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2017 British Open Championship
As it happened

All the action from the 2017 British Open Championship — As it happened.

Saturday 9, 21:49:12

History made in Birmingham...

It really has been a historic day at Symphony Hall as Valaisia becomes the first European band to claim the most famous gold shield in the banding world.

It really is a seismic result — one that will shock waves through elite British banding. There was also a superb result for Grand Shield winners Whitburn, who were many people's dark horse to come high up in the prizes, whilst Cory will wonder if they could have done anything more in the defence of their title.

Brighouse rounded the day off in fourth with Foden's a fine fifth and Grimethorpe sixth.

What a contest. What a test piece. What a result.

That's it from us. Hope you enjoyed our coverage. Time to discuss the day over a few pints....


Saturday 9, 20:08:15

Result:

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Saturday 9th September
Test Piece: 'Fraternity' — Thierry Deleruylle

Adjudicators: Paul Cosh, Ray Farr, Stephen Roberts

1. Valaisia Brass Band (Arsene Duc)
2. Whitburn (Florent Didier)
3. Cory (Philip Harper)
4. Brighouse & Rastrick (Prof David King)
5. Foden's (Bramwell Tovey)
6. Grimethorpe Colliery (Allan Withington)
7. Carlton Main Frickley Colliery (Erik Janssen)
8. Tredegar (Ian Porthouse)
9. Desford Colliery (Leicestershire Miners Trust Fund) (Michael Fowles)
10. Leyland (Thomas Wyss)
11. Fairey (Garry Cutt)
12. Rothwell Temperance (David Roberts)
13. Wingates (Paul Andrews)
14. Flowers (David Childs)
15. Milnrow (Mark Bentham)
16. Co-operative Funeralcare (Allan Ramsay)
17. Black Dyke (Prof Nicholas J. Childs)
18. Jaguar Land Rover (Dave Lea)

*Relegated to the Grand Shield: Jaguar Land Rover and Milnrow

*to be officially confirmed

Stanley Wainwright Memorial Trophy: Roger Webster (cornet): Grimethorpe Colliery
Brian Evans Memorial Trophy: Connor Lennon (Carlton Main Frickley)
The Geoffrey Whitham Memorial Trophy: Steven Walsh (Desford)


Saturday 9, 19:07:21

Band 18. Brighouse & Rastrick

Conductor: Prof David King

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On stage: Brighouse & Rastrick

Black Land opens in impressive fashion, laden with atmosphere and with subtle percussion enhancing the musical picture.

The Towering Colliery comes into view grimly and we hear magnificent trombone sounds at the heart of the band sound.

Cornet solo in From Light to Dark impresses initially but there's a nasty moment at the end although the transition into Extracting the Coal is well handled.

Extracting the Coal itself is not always at ease with ensemble not as rigid as the finest of what have been a handful of fabulous performances at the top of the table today.

By contrast however Firedamp has magnificent drive and clarity and there's a sense of relentless terror that pervades here leading into a sonorous trombone chorale as the mourners gather to grieve for the dead.

Fraternity Prayer opens well but as it progresses doesn't quite have that last ounce of magic that has marked out the very front runners for us today. It's fine but possibly not quite fine enough.

Overall: An account of drama and drive from Brighouse but one that might not have done quite enough to be a serious contender today.

Christopher Thomas

 

Criteria Mark Sheet

Marks by Steven Mead

Technical accuracy:18
Rhythmic precision and clarity:18
Control of full dynamic range:19
Ensemble precision:19
Tuning/intonation:19
Band sound quality:19
Balance/clarity of textures:19
Quality of soloists:18
Overall understanding:19
Total musicality from the band:18

Total:186

Conductor: Prof David King

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Conductor: Prof David King



Saturday 9, 18:38:23

Band 17. Carlton Main Frickley Colliery

Conductor: Erik Jannsen

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On stage: Carlton Main Frickley Colliery

A solid opening if not the most atmospheric we've heard today and Black Land proceeds without major incident.

The Towering Colliery impresses in its sound and this is coming across as a workmanlike performance whilst not grabbing us with its emotion or engagement at this stage.

Kirsty Abbots is a fine cornet soloist in From Light to Dark and the transition into Extracting the Coal is well handled.

As Extracting the Coal progresses however the ensemble isn't always totally secure but there is so much energy here, energy that continues to play its part in Firedamp as there's a real sense of terror as the flames roar through the mine shaft. At times this is really capturing our imagination.

Trombones are initially a touch tentative at the opening of the chorale as the mourners gather; a shame but solo cornet again impresses at the opening of Fraternity Prayer, whilst the emotion is wrought from the final paragraphs in impressive fashion before nasty cornet clips mar an otherwise fine conclusion.

