basses to start and a wonderfully engaging conductor to watch. Everything is picked out with such technical precision but it's a weighty sound too.

Good grief what a noise when they open up — it's huge but balanced and not crude at all. This is right up there so far — technically and musically magnificent. This is a really lovely performance with so much that just feels right about it. Probably the mot enjoyable playing I have heard all day.

Tender and shapely central section is making my hairs (ok not many) stand on end. Off we go again — electric playing now crisp, sharp and sop riding high over the top.

This is truly awesome playing from the whole band but the sop is facing me and nearly taking my face off — marvellous. That was quite something — absolutely epic performance.

Jeremy Wise


Friday 28, 19:42:51

Championship Section:

9. Tredegar (Ian Porthouse)

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Back stage: Tredegar (Ian Porthouse)

Tredegar Town take to the stage sporting seven front row cornets, seven on the back row and four trombones……we have a sneaky feeling that there could be some serious sound involved here!

The opening is shrouded in mystery and sits on a sonorous platform of bass sound that gives such structure to the sound despite the low dynamic levels. This really is a quality opening and so well shaped and coloured.

There is the feeling of an inexorable march as the Allegro progresses and the dark power that lies beneath the surface is so crucial to the musical picture the band is building here. It's ominous, darkly hued and threatening in its undertone.

Dewi Griffiths despatches the solo cornet part with authority and the 'prayer' of the Adagio devoso is deeply touching. What a gorgeous horn sound and the filigree of solo cornet entwines itself beautifully around the euphonium line.

And now the real sound is unleashed. The detail never suffers but this is edgy, white knuckle stuff that makes a massive impact. The West Side Story elements are executed with such power but its never allowed to slip out of control and the chorale is truly organ like in its depth and passion.

It's a massive 'false' climax and as with the best performances today, the pacing of the final bars is so well handled by Ian Porthouse. It leads to a conclusion of such awesome power.

Overall: What an effort from 'Tred'. Organ like in its sound and with a potent combination of commitment and execution that aligned to startlingly powerful effect. Technically commanding.

Christopher Thomas

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Back stage: Tredegar (Ian Porthouse)

Not quite the smoothest of starts but it's really nicely paced — this slow opening can be sticky but Ian Porthouse is keeping it flowing. The largest cornet section yet at 13, backed up by 4 horns and 4 troms.

There's a ton of detail and pin prick precision from the cornets and the driving percussion underpins the Stravinsky -like section. The added decoration around the solo lines is brought out and to full attention really well. In amongst the excellent detail there are a few too many clips which are starting to add up. Pity.

Odd moments of intonation appear in the central slow section and, again, those annoying little slips just take a smidge of the gloss off. The full band sound is immense and the ensemble crisp and clean as a whistle. As usual it's so well organised and sorted all the way.

The band balance is maintained with a solid middle band compensating for the difficult hall. The stop and restart after the chorale is still taking me by surprise after nine performances — it still makes no sense to me.

A really full blooded and powerful band performance with perhaps a handful too many individual clips for top honours. Some real technical prowess on display and great detail and clarity may just compensate.

A really enjoyable listen.

Jeremy Wise


Friday 28, 19:19:57

Championship Section:

8. Concord (Jesper Juul Windahl)

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Back stage: Concord (Jesper Juul Windahl)

The opening is shaped well by the MD and the atmosphere is well created. The Allegro is perhaps more about volume than accuracy though…and it has volume in spades there's no doubt about that. But it's the detail masked beneath that concerns us more.

The flugel solo is secure but heavy for our liking and we are missing a touch of emotion about this reading so far. That said, it's generally neat, tidy and together.

It's such a shame that the sounds become ever harsher as the performance progresses. We can sense the rising aggression that needs to be channelled and measured to a greater degree.

And that harshness of sound does come to have an impact on accuracy as tired embouchures kick in towards the close. The work ethic is unquestionable though. These are players giving it their all.

The chorale is effective and the build to the conclusion gets up a serious head of steam leading to a bracing final chord that has the viking contingent in the hall reaching for their helmets.

Overall: A performance of huge effort and commitment from the Danes but one that ultimately fell victim to edgy harshness.

Christopher Thomas

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Back stage: Concord (Jesper Juul Windahl)

The Danes have a job to follow that and the hall has half emptied too. They are still leaving as the band starts and the doors shut noisily in the opening.

The band are really giving their all and it is impressive stuff — the standard at this contest is so consistently high now. Again the opening to the flugel solo is more mf than p. The cornet and euph duet that follows is really lovely — emotional and longingly played with quality sound and phrasing. The band are omitting fully to this performance and it's paying off.

