Enfield Citadel Band
Conductor: Jonathan Corry
SP&S Ltd: SPS 284 CD
Total Playing Time: 70.51 mins
For his second recording since being commissioned as Bandmaster at Enfield, Jonathan Corry has chosen to draw together a number of pieces with strong connections with the band.
These include Condon’s classic 'The Call of the Righteous', but it is not all nostalgia, as there are some tracks relating closely to Jonathan’s own era.
In three instances, there is a Northern Ireland connection: Ulster-born Chelsea Pascoe and David Catherwood, together with Roger Trigg who, although born in Australia, now lives in the province.
Roger provides the lively opener, 'Battle Ready', which the band premiered at the 2008 pre-contest festival.
It has been recorded previously, by the Melbourne Staff Band, but this version is more incisive, with tight playing and a nicely judged build up of tension.
David is known mainly for his vocal items, together with a number of solos.
The arrangement of 'Spirit of Life' was prepared especially for the band, receiving a smooth, assured reading.
Classical tour de force
'The Call of the Righteous' has become justly popular since its first performance in 1964.
The cornet opening can be treacherous, but comes off well here, as do the solo contributions, Jonathan ensuring the players are given plenty of space to do the music justice.
There is a big rallentando at the timpani solo towards the end, leading into a majestic closing section as the cornets answer the trombone phrases.
Enfield’s principal cornet is Maurice Patterson, and his warm, lyrical tone is heard to good effect in Ralph Pearce’s arrangement 'Ave Verum Corpus'.
His expressive, controlled playing marks him out as a worthy successor to the likes of David Daws and Ralph Brill.
As a follow-up to his successful version of 'Toccata', Ray Farr prepared this arrangement of the 'Fugue in D Minor' for the 2009 pre-contest festival.
Perhaps not as accessible as the original piece, this recording gives the listener the opportunity to make his/her mind up based on more than just a single hearing.
Tribute to a former Bandmaster
Bandmaster James Williams, MBE, was the inspiration for Peter Graham’s 'Ad Optimum', when he conducted Erik Leidzen’s 'None other Name' during a visit to the Star Lake Music Camp in 1985.
Four years later he returned to conduct the first performance of Peter’s work, the title the motto of the Enfield Citadel Band – 'To the Highest'.
Making use of 'Laudes Domini' and 'Richmond', together with the composer’s own 'There is beauty in the name of Jesus', it is something of a tour de force, demanding attention to detail and precision in both loud and soft passages.
Chelsea Pascoe soldiers at the Belfast Sydenham Corps, and the young composer has produced a meditative arrangement combining 'Prayer Gently Lifts Me' and 'From Sinking Sands He Lifted Me'.
The combination of Generals John Gowans and John Larsson has been responsible for the production of a number of Salvation Army productions over the years; John's melodic gifts being linked with Gowans’ talent for lyric-writing.
To celebrate their joint efforts, Andrew Mackereth was asked to compose a work for the 2004 Gospel Arts Concert. He has expanded the section featuring 'Knowing My Failings' into a stand-alone solo, presented here with some aplomb by Andrew Justice.
Edward Gregson was another 1960's member of Tottenham Citadel Band, and the original 'Variations on Laudate Dominum' was written some years ago.
Two additional movements were added in 2007, an interrupted waltz and a sparkling tarantella, and it is this revised version that is presented here.
The sleeve notes refer to the quotes in the tarantella from Heaton’s 'Praise', whilst the interrupted waltz owes something of a debt to the composer’s 'Mercy’s Light'. The two movements are well integrated into the overall performance.
The cornet trio 'The Veterans' was written by Ray Steadman-Allen to meet the demand for lighter programme material.
Employing songs from the early days of The Salvation Army, it is played by Chris Avison, Paul Williams and Maurice Patterson - the soloists making a lively, well-balanced trio.
Philip Wilby’s sensitive setting of 'When I Survey the Wondrous Cross' was prepared at Bandmaster Corry’s request for the 2009 pre-contest festival, retaining the somewhat whimsical nature of the original setting, and the lyrical side to the band is heard to good effect.
Smooth euphonium playing
Many songs from stage and film musicals have become independent concert items, and so it is with the 'Anthem from Chess'.
Arranged as a euphonium solo by Andrew Blyth, it makes for a fine vehicle to display the smooth playing of Paul Baker.
As a finale, the band gives an impressive rendition of Steven Ponsford’s 'Turris Fortissima'.
Steven is adept at combining traditional and more modern hymns in totally convincing fashion, and this is one of his most successful works.
The playing is confident and exuberant – possibly a little too much so at times – but it certainly makes for an uplifting finale to an enjoyable programme.
From this recording it is clear that Enfield continue to develop under Jonathan Corry’s leadership. Commendably, the presence of a few guest players is acknowledged in the notes.
With some promising youngsters having recently come up through the ranks, one looks forward to hearing more from the band in the coming days.
1. Battle Ready, Roger Trigg, 3.19
2. Spirit of Life, David Catherwood, 3.31
3. The Call of the Righteous, Leslie Condon, 8.11
4. Ave Verum Corpus, Edward Elgar, arr. Ralph Pearce, Maurice Patterson (Cornet) with Enfield Citadel Band, 2.41
5. Fugue in D Minor, Johann Sebastian Bach, arr. Ray Farr, 3.29
6. Ad Optimum, Peter Graham, 6.42
7. Prayer Gently Lifts Me, Chelsea Pascoe, 3.16
8, Knowing My Failings, Andrew Mackereth, Andrew Justice (Trombone) with Enfield Citadel Band, 3.39
9. Variations on Laudate Dominum (revised), Edward Gregson, Enfield Citadel Band, 15.01
10. The Veterans, Ray Steadman-Allen, Chris Avison, Paul Williams and Maurice Patterson (Cornets) with Enfield Citadel Band, 3.51
11. Wondrous Cross, Philip Wilby, 3.40
12. Anthem from Chess, Bjorn Ulvaeus & Benny Andersson, arr. Andrew Blyth, Paul Baker (Euphonium) with Enfield Citadel Band, 3.16
13. Turris Fortissima, Steven Ponsford, 9.14