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2017 National Championships of Great Britain
Section 1 - As it happened

All the action from the 2017 National Championships of Great Britain — Section 1 — As it happened.

Section 1

Sunday 17, 22:23:27

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Now to get this home....

That's all folks

And so we have reached the end of our live coverage from this year's Finals weekend in Cheltenham.

Congratulations to every single band for being part of it, and to the winners; Pemberton Old Wigan DW, Boarshurst Silver, BD1 Brass and Newmains & District: Enjoy those celebrations — you've earned them.

News reports will follow in the coming days, but that's it from The Centaur for another year.

We hope you have enjoyed our coverage this weekend.

Good night and safe journey home....


Section 1

Sunday 17, 21:39:24

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2017 Champions: Pemberton Old Wigan DW

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Winning MD: Ben Dixon

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2017 Champion: Pemberton Old Wigan DW

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Best Soloist: Joanne Johnson of Pemberton Old

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Runner-up: Bathgate

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Third place: Kidlington

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Fourth place: Regent Brass

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Fifth place: Unite the Union

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Sixth place: Newtongrange

Results:

Sunday 17th September
Test Piece: 'Tournament for Brass'- Eric Ball
Adjudicators: Michael Fowles and Paul Holland

1. Pemberton Old Wigan DW (Ben Dixon)
2. Bathgate (Anne Crookston)
3. Kidlington Concert (Duncan Wilson)
4. Regent Brass (Paul Archibald)
5. Unite the Union (John Roberts)
6. Newtongrange Silver (Andrew Duncan)
7. Rainford (Gareth Brindle)
8. Bournemouth Concert (Melvin White)
9. Parc and Dare (Jonathan Pippen)
10. Rushden Town (Adele Hudson)
11. Shepherd Group (Richard Wilton)
12. SW Comms (Chris Spreadbury)
13. Marsden Silver (Alan Widdop)
14. Hitchin (Graham Chambers)
15. Foresters 2000 (John Davis)
16. Llanrug (Keith Jones)
17. Westoe (Callum Harrison)

Best Instrumentalist: Joanne Johnson (cornet) Pemberton Old Wigan DW


Section 1

Sunday 17, 21:34:45

Steven Mead and Chris Thomas: Final opinions and predictions

Eric Ball's test piece may be well over 60 years old, but it had the bite of a dead eyed shark.

This was a really disappointing contest — stylistically and technically. The best made something of the music in the right style, but none came away unscathed — not by a long chalk.

General agreement between the two 4BR critics — but overall you were left wondering just how many of these bands could really consider themselves of true Championship Section level.

Rainford had that touch of classiness alongside Pemberton and Newtongrange for both Steve and Chris, and then they disagreed — but not by much.

All two opinions count though — and we will find out that shortly.

4BR Prediction: Chris Thomas

1. Rainford
2. Pemberton Old
3. Newtongrange
4. Regent
5. Kidlington
6. Unite the Union

Dark Horse: Foresters

 

Criteria Mark Sheet — Final Marks

Marks by Steven Mead

Rainford (Gareth Brindle) 87pts
Pemberton Old Wigan DW (Ben Dixon) 86pts
Newtongrange Silver (Andrew Duncan) 85pts
Unite the Union (John Roberts) 84pts
Regent Brass (Paul Archibald) 83.5pts
Kidlington Concert (Duncan Wilson) 83pts
Foresters 2000 (John Davis) 80pts
Bathgate (Anne Crookston) 77pts
Marsden Silver (Alan Widdop) 76pts
Shepherd Group (Richard Wilton) 76.5pts
Parc & Dare (Jonathan Pippen) 73.5pts
Bournemouth Concert (Mathew Brown) 72pts
Rushden Town (Adele Hudson) 70.5pts
Hitchin (Graham Chambers) 67.5pts
SW Comms (Chris Spreadbury) 66pts
Llanrug (Paul Hughes) 64pts
Westoe (Callum Harrison) 63.5pts

Comments

At the end of this day, which has seen some frankly quite average playing, who knows where the judges are going to work this out !
They will of course come up with the results soon.


Section 1

Sunday 17, 21:17:36

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All that waiting is nearly over now....