The West Side story section is a bit loose in the cornet ensemble at time. It stretches the technique and stamina at times and some stridency and harshness appears at the limit.

The hymn just doesn't quite move along together and the feeling is that the players are tiring and concentration is slipping a little. A hardworking effort that achieved a great deal.

Jeremy Wise


Friday 28, 18:53:19

Championship Section:

7. Valaisia Brass Band (Arsene Duc)

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Back stage: Valaisia Brass Band (Arsene Duc)

A fine opening and such subtle euphonium playing despite one clipped note. The conductor is not allowing this to wallow, moving the music along yet effectively retaining the atmosphere to telling effect. And the Allegro really hits us with humongous force. Wow this is playing of serious facility and musical power.

Sweetly intoned flugel is so nicely done if just a shade on the loud side for piano at the opening. There is a sophistication about this that impresses so much as the 'prayer' is gently sung from standing players at the front of the stage. It's heart on sleeve but in the best possible way and the stillness and sense of peace descends like a blanket over the hall.

What fantastic work from the cornet section….it's West Side Story Jim…but not as we know it.

The drive and sheer impetus of this is making such a huge impact. It seems to garner further energy as it progresses which is remarkable in itself. The 'false' climax is crushing and like Cory its the masterful pacing of Arsene Duc that is really bringing the music and performance to vivid, thrilling life.

What an ending. The Swiss flags are flying and the audience is once again on its feet. The contest is alight....game on!!!!

Overall: Holy moley what a band!! Brilliant direction from Arsene Duc and a performance of inspirational virtuosity.

Christopher Thomas

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Back stage: Valaisia Brass Band (Arsene Duc)

Quiet and ultra atmospheric opening with stylish super euph although not quite perfect its lovely nonetheless. It moves along smoothly and they start to really open up. It grabs by the throat straight away built on a massive bass and percussion underpinning sound. They are not intending to take any prisoners today.

The flugel solo is very bold indeed for the marked piano dynamic — shame as it needs that gentle touch.

The opening of the solo section is a little scruffy with couple of loose entries — super shiny euph again is lovely. When this band opens up it is a sound of huge proportions and nothing crude or overblown either. Good lord they can blow — no holds barred — it's really monumental.

All the control that Cory exercised has gone out of the door after them as this is full on 'edge of the seat' stuff. Is it too much? The hall can take it but will the judges like it? The audience clearly do as they go absolutely bonkers.

The biggest cheer and again a standing ovation. It was certainly exciting and playing of real brilliance.

Jeremy Wise


Friday 28, 18:10:21

Championship Section:

6. Cory (Philip Harper)

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Back stage: Cory (Philip Harper)

A sonorous, darkly forboding opening and the music grows and unfolds in such a natural fashion. Just the hint of a tuning issue in the trombones but the building of the intensity is so deftly done and there is something deeply unsettling about this as that initial impending sense of doom seems to darken and strengthen its grip.

What detail in the Agitato and Helen Williams delivers the flugel line with elegant simplicity. Great work from Tom Hutchinson on principal cornet and the balance and sense of colour is always so much to the fore.

There's a heart rending beauty to the Adagio devoto but its never allowed to become sentimental in any way and as the music drives on there's a feeling that the band is still holding something back to unleash on us.

And that detail is so brilliantly executed in the latter stages. The chorale radiates majesty and Philip Harper draws the broadest of sounds from his players. Steve Stewart is in overdrive on soprano.

What a great use of dynamics towards the close. The impact is like a train as the monolithic chords of the final bars project through the hall with crushing power………and the audience rises to its feet in salute. What a performance that was.

Overall: The defending champion delivers in spades. So measured, so well structured, so exciting so breathtakingly brilliant.

Christopher Thomas

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Back stage: Cory (Philip Harper)

Cory open up with the quietest start of the day and you can sense the rapt attention that the audience are giving it. It's very atmospheric but with some slight tuning issues in muted troms early on.

As usual the detail and clarity is nailed on and crystal like. It's so precise and wonderfully layered and organised. Flugel and euph duets are delivered with the tiniest of slips. It is very hard with some of the solo parts heavily accompanied to get them through and be heard. Tom Hutchinson turns out to get this done.

Super gentle opening to the lament lead by a lovely horn solo. As the band power on they really get into their stride — Steve Stewart making the audience smile with his visible energy and enthusiasm — all kicks and flicks. The chunks of West Side Story and bolted on and the best yet today. Star Wars then reappears and it's well under wraps — saving the big guns for later. For sheer brilliance of playing they stepped the level up as they so often do.