Overall: A committed and at times vividly exciting show from Carlton Main. Not without insecurities but well conceived musically and performed with passion.

Christopher Thomas

 

Criteria Mark Sheet

Marks by Steven Mead

Technical accuracy:17
Rhythmic precision and clarity:17
Control of full dynamic range:16
Ensemble precision:17
Tuning/intonation:18
Band sound quality:18
Balance/clarity of textures:18
Quality of soloists:19
Overall understanding:18
Total musicality from the band:19

Total:177

Conductor: Erik Jannsen

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Conductor: Erik Jannsen


Saturday 9, 18:09:00

Band 16. Leyland

Conductor: Thomas Wyss

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On stage: Leyland

The opening of Black Land is a touch heavy in the basses, although the atmosphere settles and solo euphonium plays with flair heading into The Towering Colliery.

A nasty moment in the trombones grates and it's not all entirely comfortable but there's a sense of purpose about this that impresses.

Extracting the Coal flies along but not always with complete synchronicity. Yet there is that sense of musical purpose and rugged power on display that drags us along with the performance. It certainly has bags of guts and commitment.

Firedamp is right on the edge at times. It's fast and mighty furious and doesn't always quite click again but Thomas Wyss injects that vital lifeblood that is energy into the playing.

Tuning is problematic as the bodies are brought to the surface, quite painfully so at one point, although the ending is wrought with intensity of emotion. There have been moments of quality here but also basic problems that got in the way.

Overall: A performance that really threw the shackles off. Leyland needed a good one and they went for it but basics, notably tuning, marred the musical picture at times.

Christopher Thomas

 

Criteria Mark Sheet

Marks by Steven Mead

Technical accuracy:17
Rhythmic precision and clarity:17
Control of full dynamic range:18
Ensemble precision:17
Tuning/intonation:14
Band sound quality:18
Balance/clarity of textures:17
Quality of soloists:18
Overall understanding:18
Total musicality from the band:17

Total:171

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Conductor: Thomas Wyss


Saturday 9, 17:41:53

Band 15. Grimethorpe Colliery

Conductor: Allan Withington

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On stage: Grimethorpe Colliery.

What space the opening Black Land is given. Fine opening basses and the atmosphere is created through allowing the music to breathe and find the dark mystery and sense of foreboding that lies at its heart.

Roger Webster excels at the opening of From Light to Dark. Delicacy and security aligned followed by a fine transition into Extracting the Coal.

And now we really hear the detail. Some of the interjections through the textures are so effective and the dynamics are judged with brilliance aiding the musical picture to telling effect. At times it's electrifying stuff.

Percussion open Firedamp in scintillating fashion and we are again struck by the clarity of the detail. This is simply bristling with energy, drive and precision and proceeds with relentless, terrifying power before it closes in ghostly, eerie stillness.

That still, haunting atmosphere continues as the bodies are brought up from the mine with subdued, grieving trombones and such sweetness from solo cornet as the Fraternity Prayer unfolds. This is holding the audience rapt as does a radiantly affirmative conclusion.

Overall: Playing of majestic brilliance from Grimethorpe who respond to Allan Withington's presence in magnificent style. This has captured the narrative of the story with telling compassion and intensity.

Christopher Thomas

 

Criteria Mark Sheet

Marks by Steven Mead

Technical accuracy:19
Rhythmic precision and clarity:20
Control of full dynamic range:20
Ensemble precision:19
Tuning/intonation:19
Band sound quality:20
Balance/clarity of textures:19
Quality of soloists:20
Overall understanding:19
Total musicality from the band:19

Total:194

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Conductor: Allan Withington



Saturday 9, 17:10:24

Band 14. Wingates

Conductor: Paul Andrews

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On stage: Wingates

Black Land is secure through dynamics rather than atmosphere and as the site of The Towering Colliery appears issues with tuning threaten to undermine the musical picture with hit and miss entries also skewing the musical landscape.

Cornet solo opening From Light to Dark is a struggle and ensemble is never quite secure as we progress through Extracting the Coal to a tentative and at times wayward Firedamp. This just isn't slotting into the groove as it needs to but we can see and sense that the players are giving it everything.

Tuning is again a problem as the bodies are lifted from the mine and has been one of the main issues throughout the performance, as it is in the closing bars of the piece.

Overall: A tough lesson in the rigours of Open competition for the Grand Shield runner up with a performance that wasn't able to get to grips with the detail or emotional content of the score.