17. Hitchin (Graham Chambers)
(London & Southern Counties)

Trios and Duets.
Tuning is almost immediately astray in the opening bars and although its brisk and has an urgency about it those moments of tuning really do detract from the musical picture. The Alla Marcia needs a touch more swagger about it and the end is rushed rather than majestic.

Solos.
Moves along briskly but this needs more space for the expression. There are some nasty moments and passages that simply fail to knit tighter.

Scherzo.
Horns are astray in the opening bars and immediately the musical picture is unsettled and lacking in poise. The ending almost has a sense of relief about as concentration levels dip but this has been the most effective of the three movements.

Overall: A concluding performance that never really settled with errors at key moments.

Christopher Thomas

 

Criteria Mark Sheet

Marks by Steven Mead

Technical accuracy: 6
Rhythmic precision and clarity: 7
Suitable choice of tempi: 7.5
Control of full dynamic range: 7
Ensemble precision: 6.5
Tuning/intonation: 5
Band sound quality: 7
Balance/clarity of textures: 7
Quality of soloists: 7.5
Artistic expression/musicality: 7

Total: 67.5

Comment

Some spirited playing especially in the third movement, but too many slips and weak moments in the first two movements.


Section 1

Sunday 17, 20:58:44

16. Regent Brass (Paul Archibald)
(London & Southern Counties)

Trios and Duets.
Regent break the mood by placing the cornets split to ether side of Paul Archibald, a clever move perhaps given some of the textures of the music. We shall see! It's bold and confident but not overblown. There are one or two splits but the execution is generally good and the style is excellent. This is an MD that is finding the real Eric Ball in the music.

Solos.
Flows well and again the style is good. Fine solo cornet and solo horn but euphonium is clumsy and heavy dynamically. A shame as the movement is suddenly robbed of its elegance and poise. It recovers though and ends with a lovely feeling repose.

Scherzo.
There is a lightness of touch evident here and the dynamics are brought right down in the quieter passages. There are still one or two niggling little clips and slips but this really has tried to find the essential character of the music.

Overall: A performance of real thought and insight from the MD, with the band replicating that in a performance with Avery distinctive aura of Eric Ball……and that is something we have heard all to little of today.

Christopher Thomas

 

Criteria Mark Sheet

Marks by Steven Mead

Technical accuracy: 7.5
Rhythmic precision and clarity: 8
Suitable choice of tempi: 9
Control of full dynamic range: 8
Ensemble precision: 8
Tuning/intonation: 8.5
Band sound quality: 8.5
Balance/clarity of textures: 8.5
Quality of soloists: 8.5
Artistic expression/musicality: 9

Total: 83.5

Comment

So much to admire about this stylish performance, some real authentic phrasing and characteristic nuance,so well directed. The error account again increased especially towards the end. Most enjoyable playing.


Section 1

Sunday 17, 20:40:10

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I'm not telling you where my hand is either....

15. Newtongrange (Andrew Duncan)
(Scotland)

Trios and Duets.
There is a feeling of urgency about the opening that is both confident and bold. It's imbued with a good style and although there are clips, there is a sense of musical purpose as the movement progresses to a strong conclusion.

Solos.
Opens well and flows nicely. A lovely solo cornet and this is lyrically very well played. Solo horn is comfortable and this is drawing us further in as it progresses. The Leggerio is nicely done and solo euphonium shines before clipping the last note. What a lovely elegance now as solo cornet once again plays beautifully and the ending is so finely done dynamically.

Scherzo.
A fine tempo to open and we can sense that the band's confidence is growing. There's an easy elegance about this and although there are clips, they don't impede the flow of the music. Nothing is overdone and that atmosphere of a bygone musical age hangs in the air. The ending is bold and bracing, perhaps too much so but there has been so much to enjoy here.

Overall: A fine fort from Newtongrange. Stylistically intelligent, delivered with confidence and marked by excellent soloists.

Christopher Thomas

 

Criteria Mark Sheet

Marks by Steven Mead

Technical accuracy: 7.5
Rhythmic precision and clarity: 8
Suitable choice of tempi: 9
Control of full dynamic range: 9
Ensemble precision: 9
Tuning/intonation: 8.5
Band sound quality: 8.5
Balance/clarity of textures: 9
Quality of soloists: 8.5
Artistic expression/musicality: 8

Total: 85

Comment

So much of this was outstanding brass playing, and seem to be heading for the top spot until some fatigue and careless playing crept into the third movement. Beautiful second movement with outstanding cornet soloist. Just fell away at the end, what a pity.