No real histrionics today but some electrifying playing from a confident band at the top of its game. Most of the crowd on their feet for the first time today.

Jeremy Wise


Friday 28, 17:47:30

Championship Section:

5. Brass Band Oberosterreich (Erik Janssen)

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Back stage: Brass Band Oberosterreich (Erik Janssen)

Fine low level dynamics to open and there is a presence about this even if it doesn't quite have that last ounce of atmosphere.

Great detail in the Allegro energico and we sense that this performance is now really finding its legs. Erik Janssen is digging deep and the Austrians are responding with playing of sonorous depth and gravitas.

What a lovely flugel solo in the Meno mosso, delivered with such simple elegance and style. The prayer of the Adagio devoto is a touch lumpy to begin but what follows flows with smooth and fluid lyricism.

The return of the faster material sees a dip in accuracy and at times, the ensemble isn't always rigidly taut. We also miss that searing drive and intensity that have marked out the two clear leaders for us so far and as a result, we are not being drawn into the performance in quite the same way.

The chorale is safely negotiated but still this is stubbornly refusing to fully engage us. It's a fine ending though to a performance that perhaps lacked that last degree of consistency today.

Overall: A fine opening from Oberosterreich but overall, a performance that wasn't able to deliver the sheer precision and involvement of the finest so far.

Christopher Thomas

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Back stage: Brass Band Oberosterreich (Erik Janssen)

The enigmatic Austrians appear this year lead by Erik Janssen and with Kirsty Abbots on the end. Her traditional cornet sound at odds with the rest of the section at times.

This is a band chock full of great players that has never quite pulled it off in the this contest. Their orchestral style and sound maybe doesn't suit the slower lyrical playing and there is a very deliberate style of production at times.

The central section just doesn't quite hang together or flow as smoothly as some today. Ensemble is uncharacteristically loose at times too. Somehow it's not an engaging performance — there is something missing from it today.

The band sound under-powered in this company and the crisp clarity and detail is not there. The slow rendering of the hymn is laboured. The muted audience reaction I think echoes my underwhelmed reaction to this performance.

Hard to put my finger on it but it didn't grab my lapels at any point — any impact was missing for me.

Jeremy Wise


Friday 28, 17:18:13

Championship Section:

4. Brighouse & Rastrick (Professor David King)

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Back stage: Professor David King with Brighouse & Rastrick

Brighouse takes to the stage with augmented ranks of five basses, five on the front row and seven on the back row.

What a mysteriously mist shrouded opening it is though. So elusive, beautifully coloured with impressive low dynamic levels and when we hit the allegro we do so with the power of a juggernaut. It's pacy, detailed, laced with stunningly wide ranging dynamics and with a searing intensity that propels the music on.

Lovely flugel solo and such sensitive accompaniment as little flecks of colour and sound emerge from the textures; this is quintessential David King in its shaping and colouring but so brilliantly delivered by the players. What a fine cornet solo. Classy and cool.

Sheona White excels. This is just oh so beautiful. The sound glows and shimmers and the emotion is palpable. You really do feel like you can reach out and touch it.

And again the transitions are so brilliantly handled. This isn't an easy piece to knit together into a convincing whole but David King is making perfect musical sense of it. The cornets deliver the taxing flying lines with wild yet crushing accuracy and the transition into the chorale (this could be Alan Morrison's parting musical gesture on soprano!) is brilliance.

The ending has the audience in raptures.

Overall: Playing of remarkable intensity from Brighouse. A humungous band sound but matched by detailed execution and such stunning use of dynamics. Marvellous stuff.

Chris Thomas

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Back stage: Brighouse & Rastrick

The fourth band take the stage with beefed up cornets and basses on Alan Morrison's farewell weekend — unless of course he does a Sinatra. This has a real growl to it — the first opening fast section is batting along — well up on tempo to the previous bands.

The excitement of this pace adds immeasurably and it's not costing detail at the moment. The benefit of the 12 strong cornet section appears as we transition into the central solo section. For the first time the soloists remain seated. Mike Eccles leaps to his feet — I spoke too soon. Their new principal cornet takes it all in her stride — she looks as cool as they come and nails it. Well done Ms Gaspoz.

As is so often the case with David King's readings we hear little snippets of detail that we haven't heard before. The euph and cornet duet is lovingly played and shaped. Real emotive shaping.

