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Brighouse & Rastrick & Foden's

Conductor: Michael Fowles
Huddersfield Town Hall
Saturday 28th October

The newly crowned National Champion celebrated its recent Albert Hall triumph with their traditional autumn massed band concert amid the equally ornate Victorian splendour of Huddersfield Town Hall.

Their guest band was certainly no party pooper either, as collectively Brighouse and Foden’s delivered a terrific night of entertainment led engagingly by Michael Fowles. The congratulations that came from Sandbach to their Yorkshire rivals was generous and warm hearted - the compliment returned in kind by their hosts.

Collective ethos

And although the duo will lock horns in competitive battle in a couple of week’s time at Brass in Concert, for this occasion it was well-chosen, audience friendly music making that was the collective ethos for the night. 

Both were precise and poised - right from the opening fanfares of a slick ‘Festive Overture’. Foden's Richard Poole’s was the excellent soloist in ‘Blue’, effortlessly accompanied by his band,  leading into the upbeat Neil Diamond classic, ‘America’ which saw both bands reunite.  The arranging skills of Gordon Langford were given a timely reprise with his textured arrangement of Faure’s ‘Pavane’ and the more vibrantly coloured ‘Bobby Shaftoe’.

Old classic

Jan Van der Roost's meditative 'Canterbury Chorale' was a fine vehicle to display a deep sound palette, before the sparkling euphonium fun of ‘Eire Time’ came from Gary Curtin, which led into a welcome unearthing of an old classic - with Friedmann's 'Slavonic Rhapsody No 2' played with just the right mix of tempered bombast and breathless brilliance.

Self confidence

The hosts (with the trophy on proud display) took the lead in the second half; the West Riding band oozing self-confidence from the very opening bars of Rimsky-Koraskov's 'Capriccio Espagnol'.

Principal cornet, Kathleen Gaspoz gave a reminder of just why she claimed the ‘Best Instrumentalist’ award in London with a sumptuously elegant take on Piazzola’s, ‘Oblivion' , whilst the arranging skills of Goff Richards were acknowledged with a brace of rarely heard (on modern day concert programmes at least) musical offerings of'The Golden Lady' and 'Hamabe Nouta'.

The hosts (with the trophy on proud display) were on equally good form; the West Riding band oozing self-confidence from the very opening bars of Rimsky-Koraskov's 'Capriccio Espagnol'.

Flugel player Michael Eccles enjoyed himself in 'Children of Sanchez' before Michael Fowles ensured Brighouse's professional conductor, Prof David King was not forgotten, thanks to two Peter Graham excerpts of 'Lady Stewart's Air' and 'Drums of Thunder' from 'Windows of the World'  (both of which he commissioned). 

'Pines of Rome' was the rousing finisher - building in intensity and drama, before the lollipop encore of Bach's 'Toccata in D Minor' sent the capacity audience on its way home, very happily entertained indeed.   

Malcolm Wood



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Howard J Evans

MA (Dist), Mus.B (hons), ARCM (hons), LRAM, LTCL, PGCE
Conductor, composer, arranger, tutor and pianist