Section 1

Sunday 17, 20:21:40

14. Unite the Union (John Roberts)
(Yorkshire)

Trios and Duets.
A solid opening and the movement proceeds without major incident in comparison to some today. The elegance could perhaps be a little more refined but this has certainly held its own amongst the competition.

Solos.
There's a nice shape to this and the flow of the music is good with generally safe soloists and a lyrically fluid cornet to close. Tuning isn't always 100% but the style has been carefully considered.

Scherzo.
It rushes to open, something that so many bands have suffered from today and the character that informed the central movement is not as prevalent here. Builds to a solid conclusion though.

Overall: The central movement has been the highlight of Unite the Union's performance which should hold its own in the middle of the results table today.

Chris Thomas

 

Criteria Mark Sheet

Marks by Steven Mead

Technical accuracy: 8
Rhythmic precision and clarity: 9
Suitable choice of tempi: 8.5
Control of full dynamic range: 8.5
Ensemble precision: 8
Tuning/intonation: 8.5
Band sound quality: 8
Balance/clarity of textures: 8
Quality of soloists: 9
Artistic expression/musicality: 8.5

Total: 84

Comment

A very fine performance, with some outstanding control and beautiful soft sounds. It had the rhythmic vitality when necessary and soloists mostly deliver perfectly.


Section 1

Sunday 17, 20:01:08

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SW Comms gain an extra bit of heavyweight scrum support...

13. SW Comms (Chris Spreadbury)
(West of England)

Trios and Duets.
Some early errors ruffle the musical picture early on although a steady tempo ensures that the first movement has an aura of safety about it.
It lacks a touch of grace as a result but the ending is effective and this should hold its own so far.

Solos.
Nerves seem to take over here and there are insecurities that impede the flow of the music. The musical intent is there but we are losing the stylistic element that is so vital.

Scherzo.
The choice of tempo is steady but still it seems to rock with the tempo never feeling really secure. After well chosen tempi in the opening two movements this is taking the performance out with a whimper and its a lame close.

Overall: Moments of quality in the opening two movements were undermined by a cautious and stylistically bland scherzo.

Christopher Thomas

 

Criteria Mark Sheet

Marks by Steven Mead

Technical accuracy: 6
Rhythmic precision and clarity: 7.5
Suitable choice of tempi: 7.5
Control of full dynamic range: 7.5
Ensemble precision: 7.5
Tuning/intonation: 7
Band sound quality: 7
Balance/clarity of textures: 8
Quality of soloists: 7.5
Artistic expression/musicality: 7.5

Total: 66

Comment

It started very promisingly with some beautifully engaging sections, but the error count mounted as we went on, and the third movement seem to lack the necessary rhythmic characteristics, sense of optimism and high spirits.


Section 1

Sunday 17, 19:44:56

12. Marsden Silver Prize (Alan Widdop)
(Yorkshire)

Trios and Duets.
Opens well but then those mistakes start to creep in. There are some grating entries and even blatant wrong notes on a couple of occasions. The Alla Marcia is more Kenneth Alford than Eric Ball leading to a somewhat bruising conclusion.

Solos.
Tuning is not always precise although there is a lyrical flow to the music that impresses. Euphonium has some very uncomfortable moments and now that initial elegance is starting to falter. The ending is good though and this has been a central movement of mixed fortunes.

Scherzo.
It's a brisk tempo and this needs a touch more poise and delicacy. The tempo is such that at times the cornet section is scrambling to get their parts in and that word poise keeps coming back to us. A disappointing end to another mixed bag of a performance.

Overall: Moments of quality offset by scrappy ensemble and a rushed final movement.

Christopher Thomas

 

Criteria Mark Sheet

Marks by Steven Mead

Technical accuracy: 7
Rhythmic precision and clarity: 7
Suitable choice of tempi: 8
Control of full dynamic range: 7.5
Ensemble precision: 7.5
Tuning/intonation: 7
Band sound quality: 8
Balance/clarity of textures: 8
Quality of soloists: 7.5
Artistic expression/musicality: 8.5

Total: 76

Comment

Some very promising sections here, but the overall lack of poise and precision just robbed of where it could have been. The music was crying out for more time and space to allow the players to express themselves. Undoubtedly a fine band.