Playing two sops pays off with the upper octave carrying over the band when needed. Mr Morrison playing with the lungs of a teenager. It's a powerhouse show at times but there is a ton of character and detail. Moods are fully captured — menacing when needed.

An excellent performance with the debutante principal cornet showing what a massive talent she is — boy can she play. Directed with the usual flair and attention to detail.

Jeremy Wise


Friday 28, 16:51:46

Championship Section:

3. Paris Brass Band (Florient Didier)

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What a stylish opening, so atmospheric and played with a real sense of Gallic style. The security of the exposed individual entries is never in question and Florent Didier allows the tension to build to a climax of such power.

As we progress into the Agitato the rhythmic drive is searingly tense, there's a mechanical, crushing power to this that strikes at the very heart and the dynamic control as the MD cranks up the band sound is ear opening.

What fine solo contributions from flugel, euphonium and cornet. Beautifully shaped and phrased from all three and with nothing out of place.

As the slow music progresses it simply envelopes us in a velevt blanket of sound, with playing of such heartfelt sincerity, delicacy and emotion. The lyrical style and shaping of the melodic lines is touching in its simplicity.

And as the fast music returns so does that searing sense of intensity…wowee!!! What fine work from the cornet section. This is devastatingly powerful and the detail and accuracy is seriously impressive.

It's such a natural evolution into the chorale and we just love what the MD is doing with this. My goodness, the climax is huge and now that push for the end which is inexorable in its quest for resolution. A simply awesome conclusion.

Overall: Stunning playing from the Parisians and directed with such élan and musical awareness by Florent Didier.

Chris Thomas

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Back stage: Paris Brass Band

The French are renowned as arbiters of style and elegance — Paris Brass Band can't have read that script with their black shirts and white tie it's all a bit Al Capone for me. However, they can really play and have given some outstanding performances at this event over recent years.

It's a super smooth start with a classy euph shining immediately. We hear new details straight away — it's precise and well considered. It's another band with some imported help with Harmen Vanhoorne bumping up. The band flies through the technical detail and there is a massive climax before the central solo section.

The standard of the soloists in this band is right up there — beautiful shapely playing from all corners — really emotive stuff. This is an object lesson in working out how to make the music speak — the clarity and definition is being heard for the first time.

It's not an easy piece to negotiate with some very random gear changes and transitions that don't sit comfortably at all. It sounds at times like it was written in sections and then they were taped together.

A performance that shone through detail and outstanding soloists. Superbly led by the MD throughout.

Jeremy Wise


Friday 28, 16:30:53

The composers:


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Paul Hindmarsh is sandwiched in between the two features set-work composers this weekend, Kevin Houben and Bart Picquer


Friday 28, 16:25:29

Championship Section:

2. 3BA Concert (Thomas Ludescher)

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Back stage: 3BA Concert (Thomas Ludescher)

The German band takes to the stage with a little help from the the UK with Martin Britt on soprano and Thomas Fountain on principal cornet.

The opening just needs to grow a little more organically; this isn't quite capturing the atmosphere as we suspect the best performances will today. Good approach to the Agitato but not all of the detail is heard with clarity, especially in the cornets.

Flugel and euphonium rise to their feet although the soloists do not quite emerge unscathed. Thomas Fountain turns in a quality cornet solo although his upper register is lost behind the band.

And balance is proving to be one of the problems with this performance. The ensemble is a little ragged in places and the inner detail is not always audible, although in the band's defence, the acoustic of the hall is possibly not helping. And neither will the fact that the adjudicator's box is placed at the very back of the hall beneath a canopy.

The chorale is big boned but we'd like to hear more intensity of emotion rather than sheer volume and again the detail as we approach the close is sometimes not crystalline in its execution. What a fine ending though, delivered with real authority and dynamism.

Overall: A very creditable attempt from the German band on its Championship Section European debut. Detail and accuracy were not always pristine but there was commitment in spades.

Chris Thomas

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Back stage: 3BA Concert (Thomas Ludescher)

The Germans of 3BA (with a little help from Messrs Fountain and Britt) set off and immediately it's a lighter sound and texture. The sombre slow opening suits this style. Nicely done — clean and balanced. It adds some transparency being less dense sounding.

Once again there is some lovely solo playing but also moments that wobble. Tom Fountain has such a lovely sound and style. Some other soloists need to mirror his lyrical style as it tends to lack the needed smooth line in places. This is a band that improves every time I hear them. It doesn't have the weight of sound of the top bands but has come so far in the last five years.

