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2011 4BR Awards — Test Piece of the Year

Lots and lots of test pieces were performed in 2011 — some better than others it must be said. So which one was the best of the bunch though?

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4barsrest awardsThere were works old and new on show all year throughout the banding world, and we do point out that we only select those pieces that have been chosen as contest set works first – and not just ‘one off’ own choice selections, unless they have been subsequently used again in another contest.

Plenty to choose from then – from Butlins and the Areas to the Europeans, Masters, Birmingham, Cheltenham, London, all over Europe and the rest of the world.

These were the five that made the greatest impression on us though.


WaespiAudivi Media Nocte
Oliver Waespi
First Performance: European Brass Band Championship


What a cracker. The European Championships has produced a number of very fine compositions in recent years, but it is hard to think of one as good as this.  

The composer gave us something remarkably inventive, yet linked inextricably to brass band contesting tradition. The MDs and bands responded with equally inspiring performances.  

This was a brass band work that opened up new avenues of musical possibilities.


HamersPower of the Soul
Maurice Hamers
First Performance: Norwegian National Championship

The surprise of the year – and what a great one it turned out to be. 

A very personal, evocative work, with its episodes of tense, emotive writing, dark retrospection and intriguing fleeting references – like images of past memories played out in the mind. 

It was one of the most satisfying compositions of the season – especially when it was played with such understanding by the top bands in Bergen.

It surfaced again and again around Europe – and will surely be heard in the UK in 2012 too. Don’t miss it.


DobsonSymphony of Colours
Simon Dobson
First Performance: European Championship
 

A deeply intriguing, engrossing work from a composer who continues to explore new, exciting possibilities for brass band scoring thanks to his inquisitive, febrile mind. 

There was an ethereal beauty about this work – full of complex detail drawn from a palette of the most exotic colours and timbres. 

It drew you deeper into its clutches on each hearing – and always revealed something new about itself.


NilsenOld Licks Bluesed Up
Torstein Aagaard-Nilsen
First Performance: Norwegian National Championship
 
The dark, sensuous beauty of this composition was a revelation – from the free flowing energy of the opening and closing Toccata's to the mesmeric pulse of the extended central Ritornell, which beat like the post coital panting of a well satisfied woman. 

There was something so deeply engrossing about the work that at its close you felt as if the synapses in your brain had been chemically altered by a form of musical osmosis. 

That was witchcraft and genius rolled into one.


PLCBreath of Souls
Paul Lovatt-Cooper
First Performance: National Championships of Great Britain

Say what you like – but no other composition of recent years has created so much interest in a brass band contest as this.

The sneering class cocked their noses up at it, whilst Jo Public paid top dollar and sat through all 20 performances at the Royal Albert Hall – and few, if any, came away feeling as if they hadn’t enjoyed the experience in full.

Open, transparent and brilliantly, almost irrelevantly stylish, it was the definitive musical statement of our brass band contesting times.

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St Pinnock Brass Band - Rock Choir Cornwall

Sunday 26 May • Sterts Theatre, . Sterts, . Liskeard, . PL14 5AZ PL14 5AZ


Contest: All England International Masters

Sunday 26 May • The Lighthouse Theatre, Kettering Conference Centre, Thurston Drive NN15 6PB


Lewes, Glynde and Beddingham Brass Band - Eastbourne Bandstand - 1812 concert

Wednesday 29 May • Bandstand, Grand Parade, Eastbourne BN21 3AD


Black Dyke Band - George Lawton Hall, Mossley

Thursday 30 May • George Lawton Hall, Stamford St, Mossley, Ashton-under-Lyne OL5 0HR


Clifton International Festival of Music - Let Trumpets Sound - Crispian Steele-Perkins

Saturday 1 June • Clifton Cathedral, Clifton Park, Bristol BS8 3BX BS8 3BX


Bollington Brass Band

May 25 • Bollington Brass Band require a Kit and a tutti cornet player to complete our line up. We will be playing at the 2nd section National Finals this September before promotion to the North West 1st section..


Dobcross Silver Band

May 25 • Dobcross Silver Band are looking for a B FLAT BASS player for Whit Friday.. Come and join a Saddleworth band, playing the Saddleworth circuit, including our very own Dobcross contest.. . A great chance to come and enjoy an unforgettable experience!


Stannington Brass Band

May 25 • A rare opportunity has arisen to join one of Sheffield's leading bands with a vacancy for an EEb TUBA PLAYER to complete our bass section. We have a good band room atmosphere and a calendar of interesting concerts and contests.


Stephen Tighe

ARCM, LDBBA, (Dip)PFS.
Adjudicator / Music Director / Arranger