Section 1

Sunday 17, 19:28:27

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Get those smiles ready.....

11. Pemberton Old Wigan DW (Ben Dixon)
(North West)

Trios and Duets.
There's a good style to the opening, not conventional Eric Ball perhaps but it's confident and the soloists perform with aplomb. The ending is good and although the opening movement has lacked a touch of elegance, its been a good deal cleaner in execution than many so far.

Solos.
A good choice of tempo allows the music to flow freely and we hear a fine solo cornet and horn despite a noticeable slip on the horn and subsequently on the euphonium. It settles and once again there is a nice repose about this that continues to the final bar.

Scherzo.
An opening of purpose and there's an easy going style as the movement progresses that impresses. Like many performances through, just as it's getting interesting another slip or error proves deflating. Yet the style remains impressive and this has been one of the more convincing performances of the contest so far.

Overall: So many good points to admire in a performance that is vying for one of the top places with six bands to go.

Christopher Thomas

 

Criteria Mark Sheet

Marks by Steven Mead

Technical accuracy: 8
Rhythmic precision and clarity: 8.5
Suitable choice of tempi: 9
Control of full dynamic range: 8
Ensemble precision: 8.5
Tuning/intonation: 9
Band sound quality: 8.5
Balance/clarity of textures: 8
Quality of soloists: 8.5
Artistic expression/musicality: 9

Total: 86

Comment

A very fine performance, stylistically right on the money, and a lot of it also blemish free, but small errors niggle away. Nonetheless, this should do well today. An excellent balanced sound, within the stylistic Eric Ball sound world.


Section 1

Sunday 17, 19:08:41

10. Westoe (Callum Harrison)
(North of England)

Duets and Trios.
A nasty clip right away on the opening note and the opening solos are rushed amidst a very brisk tempo that gets even faster as it progresses. It's all a touch over done and entries jump out of the textures when we need balance and a greater emphasis on style and character.

Solos.
Opening dynamic is a little heavy and the solos, although executed with confidence, tend to do so with dynamic safety in mind. The end is good but there have been so many little fragilities along the way.

Scherzo.
Begins as the opening movement did, with bold sounds but needing a greater injection of elegance and soloists rush to get their notes in what feels like something of a headlong dash for the finishing line.

Overall: A bold, dynamically safe presentation that failed to find the style and elegance of the score.

Christopher Thomas

 

Criteria Mark Sheet

Marks by Steven Mead

Technical accuracy: 6
Rhythmic precision and clarity: 6
Suitable choice of tempi: 5.5
Control of full dynamic range: 7
Ensemble precision: 6.5
Tuning/intonation: 6.5
Band sound quality: 6.5
Balance/clarity of textures: 6.5
Quality of soloists: 7
Artistic expression/musicality: 6

Total: 63.5

Comment

Not a completely convincing performance, despite some very spirited playing at times. Too many small factors, means it's not their best day. Some excellent solo moments, including cornet and euphonium and solo horn.


Section 1

Sunday 17, 19:05:36

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Where will this banner end up?

Halfway opinion:

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Both Steven Mead and Chris Thomas have gone for the same top three at the halfway point — but the overwhelming impression has been one of musical disappointment.

Who would have thought a piece like this — full of elegance, refinement and delicacy could elicit so many odd interpretations and so many unforced errors of execution. It has been both troubling and troublesome.

No one so far has played it unscathed — with the best in Rainford, Kidlington and Foresters benefitting from readings of common sense from the MDs but very noticeable error count. After that, it gets less impressive.

4BR Prediction: Steven Mead

1. Rainford
2. Kidlington
3. Foresters 2000

4BR Prediction: Chris Thomas

1. Rainford
2. Kidlington
3. Foresters 2000


Section 1

Sunday 17, 18:33:26

9. Parc & Dare Leftfield Environment (Jonathan Pippen)
(Wales)

Duets and Trios.
Opens confidently. Boldly even. But then there are entries that are either skewed or oddly out of balance and context. It's tight though and the ensemble is generally taut. The Alla Marcia is surely to military in style with very dominant percussion. It builds up a head of steam to the close but this has certainly been a very different take on the first movement.