Once again a lot of the faster detail is getting lost with the unhelpful acoustic. The references to Spectrum, Of Ancient Times and Star Wars to name a few are easy to pick out. As a first time performance in the championship it was a creditable effort which will give them a decent platform to build on tomorrow.

A tidy performance on a smaller scale than Buizingen with some very stylish soloists and excellent percussion.

Jeremy Wise


Friday 28, 15:57:40

Championship Section:

1. Brass Band Buizingen (Luc Vertommen)

There's the slightest touch of hesitation about the quiet opening but the drama gradually begins to unfold with authority and the demons are released with savage power. This no holds barred stuff.

There is fine detail through the inner parts and the drive is so impressive. Huge climax into the meno mosso and the flugel soloist does well. Just the occasional little hesitations where notes don't quite speak.......tiny but these are things that could prove crucial today.

What fine inner detail from euphoniums as the fast music returns, so clear through the textures and the band sound really hits us between the eyes. There's an intense, raging anger about this that is forcing the music on with relentless energy. It just gets a little untidy momentarily but the sudden release of tension as a chorale sounds through the band stops the music in its tracks and suddenly the atmosphere morphs into something very different.

The relief is temporary though and the onward drive to the final climax is crushing powerful.

Overall: A fine opening account from the local Belgian team. Hugely dynamic with just the slightest slips.

Chris Thomas

Local boys and girls Buizingen take the stage to give the premier of Where Angels Fly by Kevin Houben. They drew to play last in the own choice last year but find themselves at the other end today. Following a solid 4th last year they will be hoping for that again at least, or maybe even better on home soil. They came 3rd last year on the set test but dropped to 7th for the own choice.

Here we go — lovely smooth and rich basses start us off but the first note is clonked by the bari. The band has a lovely warm sound but we are losing a lot of the detail in this acoustic. Early impressions of the hall are that it sucks up the sound like a hoover. The central solo section features standing flugel, cornet and euph and is well played but with a few clips.

This is a hard hall for the upward facing instruments to be heard — the sound disappears up behind a hanging board at the front of the stage. The piece takes some listening to as it seems to be a number of unconnected ideas with fast angular sections followed by a short hymn like chorale that suddenly drops in from nowhere and builds to seeming finish but then the piece carries on.

You can see that they are giving it their all but it doesn't get loud where we are sat due to the acoustics of the hall. The adjudicators are right up the back under a shelf making their job doubly difficult.

Clearly a good band but so hard to get the detail due to the building. The band that conquers the acoustic will do well today.

Jeremy Wise


Friday 28, 15:41:57

Championship Section:

Test Piece: 'Where Angels Fly' (Kevin Houben)
Kursaal Concert Hall
Draw: 12.30pm
Commence: 4pm (local time)

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Adjudicators:
Torgny Hansen, Jan Van der Roost, Dr Roger Webster

Draw:

1. Brass Band Buizingen (Luc Vertommen)
2. 3BA Concert (Thomas Ludescher)
3. Paris Brass Band (Florient Didier)
4. Brighouse & Rastrick (Professor David King)
5. Brass Band Oberosterreich (Erik Janssen)
6. Cory (Philip Harper)
7. Valaisia Brass Band (Arsene Duc)
8. Concord (Jesper Juul Windahl)
9. Tredegar (Ian Porthouse)
10. Eikanger-Bjorsvik (Ingar Bergby)
11. Brass Band Willebroek (Frans Violet)
12. Brass Band Schoonhoven (Ivan Meylemans)


Friday 28, 15:15:57

A meeting of musical minds...

4BR Editor Iwan Fox meets up with composers Gavin Higgins and Simon Dobson to talk about their works being played at the contest this weekend. The duo also lament the lack of works that have been played at this contest by female composers.


Friday 28, 14:55:44

Interview with Raf van Looveren:

4BR catches up with the Belgian conductor of this year's European Youth Brass Band.


Friday 28, 14:48:29

The lull before the storm...

We are in that strange little period before the action starts at the contest — when all the last minute preparing work has been done and that is left is to wait for the minutes to tick away on the clock.

The European Youth Band are currently on stage rehearsing for the Gala Concert on Sunday night with trumpet player Jeroen Berwaerts.


Friday 28, 14:32:47

EYBB in Rehearsal

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Jeroen Berwaerts with the European Youth Brass Band

Belgian trumpeter Jeroen Berwaerts repertoire encompasses every epoch, from baroque music to contemporary music and jazz. Here 4BR capture him in relaxed mood as he rehearses with the European Youth Brass Band preparing for the gala concert performance.