Christopher Thomas

 

Criteria Mark Sheet

Marks by Steven Mead

Technical accuracy:16
Rhythmic precision and clarity:15
Control of full dynamic range:16
Ensemble precision:16
Tuning/intonation:14
Band sound quality:16
Balance/clarity of textures:16
Quality of soloists:16
Overall understanding:16
Total musicality from the band:16

Total:157

Conductor: Paul Andrews

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Conductor: Paul Andrews


Saturday 9, 17:04:44

Band 13. Jaguar Land Rover

Conductor: Dave Lea

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On stage: Jaguar Land Rover

Black Land opens well with basses a touch heavy but secure and solo euphonium leads well into The Towering Colliery which again opens convincingly with granite like sounds and good balance.

Solo horn does well into From Light to Darkness with solo cornet not quite secure in the exposed opening solo. Tuning is not always comfortable in the coalescing me,Odis lines that follow but the transition into Extracting the Coal is well handled.

The opening lacks the necessary rhythmic drive and the ensemble is insecure at times as a result. There's commitment in abundance but it is so difficult to convince with this section if it is not totally rigid with the same true of Firedamp which gets very edgy as it progresses.

Trombones not perfectly balanced or in tune as the bodies are lifted from the mine and the atmosphere is unsettled here.

Cornet gives us a good start to Fraternity Prayer but as it progresses tentative moments again creep in.

Overall: A performance of clear musical intent but one that was ultimately dogged by too many basic issues of tuning and imprecise ensemble.

Christopher Thomas

 

Criteria Mark Sheet

Marks by Steven Mead

Technical accuracy:15
Rhythmic precision and clarity:17
Control of full dynamic range:16
Ensemble precision:16
Tuning/intonation:17
Band sound quality:17
Balance/clarity of textures:16
Quality of soloists:17
Overall understanding:17
Total musicality from the band:16

Total:164

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Conductor: Dave Lea


Saturday 9, 16:28:00

Band 12. Valaisia Brass Band

Conductor: Arsene Duc

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On stage: Valaisia Brass Band

Opening basses impress and it's certainly clean but not possibly the most atmospheric account of Black Land we've heard today.

The Towering Colliery hits like a juggernaut. This is seriously loud, too much so perhaps. A little more attention to balance and sonority might be more beneficial but it's weight and sheer impact is undeniable.

Somewhat inexplicably, the solo cornet rises to his feet for the solo at the opening of From Light to Dark. Does this really aid the music? We think not and the sound is somewhat strident despite the security of the playing.

Extracting the Coal is occasionally wayward as some flying entries don't quite hit the spot and the result is of a band that is almost trying too hard, despite the obvious technical brilliance that is often displayed.

Again Firedamp is technically dazzling but it's so loud and we don't get the contrasts of dynamics that along with the precision are essential to the success of the faster central sections of the piece.

Trombones turn inward as the bodies are lifted from the mine and Fraternity Prayer is fragile, even a touch hesitant at times, not truly affecting us emotionally as we hoped the band would. It's a fine concluding peroration though and draws wild cheers from the Swiss contingent that appear to be in the hall in numbers.

Overall:
Playing of technical brilliance at times but we needed to hear more of the music's humanity and emotion over and above sheer volume and sound.

Christopher Thomas

 

Criteria Mark Sheet

Marks by Steven Mead

Technical accuracy:19
Rhythmic precision and clarity:19
Control of full dynamic range:19
Ensemble precision:20
Tuning/intonation:19
Band sound quality:19
Balance/clarity of textures:18
Quality of soloists:19
Overall understanding:18
Total musicality from the band:17

Total:187

Conductor: Arsene Duc

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Conductor: Arsene Duc



Saturday 9, 15:45:08

Band 11. Co-op Funeralcare

Conductor: Allan Ramsay

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On stage: Desford Colliery (Leicestershire Miners Trust Fund)

A shaky opening as the Bb basses fail to speak clearly and the whole of Black Land has a feeling of tentative nerves about it.

The Towering Colliery settles the band down and this is so much better as the performance starts to garner a touch more direction and purpose.

Cornet solo is adequate to open From Light to Dark but Extracting the Coal is loose and lacking in rhythmic cohesion, the music losing its machine like drive and energy as a result. All too often it's volume here that is the substitute for detail. Firedamp again loses its momentum and percussion, notably xylophone, is often not on the same page as the MD.

More sound and sonority is needed from the trombones as the bodies are lifted from mine and Fraternity Prayer loses its emotion as a result of solo voices that fail to speak and lumpy textures, with the cornet section straining in the approach to the final statement.

Overall: An error strewn account from Scottish Co-op that failed to enable from the opening bars.