Solos.
Opens well but there are a handful of nasty clips. Oh those slips are causing us so much frustration!! Nice solo cornet though and at times there is a graceful ease on display. Balance isn't always spot on but as we head towards the close of the movement the dynamics are good and it seems to find its feet.

Scherzo.
A good tempo to open and this is now so much more characterful in its style and delivery, aided by that well chosen tempo. Confident sounds that are bold but not overdone and suddenly there's a seam of ebullience flowing through the band. It threatens to run away at times though and the ending is a thumping one on percussion.

Overall: Playing of real quality at times but a performance of such extremes. At its best elegant and stylish. At it its worst crude and brash.

Christopher Thomas

 

Criteria Mark Sheet

Marks by Steven Mead

Technical accuracy: 7
Rhythmic precision and clarity: 7.5
Suitable choice of tempi: 6.5
Control of full dynamic range: 7.5
Ensemble precision: 7.5
Tuning/intonation: 7
Band sound quality: 7.5
Balance/clarity of textures: 7.5
Quality of soloists: 8.5
Artistic expression/musicality: 7

Total: 73.5

Comment

Very mixed performance, with moments of genuine excellence, but others where the music felt rushed, and was stretched quite out of shape. Quite consistent playing, but some serious balance issues, especially with percussion at several moments.


Section 1

Sunday 17, 18:15:52

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Rainford's Take That tribute band make their long awaited reunion return....

8. Rainford (Gareth Brindle)
(North West)

Duets and Trios.
Opens well but just seems to lack a little in terms of character. It's confident though and the Alla Marcia is played at a brisk tempo, the quickest so far in fact. The error count is less than some so far but this just needs a little more Eric Ball affection.

Solos.
Free flowing tempo to open and what a lyrically flowing cornet solo also with just the tiniest of clips along the way. Horn slips and the picture is momentarily unsettled but euphonium is light and fleet footed until a slip in the final bar of the solo. Solo cornet to follow is again beautifully lyrical and the close is lovely. So sensitive.

Scherzo.
A bravely brisk opening tempo. Let's hope that it doesn't rush! It doesn't and this is moving along very well indeed. Good sounds that are not forced and the balance through the band is effective. Nice solo trombone and the momentum towards the close is well measured. A bold ending caps a performance of merit from Rainford.

Overall: A performance that although not error free, displayed much too admire in its confidence with a lyrically informed second movement at its heart.

Christopher Thomas

 

Criteria Mark Sheet

Marks by Steven Mead

Technical accuracy: 8
Rhythmic precision and clarity: 9
Suitable choice of tempi: 8.5
Control of full dynamic range: 9
Ensemble precision: 9
Tuning/intonation: 8.5
Band sound quality: 8.5
Balance/clarity of textures: 8.5
Quality of soloists: 9
Artistic expression/musicality: 9

Total: 87

Comment

Overall a first class show, not without many unfortunate clips, but here was a well sounding band, finding lots of great rhythmic moments, and some solo moments of great beauty.


Section 1

Sunday 17, 17:57:43

7. Shepherd Group (Richard Wilton)
(North of England)

Trios and Duets.
The opening shows so much promise but then loses its way in the bars that follow. Tuning is the main issue but there are again some nasty clips that have been the Achilles heel for every band so far. A solid end.

Solos.
Nice tempo to open and the elegance is there despite some moments of insecurity, with tuning again causing issues at key moments. Such a stylish solo cornet and the dynamics are well observed. The ending is a touch fragile though, possibly as a result of taking risks with the dynamic.

Scherzo.
A good tempo to open and this is moving forward with an easy elegance that befits Eric Ball. Again there are uncomfortable moments through….so frustrating…..and the ending is a touch heavy.

Overall: Another mixed account in terms of the error count. Fine soloists, but its impossible to ignore the inconsistencies.

Christopher Thomas

 

Criteria Mark Sheet

Marks by Steven Mead

Technical accuracy: 6.5
Rhythmic precision and clarity: 8
Suitable choice of tempi: 8.5
Control of full dynamic range: 8.5
Ensemble precision: 8
Tuning/intonation: 6.5
Band sound quality: 7.5
Balance/clarity of textures: 7
Quality of soloists: 8
Artistic expression/musicality: 8

Total: 76.5

Comment

Some fine playing here, if only the error count wasn't so high. Well thought out characteristic performance, but the technical accuracy mark may cost them today, also some serious intonation early in the work. Overall, enjoyable.