Friday 28, 13:37:18

Conductors Competition

Before the set test contest later today we look back to yesterday evening when 4BR Editor Iwan Fox took the opportunity to meet with the finalists of the Conductors Competition shortly after the announcement of the results.


Friday 28, 13:21:18

Friday schedule

With the day unfolding with a relaxed air the attention begins to turn towards the pending Championship Section bands.

3.00pm ' 3.30pm: EBBC Composer's talk (Kursaal Oostende) will certainly be a well attended event before the hall fills from 4.00pm ' 10.00pm: EBBC Championship Section: Set-Piece ('Where Angels Fly' by Kevin Houben)


Friday 28, 11:29:32

Interview with Tim Kelly:

4BR Editor Iwan Fox catches up with Tim Kelly of www.brassbanned.com who will be providing the live streaming of the main events at the European Championships in Oostende.


Friday 28, 10:56:42

Opening Ceremony:

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Behind the scenes the stage is being prepared for the contest performances

The opening ceremony will be kicking off at 11.00am when all the great and good of European banding will meet for the opening speeches and the all important draw for the set-work for the Championship Section and the Challenge Sections.

Lots of clinking of glasses, odd accents and the usual universal European sense of schadenfreude as one band draws out Kelly's Eye from the draw bag...


Friday 28, 09:11:08

Press Conference:

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The main foyer in the Kursaal, Ostend

The 4BR Editor has made the early morning trip to the Kursaal for the annual EBBA Press Conference.

Time to ask a few questions then. Prize money, EU funding, youth participation just to start...


Friday 28, 07:31:12

Championship Own Choice

Whilst 'Where Angels Fly' by Kevin Houben provides the set test for the bands later today, we take the opportunity to introduce the Championship Own Choice works.

4BR Editor Iwan Fox takes you through the own-choice selections being played at this year's event in Oostende.

Introduction to Goldberg 2012

Introduction to Fraternity

Introduction to The Triumph of Time

Introduction to Journey of the Lone Wolf

Introduction to Destination Moon

Introduction to Dial 'H' for Hitchcock

Introduction to A Brussels Requiem

Introduction to The Turing Test for Brass Band & Percussion

Introduction to HorrorShow

Introduction to Prophecies

Introduction to Visitations from Beyond


Friday 28, 07:13:20

Goeije morn

Good morning (Morning greeting) in West Flemish from another chilly start in Oostende.

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Today the schedule includes the EBBA Press Conference, Opening Ceremony and a Brass Conference before the EBBC Championship Section: Set-Piece contest commences this afternoon with 'Where Angels Fly' by Kevin Houben testing the bands.


Friday 28, 00:26:49

That's it for tonight

So the first European title of the festival in Oostende goes to Spain — with the excellent conducting duo of Carlos-Alberto Ramon Perez taking the 3000 Euro first prize and Borje Martinez Alegre coming second. Maxime Pitois was third in a contest that certainly showed that there are conductors of high quality willing to enter a competition that adds a shine of European prestige on their CV.

Congratulations to everyone involved — conductors, band and the European Youth Band for a fine night of musical competition and entertainment.

We will be back in the morning to report on the EBBA Press Conference and more.... much, much, more


Thursday 27, 22:46:34

Conductor Competition: Result

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Winning Conductor: Carlos-Alberto Ramon Perez

1. Carlos-Alberto Ramon Perez (Spain)
2. Borja Martinez-Alegre (Spain)
3. Maxime Pitois (France)

Band Prize: Maxime Pitois (France)
Audience Prize: Carlos-Alberto Ramon Perez (Spain)

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The three finalists take their awards


Thursday 27, 22:09:55

Result: Interlude

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Before the results are announced the European Youth Brass Band give a short concert

The result will be announced in a little while after we have enjoyed a short concert given by the European Youth Brass Band.


Thursday 27, 21:44:47

Conductor Competition:

Round up:

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A final word before the judges leave to deliberate

A trio of impressive conductors on show here — each as we said, that you suspect have already benefited from extensive training in their formative years. Given that they were 28, 29 and 27 respectively, that means plenty of hours with a baton in their hands — and it showed.

They only had 30 minutes each with the band today, so given the complexity of the pieces they had to work on, that was also a very impressive achievement — as was the way in which they don't let any of the little moments of unease and misfortune faze them.

We go for Monsieur Pitois are our winner — but the other two were very good indeed. Whether we see any of them in front of a brass band at the European Championships sometime in the future though is a harder question to answer.