Christopher Thomas

 

Criteria Mark Sheet

Marks by Steven Mead

Technical accuracy:15
Rhythmic precision and clarity:16
Control of full dynamic range:16
Ensemble precision:17
Tuning/intonation:15
Band sound quality:16
Balance/clarity of textures:16
Quality of soloists:16
Overall understanding:16
Total musicality from the band:16

Total:159

Conductor: Allan Ramsay

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Conductor: Allan Ramsay


Saturday 9, 15:32:22

10. Desford Colliery (Leicestershire Miners Trust Fund)

Conductor: Michael Fowles

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On stage: Desford Colliery (Leicestershire Miners Trust Fund)

The familiar red handkerchief of Kevin Crockford is visible on soprano cornet and Black Land opens effectively with excellent percussion and solo euphonium creates a haunting atmosphere of desolation.

Well balanced band sounds in The Towering Colliery and this is impressive stuff. Controlled but with a sense of purpose and grit at its core.

Extracting the Coal just loses rhythmic cohesion at times although the tutti's are once again impressive as the band unleashes its full throated sound.

A little more contrast of dynamic called for in the opening percussive bars of Firedamp and again, this loses its rhythmic cohesion at times but this is a convincing musical account, well thought out and directed from the middle.

What fine dynamics at the opening of Fraternity Prayer! So few bands have truly taken risks with this today but this is so effective as a result of that. The emotion is there and it's an ending of affirmative triumph.

Overall:
A reading of impressive emotional scale from Desford. A little loose at times in the technical sections but with dynamic risks that paid off and a fine affirmative ending.

Christopher Thomas

 

Criteria Mark Sheet

Marks by Steven Mead

Technical accuracy:17
Rhythmic precision and clarity:17
Control of full dynamic range:18
Ensemble precision:18
Tuning/intonation:18
Band sound quality:18
Balance/clarity of textures:18
Quality of soloists:18
Overall understanding:18
Total musicality from the band:18

Total:178

Conductor: Michael Fowles

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Conductor: Michael Fowles


Saturday 9, 14:53:59

Half-Way Round-Up

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Besson 180th Anniversary Limited Edition Instruments

'Fraternity' is proving to be every bit the success that we thought it would be in Symphony Hall.
It's been fascinating first half of contesting with the finest of performances, for us, being those that have found the emotion drama and narrative in what is a powerfully passionate score.

In this respect Cory lead the way by a considerable margin as we go into the second half.

Chris Thomas — Top Six

1.Cory
2.Foden's
3.Black Dyke
4.Fairey
5.Whitburn
6.Flowers



Saturday 9, 14:44:03

Band 9. Cory

Conductor: Philip Harper

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On stage: Cory

The opening sends an immediate chill down the spine. This is so eerie, so haunted and so musically affecting. What an opening.

The Towering Colliery is simply immense. What a band sound! The impact is both immense and intense. So much space and so much sound whilst Helen Williams permeates the textures so beautifully in the spine tingling closing bars before From Light to Dark.

Fine opening cornet solo and the tension of the build to Extracting the Coal is so effective and quite unlike anything we've heard so far in its potency.

The clarity of the textures and layering is magnificent. There is just so much detail and precision on display with every tiny entry flawless and audible. And it just keeps on getting better. This is playing of mind blowing precision and excitement with Firedamp proceeding at an almost wreckless pace but we just have sit back in listen in admiration.

Beautiful trombone sonority but so chilling as the bodies are lifted from the mind and now the sweet toned cornet lyricism of Tom Hutchinson leads a Fraternity Prayer of almost heartbreaking sensitivity, emotion and musicality. We simply feel every note and every tear of grief.

But what affirmation at the close. Oh my goodness what affirmation! An ending that simply belies description.

Overall:
Breathtaking, simply breathtaking. A performance of quite remarkable detail, insight and musicality.

Christopher Thomas

 

Criteria Mark Sheet

Marks by Steven Mead

Technical accuracy:19
Rhythmic precision and clarity:20
Control of full dynamic range:20
Ensemble precision:20
Tuning/intonation:20
Band sound quality:20
Balance/clarity of textures:19
Quality of soloists:20
Overall understanding:20
Total musicality from the band:20

Total:198

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Conductor: Philip Harper


Saturday 9, 14:12:45

Band 8. Tredegar

Conductor: Ian Porthouse

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On stage: Tredegar

The Black Land of the opening is blackened further by wavering bass intonation and solo euphonium clips at a key moment in his initial solo passage.

The Towering Colliery is both impressive and darkly majestic in its power but again the occasional moments of imprecision intervenes.

Fine flugel solo into From Light to Dark and solo cornet is initially fine but clips at a key moment as those slips and errors begin to mount up alarmingly.

As Extracting the Coal and Firedamp progress we are getting the impression of a well constructed account from the middle that is becoming increasingly pock marked as so many nasty little moments impact on the overall outcome, whilst the sound is sometimes forced, almost as if in angry response to the band's mistakes.

