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Black Dyke
Conductor: Dr Nicholas Childs
Featuring: Ian McMillan & The Manchester Chorale
Doyen Recordings: CD299
Total Playing Time: 70.09

CD cover - Pictures

The latest high profile CD to roll out of Queensbury features an intriguing quartet of music inspired by the cultural and well as physical excellence of this Olympic year.

Big hitters

It’s a relay team of big hitting composers too; leading off with Judith Bingham, before the baton is passed to Luke Carver Goss and Derek Bourgeois before a finishing straight blast of a finale from Modest Mussorgsky.

We open with a reminder of the historic breaking of the four minute mile barrier by Roger Bannister at Iffley Road in 1954, in a gloriously uplifting work by one of Britain’s foremost composers.


Right from the bang of the starter’s gun Bingham’s 'Four Minute Mile'  field sprints away with the lead changing hands between the cornets, lower brass and horns; settling down into a more relaxed pace in the middle laps before the final breathless lunge for the finishing tape and sporting immortality.

It a wonderfully vigorous work – although puzzlingly, the time of 3 minutes 27 seconds is more in Usian Bolt territory than that even Sebastian Coe at his peak could manage.


The 2012 Cultural Olympiad, which featured at its core, ‘New Music 20x12’, provided the UKs artistic stars with their own opportunity to showcase their world class talent.

‘Pure Gold’ by Luke Carver Goss evokes a 4 X4 relay, with the band joined by the Manchester Chorale and the ‘Bard of Barnsley’ Ian McMillan, whose rose tinted sports day recollections underpin the flow of the work.

Alf Tupper

However, the modern structure and architecture of the writing lends a much more immediate feel to the music, whilst McMillan cleverly restrains himself from embellishing things too much with his guttersnipe Alf Tupper, ‘Tough of the Track’ memories.

The interplay and interchanges are deftly managed, with power allied to grace and humour linked with a touch of pathos. 


Much the same can be said of the performance of ‘The Devil and the Deep Blue Sea’ – a work rich in all things slightly subversive.

Nicholas Childs draws a reading full of detail, precision and dry wit from his band; the remorseless drive of the fugue balanced by the plaintive beauty of the restful, if slightly bizarre ‘Danaesque’ images of the waves lapping Lulworth Cove.

Rousing finale

Finally, a rousing guided tour around St Petersburg’s Academy of Fine Arts with Modest Mussorgsky’s ‘Pictures at an Exhibition’ – brought to life in a richly hued mix from the band’s extensive palette of dynamics and textures.

With strong characterisation, bold solo and ensemble lines and the ability to manage stamina sapping resources with a frugal brilliance, it provides the band with a glorious opportunity to prove their Olympian reputation is fully justified on every atmospheric canvas of a gold medal release.

Daniel Wilmott


1. Four Minute Mile, Judith Bingham, 3.27
2. Pure Gold — A 4 x 4 Relay, Luke Carver Goss, Ian McMillan (Narrator) with The Manchester Chorale, 13.27
3. The Devil and the Deep Blue Sea, Derek Bourgeois, 16.59
Pictures at an Exhibition, Modest Mussorgsky, arr. Elgar Howarth
4. Promenade 1, 1.38
5. The Gnome, 2.43
6. Promenade 2, 0.55
7. The Old Castle, 5.11
8. Promenade 3, 0.32
9. The Tuilerie Gardens, 0.57
10. Bydlo, 3.20
11. Promenade 4, 0.50
12. Ballet of Chicks in their Shells, 1.13
13. Two Jews,2.22
14. Promenade 5, 1.33
15. The Weekly Market at Limoges, 1.22
16. The Catacombs, 2.07
17. With the Dead in a Language Dead, 1.53
18. Baba Yaga, 3.39
19. The Great Gate of Kiev, 5.35

Gloucestershire Brass Band Association - Own Choice March & Test Piece Contest

Sunday 19 November • All Saints’ Academy. Blaisdon Way. Cheltenham GL51 0WH

Rotherham Schools' Youth Brass Band - Fountain City Brass Band

Monday 20 November • Rotherham Minster - Rotherham s60 1pd

Foden's Band - Matt Ford - Lichfield Cathedral

Friday 24 November • 19A The Close, Lichfield WS13 7LD

Lofthouse Brass Band - Pudsey Churches Together Christmas Concert

Saturday 25 November • Pudsey Parish Church, Church Lane, Pudsey, LS28 7BD LS28 7BD

Lofthouse Brass Band - Lofthouse Christmas Fair

Saturday 25 November • Lofthouse Methodist Church, Leeds Road, Lofthouse, Wakefield WF3 3NE

Hucknall & Linby Brass

November 20 • Hucknall and Linby Band - 2nd section- Require a front row cornet player. We rehearse Thursdays 7.30 -9.30 in Hucknall, Nottingham. With great transport links to the city centre and the universities.

Newstead Brass

November 18 • Bb Cornet (position negotiable). . Newstead Brass, established Midlands Championship section, have opportunity for an additional cornet player. Suitable for experienced player or someone looking to take the next step in their development.

Wakefield Metropolitan Brass Band

November 17 • FRONT ROW CORNET. SOLO TROMBONE. . The band have an exciting concert/contest/marching schedule ahead. We are looking for a committed front row cornet and solo trombone player to come and join us in the Yorkshire 1st Section! MD: Richard Larder.

Darren R. Hawken

PGdip, BMus(hons) PGCE, dipABRSM, LRSM
Conductor, Arranger, Teacher, Adjudicator, Band Trainer