2004 Scottish Regional Championships - Retrospective
Test Piece: Vizcaya – Gilbert
John Boax and Irvine & Dreghorn Brass kicked the contest off and we liked their full-bodied sound from the opening. A slight hic-cup in the trombone melody didn’t upset them too much and there was plenty of nice melodic playing to follow, despite a slight touch of nervousness. Nice style in the Fete Basque too and the quality of the ensemble was excellent, just a couple of slips losing them some points. A good opener that got them 3 rd place from the judges and we didn’t disagree with that. Star player – Soprano.
We liked the opening from McTaggart Scott Loanhead as well, but some early intonation problems may have slightly detracted. There were some rhythmic problems too, especially in the trombones and dynamic contrast was just a bit less than we would have liked. We heard some nice soloists, especially soprano and solo cornet although the concentration just seemed to lapse occasionally. Fete Basque was slightly subdued and we lost some of the detail from the middle of the band. It was a good effort overall and the judges placed them 5th, which wasn’t far from where we had them. Star player – Solo cornet.
John Dickson’s young St. David’s Brass from Dalkeith sounded like they were in the mood for it right from the start. We immediately heard an impressive band sound and the opening melodies were all secure. Some minor slips didn’t spoil the 12/8 section and the following soprano solo was well played. The cornet solo really was impressive and the accompaniment was all there too. Fete Basque was just in the right style for us and the technical difficulties were comfortably handled by the band and conductor. A little more abandonment would have added to the overall picture but that is a very minor criticism, it really was very good indeed. 1st prize was well deserved. Star player – Solo cornet
Dumfries Town were next and it started well for them. Good trombones but the horns were just a bit tentative and there some tuning problems early on. The soprano played well, as did the solo cornet, but some of the accompaniments, especially from the middle of the band, were unconvincing. Fete Basque opened tightly but soon began to unravel a bit. The band and conductor weren’t always together and we felt the performance started to tail off a bit as the band tired, which was a pity because there was some nice playing early on from this young band. 9th place for them and that was about right for us. Star player – Solo cornet.
Perthshire Brass were a bit top heavy to open and it was racing along a bit for us. The 12/8 section was well negotiated and the early soloists were secure, if a bit on the safe side dynamically. Fete Basque suited their style a bit more and most of the ensemble was secure, we just thought the louder dynamics were overdone a bit. It was quite an old fashioned performance overall and the 7th place they got from Messrs Read and Dijkstra was about right for us. Star player – Solo cornet.
Buckhaven & Methil Miners made a decent start although the trombones were a bit heavy for us. Some tuning problems were evident in the cornet section but the solo horn and solo cornet were excellent. More good work followed from the cornets in Fete Basque but the lower band sounds weren’t quite as impressive and much of the ensemble was lost as a result. It was a musical reading though and the judges liked it enough to place them 4th. This was just on the high side of our expectations but they did have some good soloists. Star player – Solo horn.
Tullis Russell Mills played number 7 and they handled the opening pretty well, just some lumpiness in the trombone sound, but the horns were good. The 12/8 section was a bit untidy but the soprano player coped pretty well with the following solo, as did the solo cornet. We were concerned about some of the tuning, especially in the quiet playing. Fete Basque was played quite boldly and there was quite a lot of mispitching. The band started to sound tired towards the end too and there could be no argument about their eventual 8 th place. Star player – Solo horn.
Jedforest were our pre-match favourites and they opened very healthily. The trombone melody was especially good, but the horns did well too and the overall sound was very pleasing. The 12/8 section went well with all soloists secure. The soprano and cornet solos were both handled with ease, we just heard a few slips in the accompaniment and intonation wasn’t always spot-on. The style was excellent in Fete Basque was just right for us and the performance was full of life and excitement to the end. Alan Fernie worked extremely hard but it was a good show that fully deserved the 2nd place they got from the judges. Star players – trombone section.
Last band on was Campbeltown Brass and we liked the style from the opening. It was all very tidy through the 12/8 section and the soprano and solo cornet both did well in their solos, once again the accompaniment was a bit unsecure. Some mispitching at the start of Fete Basque combined with lack of dynamic contrast detracted slightly but the ensemble and tuning were always good. We liked the attention to detail in this performance and had them 2 or 3 places higher than the 6th place they got from the judges. Star players – Bass section.
Our pre-match prediction said it would be any one of four to win this one and we turned out to be correct. Our tip for victory, Jedforest Instrumental, finished in a very good 2nd place, but there was no doubt about the winners. We tipped them for 3rd but St. David’s Brass were truly outstanding and fully deserved their 3-point victory.
We picked 5 of the top 6 again though and our reputation as naff tipsters is beginning to take a bit of a hammering.
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