This latest release from Enfield Citadel reinforces why the ensemble remains one the Salvation Army's elite bands.
Bandmaster Jonathan Corry has selected repertoire that is familiar to both Salvationist and mainstream listeners alike with 13 well chosen tracks.
Many of the items have specific spiritual context, but all are expertly crafted so that the distinct relationship between the message and the music employed is clearly conveyed.
The interpretations are engaging and the direction from Jonathan Corry is first rate throughout the release, as a well rehearsed and technically secure band displays a fully rounded sound.
Albert Jakeway's Rimmer-styled march, 'Rosehill' is delivered at an effective tempo, before soprano cornet, Tim Buckle and flugel Malcolm Hynd enjoy the popular, 'Pie Jesu'.
The title track, W Hogarth Lear's 'The Bandsman's Tale' is recorded by a Salvation Army band for the first time. The music is based around 'The Founder's Hymn' whilst the sound world portrayed by the composer also incorporates references to the poem, 'William Booth enters Heaven'.
Written over thirty years ago, this stirring account, which incorporates electronic keyboard, reminds the listener at times of Howarth's 'In Memoriam RK'. Bandmaster Corry and the band revel in the nuance and subtlety of a wonderful work.
The quartet of cornet, euphonium and three trombones are featured in three solo spots.
Maurice Patterson utilises his flying cornet fingers in a quick-fire 'When I Remember', whilst Paul Baker's euphonium is in reflective mood in the 'Lament' from Karl Jenkins' 'Stabat Mater'. The trio of trombonists maintain the standard of solo playing as they enjoy the familiar 'I Will Follow Him'.
Leslie Condon's tone poem, 'Song of the Eternal' is based on the first chapter of St John's gospel and utilises six scenes which follow each other. It's a power-house reading from the MD.
Here we have a composer who had an innate understanding of a brass band’s capabilities and uses this to superb effect in terms of balance and tone, on what is arguably the musical highlight of a fine release
There follows the traditional gospel song, 'Just a Closer Walk with Thee' and the beautifully portrayed 'In Perfect Peace' - both played with classy understatement.
Paul Hindmarsh's skills have seen previously unpublished music of Wilfred Heaton revived, and his delightful 'Golden Pen', which was originally piano music transposed into a set of free-flowing light-hearted variations, is a wonderful example of both the composer and the arranger’s expertise.
Trombonist, Andrew justice is on cracking form in the Bernstein 'West Side Story' styled 'Rejoice' before Enfield delivers an engrossing reading of Steadman-Allen's 'Victorian Snapshots – On Ratcliff Highway' - delivering a performance of mature substance.
Rutter's 'A Gaelic Blessing' nicely rounds things off, although it could have perhaps been programmed elsewhere on the recording. It rather sounds a bit of a stocking filler afterthought - which is a pity.
With informative and detailed programme notes from Paul Hindmarsh, and informative introductory interludes, this excellent recording by Enfield Citadel is to be fully recommended.
1. Rosehill, Albert Jakeway, 3.21
2. Pie Jesu, Andrew LLoyd Weber, Soprano and Flugel soloists: Tim Buckle and Malcolm Hynd, 3.01
3. Introduction to The Bandsman's Tale, General Shaw Clifton (Rtd), 1.54
4. The bandsman's Tale, Elgar Howarth, 6.59
5. When I Remember, David Catherwood, Cornet soloist: Maurice Patterson, 2.27
6. Lament from Stabat Mater, Karl Jenkins,ar. Wainright& Childs, Euphonium soloist: Paul Baker, 4.04
7. I will Follow Him, Del Roma,J w Stole & Arthur Altman, arr, richards, Trombone Trio soloists Andrew Justice,Ben Horton & Stuart Horton, 3.19
8. Introduction to Song of the Eternal, General Shaw (Rtd), 1.48
9. Song of the Eternal, Leslie Condon, 13.43
10. Just a closer walk, Traditional,arr. Fernie, 3.06
11. In Perfect Peace, Kenneth Downie, 4.10
12. The Golden Pen, Wilfred Heaton, realised P Hindmarsh, 3.51
13. Rejoice, Roger Trigg, Trombone soloist: Andrew Justice, 5.15
14. Introduction to Victorian Snapshots — On Ratcliff Highway, General Shaw (Rtd), 2.01
15. Victorian Snapshots — On Ratcliff Highway, Ray Steadman-Allen, 15.21
16. A Gaelic Blessing, John Rutter, arr. Ray Steadman-Allen, 2.15