Thursday 27, 21:18:17

Conductors Competition:

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3. Carlos-Alberto Ramon Perez (Spain) — 'Cloudcatcher Fells' (John McCabe)

The second Spaniard of the night projects a controlled sense of musical persona over both the score and band.

Much like the other finalists, you suspect he has been through a proper conducting training regime in his formative years. Signor Ramon Perez is 27 and shows a substantial amount of maturity in his conducting style and technique — deliberately structured, compact, clear and defined. No great amount of flamboyance either — something that holds him in fine stead with such an imposing work.

He handles the changes in tempo and style between the movements very well and isn't fazed by the occasional signs of tiredness and loss of concentration from the hard working band. He finally brings things to a boil to close in what was another fine show of disciplined conducting.


Thursday 27, 20:57:58

Conductors Competition:

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2. Maxime Pitois (France) — 'In Memoriam RK' (Elgar Howarth)

There is a touch of Gallic flair and expression about Monsieur Pitois — from the elongated gestures with baton and left hand to the intensity of emotion shown on his face.

He is not afraid to get his head out of the score either — a sure sign of confidence and ability on such a demanding and complex work. Remember — the conductors have only had 30 minutes to work on the piece with the band.

He neatly negotiates the tricky corners and passing junctions with clarity and understanding — and doesn't over-indulge in misplaced pathos either. A few little moments when uncertainty crept in the ensemble, but there was an obvious connection to both the music and the band on display right through to the deceptively difficult end.

Impressive Monsieur, tres formidable...


Thursday 27, 20:41:36

Conductors Competition:

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1. Borja Martinez-Alegre (Spain) — 'Pageantry' (Herbert Howells)

The small, but elegantly expressive conductor from Valencia is a thoughtful presence in front of the band — his dark eyes lighting up with intense emotion as he leads the players through the Howells classic.

There are a couple of moments in each section that test — from an errant sop entry in 'King's Herald', nervous baritones to open the 'Cortege' and some oddly Chinese sounding troms, but he keeps his cool and allows the music to flow. Nothing flashy or overdone with the style — just admirably compact; baton work clear in the right mitt, left hand for expression and dynamic sign language.

'Jousts' is tempered in dynamic and style — showcasing his control in what was a fine, respectful interpretation by a very impressive conductor with such a well defined musical character.

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Starting the contest with the small, but elegantly expressive conductor from Valencia


Thursday 27, 20:29:39

Conductor's Competition:

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The judges are now in place

We are just a few minutes away from the start of the conductors competition — with a decent sized audience in their seats as the band get ready to take the stage...

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NoordLimburgse Brassband get ready to take the stage


Thursday 27, 20:24:39

Interview with Viggo Bjorge

4BR Editor Iwan Fox talks to Eikanger Bjorsvik Musikklag Band Manager Viggo Bjorge about the pride his band has in representing their country at the European Championships. He also reveals a little about his European experiences and how the band is now sporting some wonderful Nordic knitwear.


Thursday 27, 20:20:20

Interview with Magnus Brandseth

4BR Editor Iwan Fox talks to Norwegian tuba star Magnus Brandseth about the new Sterling Tuba which he has helped develop and bring to the market place.


Thursday 27, 20:16:58

Interview with Thomas Beiganz

4BR Editor Iwan Fox meets up with Thomas Beiganz, Band Manager of Austrian National Champion Brass Band Oberosterreich.


Thursday 27, 18:43:07

Interview with Frode Rydland

4BR Editor Iwan Fox catches up with the Frode Rydland former sop star with Eikanger Bjorsvik Musikklag and now one of the members of the EBBA Music Commission, to talk about the selection of the test pieces for this year's event.


Thursday 27, 18:31:06

European Conductors Competition: Rehearsal

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NoordLimburgse Brassband, with Boja Martinez-Alegre from Spain prepare for the performance of 'Pageantry' by Herbert Howells


Thursday 27, 17:15:11

European Conductors Competition:

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Conducting the skies above

4BR will be at the European Conductors Competition in Oostende this evening. We are currently at the venue as the three finalists go through their final rehearsal preparations.


Thursday 27, 15:02:41

Interview with Stein Skorpholm

4BR Editor Iwan Fox catches up with the Stein Skorpholm — the man who will be the master of ceremonies and the compere for the weekend in Oostende. He also tells Iwan Fox about some of his interesting European experiences.


Thursday 27, 13:50:55

Welcome to Ostend

4BR Editor Iwan Fox sets the scene for the forthcoming action at the 40th European Brass Band Championships in Oostende.


