2007 Norwegian National Championships - First Division


4BR casts its eye over the 12 bands hoping to make the step up and join the Elite bands in Norway this weekend.

GeighallenFirst Division
Adjudicators: Alex Schillings, Kim Lofthouse
Saturday 10th February (9.00am)

Once more this has all the makings of a very interesting contest, and in many ways it is very much like the First Section in the UK, where there a whole raft of bands who are comfortable enough at this level, but are possibly not quite good enough to make a mark in the section above.

The question of open adjudication will have no effect on what goes on here, but the question of who has picked the right own choice selection of test piece, certainly will. There are some pretty ambitious choices, although it is also nice to see that a few bands have looked backwards too. There is a bit of everything here to savour from the delights (and pitfalls) of Eric Ball's ‘Kensington Concerto' and George Lloyd's under rated ‘Royal Parks' to the flash, bang, wallop of Graham's ‘Journey to the Centre of the Earth' and immense challenge of Wilby's ‘Revelation'. In between we also get to hear Gregson, Bourgeois and Sparke too. What a mix eh?

Last year the standard was pretty high – although one or two did bite off more than they could comfortably chew and Tomra were good value for their victory. The analogy with the UK First Section does hold true though as the step up from here to the Elite level is a big one and who ever wins here will have an even greater mountain (make that fjord – but you get the drift) to climb next year.

In the meantime a decent reward could be for the Europeans to invite the First Section winners here to compete at their contest in the B Section in 2008.

Who do we think that could be then? Find out at the bottom of the page…  

Alexander Brass Band
Morten E. Hansen

National Record:
2006: 5th (Morten E. Hansen)
2005: 9th (Morten E. Hansen)
2004: =5th (Morten E. Hansen)
2003: 10th Elite Division  (Morten Hansen)
2002: Winners First Division
2001: Winners Second Division
2000: 8th in Second Division
1999: 11th in First Division (rel)
1998: 7th in First Division
1997: 1st in Second Division (prom)
1996: 3rd in Second Division
1995: 1st in Third Division

Overall Record:
Winners of 1st Division in 2002
2nd Division in 2001 and 1997
3rd Division in 1995

Last Year: 5th 

Own Choice Selection:
2006: Between the Two Rivers
2005: The Holy War

Alexander have seen both the ups and downs at this contest over the years, from a quick stay in the Elite Division in 2003 right down to the Third way back in 1995.

They are now it seems quite secure at this level but in the last couple of years they may have suffered a little with some interesting and worthy own choice selections choices that perhaps are not out of the top drawer from the composers involved. Anyone played Between the Two Rivers by Philip Sparke? Thought not.   

Should have enough about them though to do well (they came 5th at SIDDIS last year) and have a talented and experienced MD to front them.  

Askøy Brass Band
  Egil Magnussen

National Record:
2006: 6th (Helge Haukas)
2005: 3rd (Egil Magnussen)
2004: 3rd (Tom Brevik)
2003: 3rd
2002: 2nd Second Division (prom)
2001: 6th
2000: 11th
1999: 3rd
1998: 7th
1997: 7th
1996: 2nd
1995: 7th
1994: 10th

Last Year: 6th

Own Choice Selection:
2006: Journey into Freedom
2005: Tallis Variations

On paper Askøy should be one of the favourites, although we said that too last year and they fell away somewhat to come 6th. They didn't really set the world on fire at SIDDIS either and came home in 11th place so they will want to get back to form here this time around.

A return to Egil Magnussen should help and although that could well mean not quite as colourful a performance as last year (‘Journey into Freedom' in a very different interpretation) it could mean a podium place at least come the results.    

Follesø Musikklag
Eirik Gjerdevik

National Record:
2006: Winners Second Division (Egil Magnussen) (prom)
2005: 9th (Jan Arne Pope)
2004: 3rd in Third Division (Jan Arne Pope) (prom)
2003: 6th
2002: 10th
2001: 6th
2000: DNC

Last Year: Winners 2nd Division

Own Choice Selection:
2006: Kaleidoscope
2005: Firestorm

Follesø continue to march up the sections here and won the 2nd Division in fine style with an excellent performance of Philip Sparke's ‘Kaleidoscope' under the direction of Egil Magnussen.

They were not quite as good at SIDDIS however and had to be content with 8th place there, so the step up in class may be hard work. That said, they have a pretty good man in front of them in theform of the huge Viking himself Eirik Gjerdevik.     

Haukås Musikklag
Thor-Arne Pedersen

National Record:
2006: 7th (Thor – Arne Pedersen)
2005: Winners of Division 2 (Thor – Arne Pedersen) (prom)
2004: Winners of Division 3 (Thor – Arne Pedersen) (prom)
2003: 11th in Second Division (rel)
2002: 4th
2001: 13th
2000: Joint 9th

Last Year: 7th

Own Choice Selection:
2006: Tallis Variations
2005: Connotataions

Haukås couldn't quite make it a hat trick of victories at the National last year when their spectacular progress up through the sections under the baton of Thor– Arne Pedersen cam to a halt against a higher class of opposition and perhaps an own choice selection that didn't quite suit the band and its approach.