The emotion seems to have been drained from the band as the bodies are brought to the surface and even in Fraternity Prayer those moments of discomfort continue capping a strangely off colour account from Ian Porthouse's team.

Overall: Not the Tredegar we have come to expect of late so many inconsistencies and lapses along the way unsettling the music.

Christopher Thomas

 

Criteria Mark Sheet

Marks by Steven Mead

Technical accuracy:17
Rhythmic precision and clarity:18
Control of full dynamic range:18
Ensemble precision:18
Tuning/intonation:18
Band sound quality:18
Balance/clarity of textures:17
Quality of soloists:15
Overall understanding:18
Total musicality from the band:17

Total:174

Conductor: Ian Porthouse

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Conductor: Ian Porthouse


Saturday 9, 13:42:48

Band 7. Whitburn

Conductor: Florent Didier

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On stage: Whitburn

The Grand Shield victors and Scottish champions take to the stage with the Gallic elegance of Paris Brass Band MD Florent Didier at the helm.

Black Land opens well and the the percussion find the right dynamic level quickly as the atmosphere is found effectively. Didier is an expressive conductor and his batonless technique, laced with telling hand gestures, is fascinating to watch whilst lending the performance a similar level of musicality.

The Towering Colliery is effective if not quite finding the same level of depth and sonority of some so far and Extracting the Coal proceeds with purpose. The detail and ensemble waver at times and it's occasionally a touch unhinged as a result but the band plays as if it has nothing to lose, having spent far too many years in Blackpool for its own liking.

Firedamp opens well in the percussion but as it progresses that essential extreme precision deserts the band at times and again, the ensemble isn't as rigid as the front runners have been so far.

A little more sonority from the trombones would help as the miners are brought to the surface but Didier draws everything from his players in the Fraternity Prayer and final peroration. The sound is edgy at times but the emotion is there.

Overall: Passages of quality and intensity from Whitburn and directed with intelligence by Florent Didier but inconsistencies will figure in the final analysis.

Christopher Thomas

 

Criteria Mark Sheet

Marks by Steven Mead

Technical accuracy:18
Rhythmic precision and clarity:18
Control of full dynamic range:18
Ensemble precision:17
Tuning/intonation:18
Band sound quality:18
Balance/clarity of textures:18
Quality of soloists:19
Overall understanding:18
Total musicality from the band:18

Total:180

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Conductor: Florent Didier



Saturday 9, 13:15:33

Band 6. Fairey

Conductor: Garry Cutt

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On stage: Fairey

Black Land is the closest we have heard to Foden's so far in its immediately immersive atmosphere. The percussion parts are so effective when played with this level of dynamic accuracy.

The Towering Colliery is superbly controlled with a fine, balanced sound and there's a dark majesty that draws us in.

A fine opening cornet solo in From Light to Dark and the instrumental lines that follow coalesce so well with secure, confident solo lines.

It just loses a touch of rhythmic precision in Extracting the Coal. The tempo is bang on the money but occasionally it seems to fly along by the seat of its pants, yet always with shovel fills of excitement.

Such a fine trombone sound as the miners are brought to the surface, balanced and sonorous. Beautifully done.

Fraternity Prayer unfolds well although there are the briefest cracks and moments of wavering intonation. An ending of radiant affirmation caps a fine all round account from Fairey.

Overall: A convincing account from Fairey. Confident and well constructed but just lacking the pristine precision of Dyke and the sheer power of emotion of Foden's.

Christopher Thomas

 

Criteria Mark Sheet

Marks by Steven Mead

Technical accuracy:19
Rhythmic precision and clarity:17
Control of full dynamic range:19
Ensemble precision:19
Tuning/intonation:19
Band sound quality:19
Balance/clarity of textures:18
Quality of soloists:19
Overall understanding:19
Total musicality from the band:19

Total:187

Great show from Faireys, what a fantastic level we have with these last three bands!

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Conductor: Garry Cutt


Saturday 9, 12:46:06

Band 5. Black Dyke

Conductor: Professor Nicholas Childs

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On stage: Black Dyke

The contrast with the opening of Fodens performance is fascinating. Everything is in the right place here but the dynamics are all a notch up and it doesn't quite emanate the same sense of mystery.

The Towering Colliery is wonderfully controlled and we hear the detail of the euphonium and baritone lines beneath the monolithic chords with admirable clarity. This playing with a potent combination of refinement and power.

From Light to Dark opens with a cornet solo of such security and musical intelligence from Richard Marshall and what follows stats to draw us into the performance on a new level. This is so haunting.

Extracting the Coal is despatched with such precision and energy. The momentum doesn't let up for one second and the sheer power that is generated by the accuracy of the playing is something to marvel at and continues through Firedamp which builds magnificently aided by dynamics of wide ranging contrast.