Section 1

Sunday 17, 17:41:00

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Ready for the trios and duets ahead....

6. Rushden Town (Adele Hudson)
(Midlands)

Trios and Duets.
A good start but then the errors creep in. We sense the motion and urgency though and the character is there. The tempo isn't always entirely consistent as some bars rush but the ending is confident and emphatic.

Solos.
A brisk opening tempo, a little too brisk perhaps. It needs a little more space but the soloists initially do well until a very uncomfortable moment on euphonium. Frustratingly, there are little issues of phrasing and togetherness that get in the way of the flow at times and we hear two notes from bass in the final bar rather there than the written one.

Scherzo.
Sets off at a brisk pace and this feels like it's rushing whereas we need to feel a gentle grace to the flow of the music. And that feeling of rushing follows lending the final movement a somewhat anxious feel as it progresses. The ending is convincing though, capping a somewhat mixed account.

Overall: Started so well but there was an increasing feeling of uneasiness as the performance continued.

Christopher Thomas

 

Criteria Mark Sheet

Marks by Steven Mead

Technical accuracy: 6.5
Rhythmic precision and clarity: 7.5
Suitable choice of tempi: 7
Control of full dynamic range: 8
Ensemble precision: 7
Tuning/intonation: 6
Band sound quality: 7
Balance/clarity of textures: 7
Quality of soloists: 7.5
Artistic expression/musicality: 7

Total: 70.5

Comment

Started so well, but lost its elegance as it went on, and the last moment fell flat and became borderline scrappy. The second movement had some lovely moments, but a little hasty for my taste. Some excellent soprano playing throughout. A few tuning concerns surfaced also.


Section 1

Sunday 17, 17:24:43

5. Kidlington Concert (Duncan Wilson)
(London & Southern Counties)

Trios and Duets.
There's a free flowing elegance about the opening that really grabs our attention. There's a lack of angst which has marked some performances so far and the music benefits greatly. Just the odd clip but this is very musical in its conception and execution. The Alla Marcia is just the right tempo and the ending is authoritative but controlled.

Solos.
Nicely lyrical and flowing opening with just one blip along the way. Solo cornet is nice and the soloists generally are doing well. A monetary lapse on the horn but it recovers well only to miss the peak of the solo. Again its so elegance in its style through and this is a band and MD that understands Eric Ball and his style. Fine quiet dynamics to close and bass note is in tune.

Scherzo.
Good lightness of touch to open and this has purpose but is never overdone. The occasional clip is frustrating amongst so much good work but soloists are very even (fine trombone, well done!) and the overall band sound is both balanced and warm. The ending is characterful and solid.

Overall: A fine effort from Kidlington and its purple haired MD. Eric Ball to the core despite the slips.

Christopher Thomas

 

Criteria Mark Sheet

Marks by Steven Mead

Technical accuracy: 7
Rhythmic precision and clarity: 8.5
Suitable choice of tempi: 9
Control of full dynamic range: 8
Ensemble precision: 8.5
Tuning/intonation: 8
Band sound quality: 8.5
Balance/clarity of textures: 8.5
Quality of soloists: 8
Artistic expression/musicality: 9

Total: 83

Comment

Some real Eric Ball sentiment here, and the vision was outstanding. Good band sound, beautiful ebb and flow in the music, but sadly small clips and permeated the latter part of the work. Some outstanding solo playing too.


Section 1

Sunday 17, 17:07:04

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The Scots are ready for their tournament appearance

4. Bathgate (Anne Crookston)
(Scotland)

Trios and Duets.
A decent opening and there are some nice touches here with confident solo entries. Just the occasional slips and phrasing issues but this moves on with a sense of purpose and the style of the Alla Marcia is just right. There's plenty to enjoy here but what a shame about the cornet splits in the run up to the final bars, although the conclusion itself is excellent.

Solos.
A quality opening and solo cornet does well playing with lyrical grace and fluidity. Well done horn, this flows nicely but there's are a handful of nasty euphonium clips that seems to unsettle things for a few seconds. Such a nice solo cornet line once again and the dynamics are so well observed to close.

