CD cover - Standard Bearers – The Music of Andrew R MackerethStandard Bearers – The Music of Andrew R Mackereth

17-Jul-2002

Coventry City Salvation Army Band
Conductor: Bandmaster Steve Whitmore and Andrew R Mackereth
B&H Sound Services: CD BHSS 0472
Total Playing Time: 64.24 mins

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The Salvation Army has an almost unlimited well of talent from which it can draw. Players, singers, composers, and arrangers you name it and the organisation can put its hands on someone or other who can provide you with high class, committed and very classy output. Andrew R Mackereth is one such person.

Born in 1965 in Gateshead, Tyne and Wear, Mackereth is a fourth generation Salvationist who has in his 27 years lived not only in the North East but also Zambia, whilst his formal musical education was forged at the Birmingham School of Music where he studied trombone and composition and which led to him winning the prestigious Bernhard Brown Memorial Composition prize. His talent has been recognised both inside and outside of the Salvation Army but it was not until 1987 that his work first entered the Salvation Army brass band repertoire. Since then his works have gained in prominence and in September 2000 he was named Composer in Residence to the Coventry City Band, whilst in 2001 he was named as Composer in Residence to the famous Melbourne Staff Band for their tour that year of Great Britain a high honour indeed within the Salvation Army organisation.

The Band themselves are of considerably older vintage being formed as far back as 1882 and are well known within the Salvation Army as "The Band With A Name". On five occasions they have been invited to perform at the Bandmaster's Councils Festivals in the Royal Albert Hall, whilst they have also travelled abroad on many occasions and were the first Salvation Army Band to visit Germany after the conclusion of the Second World War.

This release sees both parties on good form with 13 tracks from the pen of Mackereth that are varied both in temperament and style, yet which all derive their inspiration from songs, words and psalms of the organisation. Both work well in tandem (with the composer himself showing considerable style and talent when performing on the trombone and flugel horn on one of the items). The result is a very satisfying CD release, which covers repertoire that has been written by a very committed man who's spiritual hinterland shines through with skill and foresight.

The pieces range from the straightforward and uncomplicated to the detailed and complex, but there is always a link with the musical libretto of the words of the faith and they are words that indicate a loving relationship that is the soul saving power of Jesus Christ.

Most of the tracks are quite short and are suited to small intimate ensembles rather than full blown brass bands, but the major work of the release, "Pilgrimage of Youth" is a satisfying extended piece that brings the best out of the performers.

The band itself is well balanced, although the bass end does sound a tad light and the middle of the band is sometimes lost by the power of the top end in places, but they play with an innate sense of musical style and meet the technical challenges with comfort. Although all the pieces have theirmoments, they are not the hardest of technical works, although this in no way detracts from the music.

All in all a very welcome opportunity to hear the work of a talented composer who has the undoubted ability to produce high quality interesting repertoire in different styles and temperaments. A pleasant and rewarding release.

What's on this CD?

1. Forward, Mackereth, 3.29
2. Walking in the Light, Mackereth, 2.27
3. Fall Afresh, Mackereth, 3.09
4. Pilgrimage of Youth, Mackereth, 15.33
5. Exaltation, Mackereth, 3.13
6. I’ll be a Light, Mackereth, 3.24
7. Keep Me Praising, Mackereth, 3.24
8. Standard Bearers, Mackereth, 8.55
9. Time to Shine, Mackereth, 2.045
10. Deep and Wide, Mackereth, 3.01
11. Celebrate, Mackereth, 2.39
12. Millennium Flourishes, Mackereth, 9.01
13. Cheer Up, Mackereth, 2.48

Total Playing Time: 64.24

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