We just miss a touch of emotion as the miners are brought to the surface although Fraternity Prayer is marked by such a beautifully controlled cornet solo to open.

The final peroration is so controlled and majestic but although the band extracted the Coal brilliantly this fails to extract the same level of emotion for us.

Overall:
A magnificent technical account from Black Dyke but did it communicate the emotion and narrative of the story as well as Foden's? For us possibly not but it was undoubtedly 'cleaner'.

Christopher Thomas

 

Criteria Mark Sheet

Marks by Steven Mead

Technical accuracy:19
Rhythmic precision and clarity:19
Control of full dynamic range:18
Ensemble precision:19
Tuning/intonation:19
Band sound quality:20
Balance/clarity of textures:19
Quality of soloists:19
Overall understanding:18
Total musicality from the band:18

Total:188

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Conductor: Professor Nicholas Childs


Saturday 9, 12:21:26

Band 4. Foden's

Conductor: Bramwell Tovey

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On stage: Foden's

A seamless opening bass entry in Black Land and percussion sounds meld so well into the texture. Fine solo euphonium and this has such mystery with an ominous whiff of the tragedy to follow.

The Towering Colliery is just that, towering but with a dark, majesty that is achieved through attention to balance and as a result we hear the detail in the euphoniums beneath the surface with such fabulous clarity.

From Light to Dark opens with a cornet solo of refined elegance and wrought emotion by Mark Wilkinson and there is such a feeling of pliability about this, every line is so beautifully fluid and free flowing.

Fine percussion in Extracting the Coal and at last we hear the section find the appropriate dynamic levels, all of which are painstakingly notated in the score. The sound is just so impressive and again the percussion at the opening of Firedamp are so rhythmically tight and cohesive.

Magnificent individual contributions and my goodness is this flying!! What a difference a year can make!!

The transition into Bringing up the Dead Miners is chilling''.what an atmosphere! And perfectly balanced trombones contribute to a sense of emotion that sends shivers down the spine. His is verging on the tearful. So, so powerfully moving as the Fraternity Prayer casts a spell over the hall. The final peroration is breathtaking even though a couple of cracks are heard. Wonderful stuff indeed.

Overall:
After the band's indifferent performance at last year's Open this was vintage Foden's and vintage Tovey. A performance that simply emanated humanity and emotion from start to finish.

 

Criteria Mark Sheet

Marks by Steven Mead

Technical accuracy:17
Rhythmic precision and clarity:19
Control of full dynamic range:19
Ensemble precision:19
Tuning/intonation:19
Band sound quality:20
Balance/clarity of textures:19
Quality of soloists:19
Overall understanding:20
Total musicality from the band:19

Total:190

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Conductor: Bramwell Tovey with Foden's



Saturday 9, 11:54:09

Band 3. Rothwell Temperance

Conductor: David Roberts

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On stage Rothwell

Once again the opening Bb has figure isn't smooth and the atmosphere takes a little while to settle. Good solo euphonium but bass trombone needs to stay within the texture.

The Towering Colliery certainly has immense power but tuning isn't always absolutely precise and solo cornet is never totally comfortable at the opening of From Light to Dark with sometimes strained sounds detracting from the ominous atmosphere of forthcoming tragedy.

Good tempo for Extracting the Coal and this is generally rhythmically secure as the music flies on with impressive momentum and energy driven, crucially, by that vital rhythmic precision.

More attention needed to contrasts of dynamic in the percussion section in Firedamp but again the sheer momentum of the playing drives on inexorably.

The transition into Bringing out the Dead Miners is is effective and trombones are well balanced as the Fraternity Prayer unfolds. And at last we hear emotion being brought to the surface along with the bodies as we sense the band giving the ending everything that they possibly can.

Overall:
Rothwell delivers a rhythmically tight and driven account but one that needed to balance that detail with a more palpable sense of emotion at times.

Christopher Thomas

 

Criteria Mark Sheet

Marks by Steven Mead

Technical accuracy:17
Rhythmic precision and clarity:17
Control of full dynamic range:17
Ensemble precision:18
Tuning/intonation:18
Band sound quality:17
Balance/clarity of textures:17
Quality of soloists:17
Overall understanding:16
Total musicality from the band:16

Total:170

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David Roberts: Rothwell Temperance MD in action


Saturday 9, 11:29:39

Band 2: Milnrow

Conductor: Mark Bentham

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On stage — Milnrow

Black Land doesn't find the mystery that is so deeply embedded in this most atmospheric of openings emanating from the initial bass entry and The Towering Colliery is powerful but the balance through the band doesn't allow the sounds to resonate around Symphony Hall as the best will today.