Thursday 27, 07:48:40

European Conductors Competition

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The three finalists line up for action later tonight

The final of the European Conductors Competition takes place later tonight at the De Grote Post auditorium in Oostende — just a short distance from the main Kursaal. It's an 8.30pm start.

We have been informed that standard on show has been excellent, with the initial field of 14 contenders whittled down through three rounds of brass, string and wind ensemble to a final trio.

They will each in turn conduct the Championship Section NoordLimburgse Brassband, with Boja Martinez-Alegre from Spain (centre) tackling 'Pageantry' by Herbert Howells. Maxime Pitois (right) from France will be faced with 'In Memoriam RK' by Elgar Howarth, with Carlos Alberto Ramon-Perez (left) leading with 'Cloudcatcher Fells' by John McCabe.

(Image from EBBA)


Thursday 27, 07:29:16

A warm and also chilly welcome in Oostende

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A warm welcome from Oostende

The last time the European Championships were held in Oostende the sun shone brightly and players and supporters were able to take a stroll along the seafront outside the Kursaal Hall in shirtsleeves.

This year we've already had hailstones, rain and a chill wind that is as cold as Bergen in February. It's been a bit nippy to say the least.

Still, there has been a wonderful warm welcome from the people of the port city for the first bands who have made it here (and the taxis are remarkably cheap from the train station) and the first European title of the festival will be decided later tonight with the final of the Conductor's Competition.

The night life is a bit colourful too (we enjoyed a very nice Italian meal) but we haven't dared step inside the local casino to find out what the odds on the bands in the Championship Section...

We will be having another good look around today and seeing who we can meet up with before heading to the Conductors Final this evening.


Wednesday 26, 15:15:17

Back into Europe

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The 4BR team has managed to come from various points of the UK to arrive at Oostende Station

The 4BR team has managed to come from various points of the UK to meet at St Pancras station hop aboard the Eurostar train to Brussels. It's then a short trip up to Oostende where we will start our coverage of the 40th European Brass Band Championships.

So much to look forward to over the next few days — from prospect of some fantastic competitive music making to the chance to enjoy the wonderful ice cream next door to the Kursaal Hall (if it's still open from 2009!)

We will bring you all our views and opinions, analysis and images — and make sure you log in and follow the live streaming action too. Now to enjoy a few waffles....


Wednesday 26, 14:50:32

Schedule

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Wednesday 26th April:

(All local times)
5.30pm: Concert — European Youth Brass Band
6.30pm: Semi Final: European Conductor Competition
8.00pm: Last Post Ceremony — European Youth Brass Band

Thursday 27th April:

8.30pm: European Conductors Competition — Final (De Grote Post Oostende)
European Youth Brass Band Concert followed by Award Ceremony

Friday 28th April:

9.00am — 10:00am: EBBA Press Conference (Kursaal Oostende)
11.00am — 1.00pm: Opening Ceremony and draw (by invitation only) — Delvaux (Kursaal Oostende)
1.30pm — 3.00pm: Brass Conference (Kursaal Oostende)
3.00pm — 3.30pm: EBBC Composer's talk (Kursaal Oostende)
4.00pm — 10.00pm: EBBC Championship Section: Set-Piece ('Where Angels Fly' by Kevin Houben)

Saturday 29th April:

8.00am — 8.15am: Draw for EBBC Championship Section own choice (invitation only) — Kursaal Oostende
9.00am — 12.30pm: EBBC Challenge Section Own Choice plus set test 'Insomnia' by Bart Picqueur
12.30pm — 6.00pm: EBBC Championship Section Own Choice (Kursaal Oostende)
8.30pm — 10.30pm: Gala Concert featuring Cory Band and European Youth Band (Kursaal Oostende) with Jeroen Berwaerts and Colette Dedyn followed by Award Ceremony
11.00pm: Brass Party (Kursaal Oostende)

Sunday 30th April:

8.00am — 9.15am: EBBA General Meeting (Kursaal Oostende)
9.30am — 12.30pm: European Youth Brass Band Contest (Kursaal Oostende) — Development Section
1.00pm — 3.20pm: European Youth Brass Band Contest (Kursaal Oostende) — Premier Section
3.30pm — 4.30pm: Farewell Concert European Youth Brass Band (Kursaal Oostende) followed by Award Ceremony



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


Darren R. Hawken

PGdip, BMus(hons) PGCE, dipABRSM, LRSM
Conductor, Arranger, Teacher, Adjudicator, Band Trainer