facebook twitter rss vimeo


CD Review: Regionals 2018

Featuring: Brighouse & Rastrick, Soli Brass, Foden's, Cory, Black Dyke
Conductors: Allan Withington, Jan de Haan, Michael Fowles, Philip Harper, Prof Nicholas Childs
Doyen Recordings: DOY CD377

It all kicks off again soon enough. Blackpool then Huddersfield followed by Perth, Torquay and Bedworth, Durham, Stevenage and Swansea.  Over 500 contest performances all with one aim in mind: National qualification. 

To reach London or Cheltenham the bands will have to tackle five rather generously chosen set-works by the Kapitol Music Panel. Just about every contender taking to the various stages around the country in the next couple of months has certainly been given a fighting chance of winning through.


Take Kevin Norbury’s top-flight ‘Odyssey’: Inspired by the spiritual dichotomies of light and darkness, it was first heard almost 20 years ago at the 1999 European Championships in Munich and has lain dormant just about ever since. 

At around 12 minutes in duration and traditionally structured, it presents a rather munificent opportunity for bands with Albert Hall aspirations. 

So too James Curnow’s ‘Brass Metamorphosis’, which gives First Section contenders ample chance to match technical security to interpretive endeavor, whilst ‘Ex Terra Lucem’ by Jonathan Bates displays it’s obvious Second Section challenges with neatly packaged transparency.  

Austerlitz not Waterloo

MDs with a desire for conquest should enjoy Philip Harper’s colourful Napoleonic mountain romp in the Third Section - with the best hopefully claiming a Battle of Austerlitz rather than Waterloo outcome in the process, whilst a trip to faraway climes of a different kind lies behind Rodney Newton’s enjoyable ‘World Tour’ in the Fourth - written to mark the centenary of Besses o’ th’ Barn’s first such epic undertaking in 1906. 

MDs with a desire for conquest should enjoy Philip Harper’s colourful Napoleonic mountain romp in the Third Section - with the best hopefully claiming a Battle of Austerlitz rather than Waterloo outcome in the process 

Progressive thinking

As an essential reference marker for listeners (but surely not conductors), the Regional CD once again does its job, although a bit of progressive thinking is now long overdue to enable the previous year’s National champion in each section to be given the chance to record the works as part of winning the title?

Delving into the archives for some pretty dated recordings (the links only found in the small print of the booklet inside the CD cover), or having the likes of Foden’s, Cory and Black Dyke provide performances that hold little relevance to what will actually be heard on contest day seems to have one eye on the ledger lines of the profit and loss sheet rather than the featured scores themselves.

Iwan Fox



Play List:

1. Odyssey (Kevin Norbury) - (11.24)
Brighouse & Rastrick
Conductor: Allan Withington

2. Brass Metamorphosis (James Curnow) - (12.38)
Soli Brass 
Conductor: Jan de Haan

3. Ex Terra Lucem (Jonathan Bates) - (11.00)
Foden’s Band
Conductor: Michael Fowles

4. Napoleon on the Alps (Philip Harper) - (10.59)
Cory Band
Conductor: Philip Harper

5. World Tour (Rodney Newton)
Black Dyke Band
Conductor: Prof Nicholas Childs

i) The Leaving of Liverpool - (2.47)
ii) Chicago Rag - (1.47)
iii) Pacific Paradise - (2.49)
iv) Australian Walkabout & Homeward Bound - (2.20)

Foden's Band - BBC Radio 'Young Brass Award Final'

Friday 20 April • RNCM, 124 Oxford Road, Manchester M13 9RD

Crofton Silver Band - Theatre Royal Wakefield

Friday 20 April • Theatre Royal Wakefield. Drury Lane . Wakefield WF1 2TE

Thundersley Brass Band - TBB Quiz Night

Friday 20 April • Richmond Hall, Richmond Avenue, South Benfleet, Essex SS75HA

Black Dyke Band - Conthey - Switzerland

Saturday 21 April • tbc tbc

Gresley Colliery Band - Gresley Colliery Youth and Senior Brass Bands

Saturday 21 April • Gresley Old Hall,. Gresley Wood Road . Swadlincote DE11 9QW

Blidworth Welfare Band

April 20 • Assistant Principal Cornet and Percussionist. Having recently secured 5th place at the Midlands Area Championship Section and a new Principal cornet we are looking for applications for the above positions. The band operate a sensible diary of engagements.

Enderby Band

April 19 • Enderby Band are looking for a SOLO TROMBONE. We are a hard-working and sociable band and are looking for committed players to fill these key seats. The band are current Wychavon and Shirebrook Champions and National finalists.

West Somerset Brass Band

April 19 • West Somerset Brass is looking to strengthen its cornet section, if you are a front or back row player we would be delighted to hear from you, you may even still have a chance of coming along to our French tour later in the year.

Derek Renshaw

ABBA Member
Conductor, Band Trainer and Adjudicator.