Well done solo horn but solo cornet needs more fluidity and flexibility of line at the opening of From Light to Dark.

Extracting the Coal lacks that level of rhythmic precision that is needed to drive the music on and there is some interesting secondary conducting going on in the percussion section! This has lost all of its rhythmic focus and energy.

Trombones could be more sonorous as the miners are brought to the surface and clips in the cornets unsettle the musical picture.

The ending is perfunctory rather than truly emotional and it's that seam of emotion that we have missed throughout an otherwise technically adequate performance.

Overall:
A brave effort from Milnrow but this was a performance that failed to find the glorious seam of human emotion that runs through the music.

Christopher Thomas

 

Criteria Mark Sheet

Marks by Steven Mead

Technical accuracy:16
Rhythmic precision and clarity:15
Control of full dynamic range:16
Ensemble precision:16
Tuning/intonation:17
Band sound quality:16
Balance/clarity of textures:15
Quality of soloists:17
Overall understanding:16
Total musicality from the band:16

Total:160

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Mark Bentham: Milnrow MD in action


Saturday 9, 10:57:55

Band 1: Flowers

Conductor: David Childs

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Band 1: Flowers in performance

Bb basses possibly a little heavy to open Black Land but the atmosphere unfolds well with fine solo euphonium setting the scene.

The Towering Colliery possesses both power and mystery. The detail is perhaps not always clearly audible under the grinding power of the band but again the atmosphere is both palpable and powerful.

Solo cornet initially opens well in From Light to Dark but there are are a handful of very nasty clips as the treacherously exposed solo exposes cracks in the coal seam. Dynamics are very heavy for mezzo forte approaching Extracting the Coal which flies along but not always with absolute rhythmic cohesion. There's real character about this though and first class trombones led by Steve Sykes. It's great to have him back!!

Percussion dynamics not always strictly under control in Firedamp but my goodness does this fly along. There's just a sense of it being a touch unhinged at times.

Trombones not quite in tune as the dead miners are brought out of the mine and perhaps a little more bass needed to add to the sonore balance.

Fraternity Prayer is beautifully tender but again the dynamics tend to the heavy side at times. The build to the final majestic peroration is fabulous.

Overall:
A very creditable performance to open from Flowers and David Childs on his Open conducting debut. So much to admire but ultimately just lacking those special spine tingling moments.

 

Criteria Mark Sheet

Marks by Steven Mead

Technical accuracy: 18
Rhythmic precision and clarity: 17
Control of full dynamic range: 16
Ensemble precision: 18
Tuning/intonation: 18
Band sound quality: 18
Balance/clarity of textures: 17
Quality of soloists: 17
Overall understanding: 19
Total musicality from the band: 18

Total:176

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David Childs: Flowers MD in action



Saturday 9, 10:39:12

Percussive Sounds

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A varied array of percussion sounds set on stage


Saturday 9, 10:24:33

4BR meets Besson


Saturday 9, 10:18:22

Introduction to the 2017 British Open



Saturday 9, 10:14:44

Draw:

Saturday 9th September
Test Piece: 'Fraternity' — Thierry Deleruylle
Commence: 10.30am

Adjudicators: Paul Cosh, Ray Farr, Stephen Roberts

1. Flowers (David Childs)
2. Milnrow (Mark Bentham)
3. Rothwell Temperance (David Roberts)
4. Foden's (Bramwell Tovey)
5. Black Dyke (Prof Nicholas J.Childs)
6. Fairey (Garry Cutt)
7. Whitburn (Florent Didier)
8. Tredegar (Ian Porthouse)
9. Cory (Philip Harper)
10. Desford Colliery (Leicestershire Miners Trust Fund) (Michael Fowles)
11. Co-op Funeralcare (Allan Ramsay)
12. Valaisia Brass Band (Arsene Duc)
13. Jaguar Land Rover (Dave Lea)
14. Wingates (Paul Andrews)
15. Grimethorpe Colliery (Allan Withington)
16. Leyland (Thomas Wyss)
17. Carlton Main Frickley Colliery (Erik Jannsen)
18. Brighouse & Rastrick (Prof David King)


Saturday 9, 10:09:27

Thierry Deleruyelle

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Composer Thierry Deleruyelle addresses the representatives at the draw

Thierry Deleruyelle test piece 'Fraternity' may recall unimaginable, destructive loss but it is also a work filled with a sense of dignified hope.


Saturday 9, 10:06:28

4BR Live Coverage

The 4BR team have made there way and now set up in the Press Area.