Scherzo.
Good opening and again the style is good as are the dynamics despite a few little slips around the stands. The style is so well observed although there are also further mistakes as concentration levels dip a little perhaps. The ending is fine indeed.

Overall:
Such a stylish interpretation, controlled and with dynamics beautifully observed. Those mistakes began to mount up though.

Christopher Thomas

 

Criteria Mark Sheet

Marks by Steven Mead

Technical accuracy: 6.5
Rhythmic precision and clarity: 7.5
Suitable choice of tempi: 8.5
Control of full dynamic range: 7
Ensemble precision: 8
Tuning/intonation: 6.5
Band sound quality: 8.5
Balance/clarity of textures: 8
Quality of soloists: 7.5
Artistic expression/musicality: 9

Total: 77

Comment

Some fine attributes to this performance, rich warm band sound, real characteristic stylistic moments, find solo cornet, but the error count, mostly small crept through the performance. Musically it can hold its head up high.


Section 1

Sunday 17, 16:46:12

3. Bournemouth Concert (Melvin White)
(West of England)

Trios and Duets.
Somewhat uncomfortable opening note and tuning starts to cause some issues very early on in the movement. This isn't quite finding the style of the music and the elegance that marks Eric Ball's writing. The Alla Marcia could be a touch more heraldic in its style and the tempo is sometimes uneven but the ending is convincing.

Solos.
Solo cornet does well as does horn. The Leggerio could just be a touch lighter in style and dance like, but this is generally good and we can now sense the affection in the playing that this central movement so needs. Fine solo cornet once again although the final bass note is very sharp.

Scherzo.
This just needs a little more urgency for us. The notes are all there but we are lacking a forward motion and purpose to the line the movement is taking. It lacks rhythmic cohesion which impacts on the flow of the music but the playing is solid and the ending is effective.

Overall: Some quality solo work and there was much to enjoy here but a handful of inconsistencies and stylistic inadequacies countered some of the good work.

Christopher Thomas

 

Criteria Mark Sheet

Marks by Steven Mead

Technical accuracy: 7
Rhythmic precision and clarity: 7
Suitable choice of tempi: 7
Control of full dynamic range: 7
Ensemble precision: 7
Tuning/intonation: 7.5
Band sound quality: 7.5
Balance/clarity of textures: 7.5
Quality of soloists: 8
Artistic expression/musicality: 6.5

Total: 72

Comment

Some very enjoyable individual performances, especially euphonium, but the performance lacked sparkle, although well-intentioned, seemed to lack some of the essential characteristics of Eric Ball's style, especially in the third movement.


Section 1

Sunday 17, 16:24:35

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A Welsh trio for the Eric Ball challenge

2. Llanrug (Keith Jones)
(Wales)

Trios and Duets.
A relatively safe tempo to open but there are still some nasty moments as tuning and clips combine to unsettle the musical balance. We can sense the anxiety in individual entries and ensemble is also askew at times. Even in the last bar there are some nasty entries (trombones) that grate on the ear.

Solos.
Opens well enough although the solo cornet could be given more space and lyrical licence to express. Again there are some very nasty moments that disrupt the flow and the unease is palpable as missing entries and nerves continue to play a part.

Scherzo.
We miss a certain lightness of touch that is needed to get to the heart of the style of what is a scherzo. And those slips and wrong notes keep on coming. Solo cornet does so well amidst the slips around though and has stood out throughout. The ending is again marked by some uncomfortable moments.

Overall: A performance that was beset by slips from the start, with the error count mounting alarmingly as it progressed.

Christopher Thomas

 

Criteria Mark Sheet

Marks by Steven Mead

Technical accuracy: 6
Rhythmic precision and clarity: 6
Suitable choice of tempi: 7
Control of full dynamic range: 6.5
Ensemble precision: 6.
Tuning/intonation: 6.5
Band sound quality: 6.5
Balance/clarity of textures: 7
Quality of soloists: 6.5
Artistic expression/musicality: 6

Total: 64

Comment

Some very good solo cornet playing throughout, bravo. Also some other nice moments, but overall too many small incidents and certain lines just not going in clearly.
Quite unbalanced, might struggle today, but I'm sure they gave it their best shot


Section 1

Sunday 17, 16:09:17

1. Foresters Brass 2000 (John Davis)
(Midlands)

Trios and Duets.
Sets off at a brisk pace and the style is good although there are a few minor clips along the way. Tempo wavers as individual entries come in and some of the voices are uneven in dynamic but there is some also some very tidy team work heard and the band sound is cultured and not forced.