Struggled a little at SIDDIS too when they came 12th out of 13, so they will have to up their form if they are to make a real mark this year again.  

Jaren Hornmusikkforening
  Helge Haukås

National Record:
2006: 10th in Elite Division (Helge Haukås) (rel)
2005: 4th (Helge Haukås)
2004: 8th (Helge Haukås)
2003: 9th  (Helge Haukås)
2002: 9th  (Helge Haukås)
2001: 6th  (Helge Haukås)
2000: 2nd in First Division (N/K) (prom)
1999: 6th (B. Eklund)
1998: n/k 
1997: 9th in First Division (T. Elnes)
1996: 4th (T. Elnes)
1995: 3rd in Second Division (T. Elnes) (prom)

Last Year:
10th Overall in Elite Division: 9th on set work/ 9th on own choice

Own Choice Selection:
2006: Montage
2005: Ballet for Band
2004: English Heritage
2003: Riffs and Interludes
2002: Klang! – Orjan Matre

Although Jaren were founded as far back as 1936, they did not make their debut at the Nationals until 1980.  They have made steady progress over the years and were promoted into the Elite Section in 2001.  They have also gained something of a reputation of pushing the boundaries with their own choice selections

Last year they opted for the extremely dangerous ‘Montage' and paid the penalty with an error strewn performance that never got going. They could have had no complaints where they ended up come the results.  The MD though is a delight to watch even if he sometimes gets it wrong with the repertoire, but they should be up there come the results.   

Kleppe Musikklag
Russell Gray

National Record:
2006: 3rd (Eirik Gjerdevik)
2005: 4th (Eirik Gjerdevik)
2004: =5th (Eirik Gjerdevik)
2003: 6th
2002: 4th
2001: 12th
2000: 7th

Last Year: 3rd 

Own Choice Selection:
2006: English Heritage
2005: Chivalry

Kleppe are certainly moving in the right direction and it seems they have given themselves an additional boost to make it to the Elite Division by employing none other than Russell Gray to spearhead their assault. 

That should prove a wise old move and if they can build on the fine performance last year of ‘English Heritage' that showed that they have the players and the stamina to make a real mark. Ones to watch out for and possible clear favourites following their win at SIDDIS too. 

Laksevåg Musikkforening
Tom Brevik

National Record:
2006: 4th in Third Division (promoted to First Division)
2005: 3rd (Tom Brevik)
2004: 5th (Tom Brevik)
2003: 7th
2002: 12th in 2nd Division
2001: 6th in 2nd Division
2000: 2nd

Last Year: 4th in Third Division

Own Choice Selections:
2006: The Land of the Long White Cloud
2005: Salute to Youth

We don't know the exact reason why the band has been promoted up two sections, but perhaps they requested it. Tom Brevik knows the ropes at all levels and must be aware that his band could do a decent job at this level – a shown by them more than holding their own at SIDDIS where they came 10th.

Could be brilliant, but them again they could produce a performance like they dd here last year when they didn't quite get to grips with an old bit of Saprke. Interesting.   

Oslo Brass Band
Frode Amundsen

National Record:
2006: 2nd (Michael Antrobus)
2005: 7th (Sverre S. Olsrud)
2004: 2nd in Second Division (Sverre S. Olsrud)
2003: 3rd
2002: 1st in Third Division
2001: DNE
2000: DNE

Last Year: 2nd

Own Choice Selection:
2006: Paganini Variations
2005: Blitz

Olso are a band that is moving steadily up the ranks it seems and last year they very nearly took the title with a colourful and exciting performance of the Wilby Opus that had plenty of refinement from both players and MD.

More of that could well serve them nicely to make that final step up although they will be conducted by Frode Amundsen.    

Oster Brass
Torstein Aagaard-Nilsen

National Record:
2006: 9th (Reid Gilje)
2005: 5th (Reid Gilje)
2004: 10th (Oddmund Hjartaker)
2003: 11th
2002: 10th
2001: 8th
2000: 10th
1999: 7th

Last Year: 9th

Own Choice Selection:
2006: Variations on an Enigma
2005: English Heritage

Oster will be looking to continue the good form they showed at SIDDIS where they came 3rd under the baton of Hogne Holmas.

Last year they perhaps bit off a bit more they could chew with ‘Variations on an Enigma' – a daunting old pot boiler if ever there was one, so it will be interesting to see what their celebrated MD has in store for them this time.  

Radøy Brass
Gareth Pritchard

National Record:
2006: 8th (Gareth Prtchard)
2005: 8th (Gareth Pritchard)
2004: 2nd (Gareth Pritchard)
2003: 5th
2002: 9th
2001: 5th
2000: 5th
1999: 5th

Last Year: 8th 

Own Choice Selection:
2006: Odyssey
2005: London Overture

Radoy didn't do themselves justice here last year with a pretty underwhelming performance of ‘Odyssey' that never quite got off the ground and deserved what it got in 8th place.