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Chris Thomas providing live comments for the 2017 Open

"Good morning everyone. My live comments will follow each performance and will appear along side Steve Mead's scoring system marks. 'Fraternity' is a magnificent and majestic test piece that is sure to draw a great reaction from the audience and bands alike. I am truly looking forward to the day and what promises to be a great day of contesting."
Chris Thomas



Saturday 9, 09:34:55

Criteria Based Adjudication

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Steven Mead trusts the criteria based adjudication system will bring clarity his analysis of the performances

"Good morning all, this is Steven Mead. Please free to take a look at this scoring system I'll be using during the day, with the marks posted after each band during the day. Clearly only the results from our three wise men in the box really matter, but I hope you find this system interesting as the day goes on.

Criteria Mark Sheet

Marks by Steven Mead

Technical accuracy: out of 20
Rhythmic precision and clarity: out of 20
Control of full dynamic range: out of 20
Ensemble precision: out of 20
Tuning/intonation: out of 20
Band sound quality: out of 20
Balance/clarity of textures: out of 20
Quality of soloists: out of 20
Overall understanding*: out of 20
Total musicality from the band**: out of 20

Total: out of 200

Comments

* direction and shaping of the entire work, phrasing, appropriate tempi and articulation
of the music
** style, commitment, elegance, beauty, control of all moods


Saturday 9, 08:51:18

Judges today

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(L-R) Paul Cosh, Stephen Roberts and Ray Farr.

Your judges today are Paul Cosh, Stephen Roberts and Ray Farr. We trust they enjoy themselves in the box today...


Saturday 9, 08:44:56

A few tickets at the box office...

4BR has made its way to the hall for the draw at 9.00am. The band reps are starting to arrive and we have been informed that there a few tickets at the box office which will go very quickly indeed.



Saturday 9, 06:41:22

Get to Brum early...

If you want to ensure you don't miss out on anything today then make sure you get to Symphony Hall early.

There will be security checks and the roads around the centre of Birmingam are having a bit of repair work done to them too, so don't miss out.

It's kicks off at 10.30am — but why not give yourselves an extra 40 mins or so to get here, relax and soak up the unique brass band atmosphere.


Saturday 9, 06:37:45

Good morning from Birmingham...

What a day could unfold here at Symphony Hall, with one of the most eagerly awaited British Open Championships for years.

So much to look forward to — from a brilliant test piece to a host of fantastic bands all in with a real chance of success — including the Swiss champion Valaisia.

We have already met up with brass band fans from Switzerland, Germany and Japan — as well as a few Welshmen and women. Little wonder the event organisers are smiling — the British Open has become a worldwide event to be proud of.

Time for a bit of breakfast and then off early to the hall to set up and start soaking up the atmosphere...


Saturday 9, 06:08:53

Runners & Riders

Test Piece: 'Fraternity' — Thierry Deleruylle
Commence: 10.30am
Adjudicators: TBA

Black Dyke (Prof Nicholas J.Childs)
Brighouse & Rastrick (Prof David King)
Carlton Main Frickley Colliery (Erik Jannsen)
Co-op Funeralcare (Allan Ramsay)
Cory (Philip Harper)
Desford Colliery (Leicestershire Miners Trust Fund) (Michael Fowles)
Fairey (Garry Cutt)
Flowers (David Childs)
Foden's (Bramwell Tovey)
Grimethorpe Colliery (Allan Withington)
Jaguar Land Rover (Dave Lea)
Leyland (Thomas Wyss)
Milnrow (Mark Bentham)
Rothwell Temperance (David Roberts)
Tredegar (Ian Porthouse)
Valaisia Brass Band (Arsene Duc)
Whitburn (Florent Diddier)
Wingates (Paul Andrews)





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


Enfield Citadel Band -

Saturday 25 November • The Salvation Army. 42 Clarence Road. Southend. SS1 1AN SS1 1AN


Newstead Brass -

Saturday 25 November • John Godber Centre. Ogle Street. Hucknall. Nottingham NG15 7FQ


Harrogate Band

November 24 • Join our team - Harrogate band! We are looking for committed front and back row cornet players who are looking for a new challenge to join our thriving, dynamic, fun and exciting 1st Section band. Our cornet section are a friendly bunch!


Strata Brass

November 24 • Bb BASS. The band are currently preparing for Butlins/Area Contests (1st Section). MD Jonathan Bates (Solo Horn - Fodens Band). Rehearsals SUN/WED,bandroom 5 mins from J35/36 M1 (Hoyland)


Olney Brass

November 23 • 2nd Trombones, look no further. We are looking for a 2nd trombone to join our band. We are an ambitious 3rd section band with a new MD, winning the ODBBA winter contest 2017. Any other instruments, we would be interested to talk, please get in touch.


Nigel Seaman

ARMCM ARNCM
Conductor, band trainer, teacher and adjudicator