Solos.
Opens at slightly above pp and initial cornet solo is a touch nervy with one or two noticeable slips. Tuning causes some problems too (soprano) but there remains a nice style to this. Well done solo euphonium! A great effort. A nice close to a graceful second movement.

Scherzo.
Just a little more rhythmic clarity called for in the opening cornet figure. There's so much here that is again well done but there are also little clips within the textures. They don't greatly impede the flow though and this is elegance about this. Elegance and grace with a lightness of touch that appeals. The ending is Aron balanced and not overdone concluding a fine effort.

Overall: A very creditable effort indeed to open proceedings from Foresters. Thoughtfully prepared and very well controlled but not without slips.

Chris Thomas

 

Criteria Mark Sheet

Marks by Steven Mead

Technical accuracy:8
Rhythmic precision and clarity: 7.5
Suitable choice of tempi: 9
Control of full dynamic range: 7.5
Ensemble precision: 7
Tuning/intonation: 7
Band sound quality: 8.5
Balance/clarity of textures: 8
Quality of soloists: 9
Artistic expression/musicality: 8.5

Total: 80

Comment

A stylishly crafted performance, soloists all do well, occasional tuning concerns, nothing overdone, some good choices made by the MD. An excellent marker performance


Section 1

Sunday 17, 14:59:04

First Section — Comments and Analysis

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Chris Thomas will listening and assessing the First Section performances of 'Tournament for Brass' and posting his thoughts and comments as the contest unfolds.

TOURNAMENT for BRASS by Eric Ball was composed in 1954 has three main movements as follows :
01. TRIOS and DUETS — Allegro ma non troppo
02. SOLOS ( Theme & Variations ) — Andante e semplice
03. SCHERZO — Moderato con moto, e giocoso

Duration 13 minutes 30 seconds

Eric Ball wrote of the piece, "This is not descriptive music, the Tournament is within the Band!

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First Section — Criteria Mark Sheet

Steven Mead will be providing analysis and marks using the Criteria Mark Sheet

 

First Section — Criteria Mark Sheet

Marks by Steven Mead

Technical accuracy: out of 10
Rhythmic precision and clarity: out of 10
Suitable choice of tempi: out of 10
Control of full dynamic range: out of 10
Ensemble precision: out of 10
Tuning/intonation: out of 10
Band sound quality: out of 10
Balance/clarity of textures: out of 10
Quality of soloists: out of 10
Artistic expression/musicality: out of 10

Total: out of 100

Comments


Section 1

Sunday 17, 14:53:56

Draw:

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Sunday 17th September
Test Piece: 'Tournament for Brass'- Eric Ball
Draw: 2pm
Commence: at the conclusion of Section 3

Adjudicators:Michael Fowles and Paul Holland

1. Foresters 2000 (John Davis)
2. Llanrug (Paul Hughes)
3. Bournemouth Concert (Mathew Brown)
4. Bathgate (Anne Crookston)
5. Kidlington Concert (Duncan Wilson)
6. Rushden Town (Adele Hudson)
7. Shepherd Group (Richard Wilton)
8. Rainford (Gareth Brindle)
9. Parc & Dare (Jonathan Pippen)
10. Westoe (Callum Harrison)
11. Pemberton Old Wigan DW (Ben Dixon)
12. Marsden Silver (Alan Widdop)
13. SW Comms (Chris Spreadbury)
14. Unite the Union (John Roberts)
15. Newtongrange Silver (Andrew Duncan)
16. Regent Brass (Paul Archibald)
17. Hitchin (Graham Chambers)


Section 1

Saturday 16, 06:03:05

First Section preview & prediction

Eric Ball's 'Tournament for Brass' provides a wonderful opportunity for listeners, conductors and players to enjoy a masterful piece of brass band writing.

http://www.4barsrest.com/articles/2017/1674.asp




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Presenter, compere and conductor