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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)

Regent Hall Concerts - RAF Wind Soloists

Friday 19 January • Charlton House. Charlton Road. London. SE7 8RE SE7 8RE

The Brighouse & Rastrick Band - EYMS Brass Band at Hull City Hall

Saturday 20 January • Hull City Hall. 67 Carr Lane,. Kingston upon Hull HU1 3RQ

Black Dyke Band - Morley Town Hall

Saturday 20 January • Morley Town Hall, Morley, Leeds LS27 8DX

Wantage Silver - Gary Curtin

Saturday 20 January • Reading Central Salvation Army RG1 7JR

The Hepworth Band - Soprano Sarah Ogden

Sunday 21 January • Christ Church, Sude Hill, New Mill, Holmfirth HD9 7BL

Frampton on Severn Silver Band

January 19 • We are a friendly non-contesting band in Gloucestershire looking for players, in particular cornets, baritone and basses. We play at many local events and bandstand jobs, and practice on Tuesday evenings just off Junction 13 of the M5.

Shipston Town band

January 18 • We currently need a Kit percussionist, horn and Bb Bass as we prepare for the forthcoming Midlands Area at Bedworth in March. We are graded Section 4

The Corsham Band

January 18 • Having now been promoted to the 2nd Section for the forthcoming Contest season, the band are now looking for a back row cornet player, 2nd or 3rd, to join our team

Dr. Stephen Arthur Allen

D. Phil. (Oxon) [Ph.D Oxford University], GBSM, LTCL, ABSM, ALCM, Cert. Ed.