They will certainly be looking to return to the form that saw them come runners up here three years ago and they showed at SIDDIS that they have the talent and the players to do just that when they came 4th under Tormod Flaten. Could be up there if they have a good day.    

Sola Brass Band
Christopher Evans

National Record:
2006: 4th (Rune Gundersen)
2005: 10th in Elite Section (Benny Wiame)
2004: Winners of First Division (Steve Bastable)
2003: 4th in First Division (Steve Bastable)
2002: 6th in First Division (N/K)
2001: 3rd in First Division (Russell Gray)
2000: Winners in 2nd Division (Russell Gray)
1999: 9th (Melvin White)
1998: N/K
1997: 12th in First Division (T. Anundsen)
1996: 3rd in First Division (N/K)
1995: 4th in First Division (Melvin White)
1994: 7th  (Melvin White)
1993: 7th  (James Scott)

Overall Record:
Winners of First Division 2004
Winners of Second Division 2000

Last Year: 4th

Own Choice Selection:
2006: Dances and Arias
2005: Between the Moon and Mexico

Sola returned to the First Division last year after their brief stay at the Elite level, and they more than held their own in coming 4th under former Stavanger top man Rune Gundersen.

They didn't quite hit top form here last year with a bit of a wobbly ‘Dances and Arias' bu the signs that they had the necessary class to make a mark were still on show. 8th place at SIDDIS was a bit of a disappointment perhaps but they have enough about them to feature highly here if they can recapture that old sparkle.  

Sørum Musikklag
Christian Tenfjord

National Record:
2006: 2nd in Second Division (Erling J. Myrseth) (prom)
2005: 11th in First Division (Erling J. Myrseth)
2004: =7th (Trond Elnes)
2003: 7th
2002: 7th
2001: 2nd in 2nd Division
2000: Joint 5th in 2nd Division

Last Year: 2nd in Second Division

Own Choice Selection:
2006: Trittico
2005: Spectrum

Sørum certainly bounced back from their relegation in 2005 by coming runners up in the Second Division last year with a fine performance of the very tricky and testing ‘Trittico'.

They also showed that they could well be a band to fear here too after more than holding their own at SIDDIS where they came 7th against a very strong field. Christian Tenfjord is at the helm once more after that notable performance, and that could bode well here.    

Own Choice Selections:
A.     A Kensington Concerto     (Eric Ball)    
B.     Dances and Alleluias     (Philip Sparke)    
C.     Dances and Arias     (Edward Gregson)    
D.     English Heritage     (George Lloyd)    
E.     Forest of Dean     (Derek Bourgeois)    
F.     Journey to the Centre of the Earth     (Peter Graham)    
G.     Lowry Sketchbook     (Philip Wilby)    
H.     Montage     (Peter Graham)    
I.      Partita     (Philip Sparke)    
J.      Revelation -     (Philip Wilby)    
K.    Royal Parks     (George Lloyd)    
L.     Variations on an Enigma     (Philip Sparke)    

2006 Result:

1. Tomra Brass Band, Frans Violet, 95
2. Oslo Brassband, Michael Antrobus, 94
3. Kleppe Musikklag, Eirik Gjerdevik, 92
4. Sola Brass Band, Rune Gundersen, 91
5. Alexander Brass Band, Morten E. Hansen, 90
6. Askøy Brass Band, Helge Haukås, 89
7. Haukås Musikklag, Thor-Arne Pedersen, 88
8. Radøy Brass, Gareth Pritchard, 87
9. Oster Brass, Reid Gilje, 85
10. Brøttum Brass, Thorbjørn Lunde, 84
11. Tromsø Brass, Robert Jensen, 82
12. Vennesla Kristne Brass, David Tellefsen, 80

Solo prize: Solo cornet, Haukås Musikklag
Best section: Percussion, Tomra Brass Band

4BR Prediction:

A close run thing this one we think, especially as Tomra are now in the Elite Division. There are plenty of good quality bands here that are more than capable of taking the title, so we have to look at the form book in recent years and what they may or may not be playing.

With that in mind we think Jaren should have the class about them (if they pick a piece that suits their undoubted talents of both players and MD) to win it, with the in form Kleppe, who have the in form Russell Gray at the helm to push them all the way.  Askoy have a fine record here over the past few years (apart from last year that it) and should feature of they can recapture that form once more, whilst Oslo, Sola and Sorum should fill the remaining places.

Our dark horse is Alexander, who could well win it if they pick a piece that really gives them the chance to shine.

1. Jaren Hornmusikkforening
2. Kleppe Musikklag
3. Askoy
4. Oslo Brassband
5. Sola
6. Sorum Musikklag

Dark Horse: Alexander Brass Band


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