With the Swiss National Championship looming on the snow topped peaks of the Alps in November, Brass Band Burgermusik Luzern threw down the competitive gauntlet to rivals as they claimed the Swiss Open title at the KKL Concert Hall in their home city on the weekend.
Conducted by Michael Bach they regained the title they last won in 2011 to give the MD his fourth success at the multi-discipline event.
Brass Band 13 Etoiles led by James Gourlay was second, with Brass Band Berner Oberland conducted by Corsin Tudor in third. Defending champion Ensemble de Cuivres Valaisan was fifth behind the 'scratch ensemble' Wallberg Band led by Cory MD, Philip Harper. Recently crowned British Open champion Valaisia Brass Band did not take part.
The set-work was 'Metropolis 1927' by Peter Graham, with own-choice selections coming from a set of orchestral transcriptions. The separate march prize was claimed by Brass Band 13 Etoiles for their performance of 'Arnhem'.
Speaking directly to 4BR, winning MD Michael Bach said that the result gave Brass Band Burgermusik Luzern a huge boost as the former European champion looks to regain the National title in Montreux at the end of November.
"We are very pleased with the result and it gives us a lot of confidence as we look ahead to the Swiss National Championships," he said. "Winning here in our home city means a great deal to us all and we now hope to add to that with our first National success since 2013."
Michael had little time to celebrate the success though (above), as he was due to fly to Norway to work with the current European Champion, Eikanger Bjorsvik on a series of four major works for a concert next weekend in Bergen.
"That is something which I am really looking forward to. Eikanger is a magnificent band and the repertoire is so exciting. I'm sure my band will enjoy their celebrations before we start the hard work again."
Up to last note
When the final results were revealed that the destination of the title was certainly up for grabs right to the last note being heard at the famous KKL Hall, as the adjudication team of David Childs, Howard Lorriman, Carlo Balmelli, Pascal Eicher and Roman Brogli-Sacher made their deliberations.
With each judge given 60 marks (with the highest lowest then discounted), it was a superb performance of 'Metropolis 1927' by Wallberg under Philip Harper that first impressed most, ahead of Brass Band Berner Oberland with Brass Band Burgermusik Luzern in third. 13 Etoiles was joint fifth.
However, Luzern's stunning rendition of Respighi's 'Roman Festivals' completely turned the tables, ending just ahead of 13 Etoile's thrilling 'Capriccio Espagnol' by Rimsky-Korsakov, with Valaisian's 'Hunnenschlacht' ('Battle of the Huns') by Liszt a distant third.
Berner Oberland's 'Balfagor' by Respighi was fourth, with Wallberg's 'Checkmate' in seventh, enabling Brass Band Burgermusik Luzern to secure the title by a narrow two point margin.
Winning here in our home city means a great deal to us all and we now hope to add to that with our first National success since 2013Winning MD, Michael Bach
Adjudicators: David Childs, Howard Lorriman, Carlo Balmelli, Pascal Eicher, Roman Brogli-Sacher
Set Work/Own Choice = Total
1. Brass Band Burgermusik Luzern (Michael Bach): 170/179 = 349
2. Brass Band 13 Etoiles (James Gourlay): 165/177 = 342
3. Brass Band Berner Oberland (Corsin Tuor): 172/167 = 339
4. Wallberg Band (Philip Harper): 177/161 = 338
5. Ensemble de Cuivres Valaisan (Francois Roh): 165/170 = 335
6. Brass Band Fribourg (Maurice Donnet-Monay): 169/160 = 329
7. Brass Band Luzern Land (Hervé Grélat): 162/165 = 327
8. Ensemble de Cuivres Mélodia (Vincent Baroni): 160/166 = 326
9. Oberaargauer Brass Band (Christoph Luchsinger): 158/158 = 316
10. Liberty Brass Band Ostschweiz (Andreas Koller): 156/160 = 316
Best March: Brass Band 13 Etoiles (James Gourlay)
Best Own Choice: Brass Band Burgermusik Luzern (Michael Bach)