Saturday: Own Choice
Date: Saturday 9th February
Venue: Grieghallen, Bergen
Adjudicators: Robert Childs, Sheona White, Erik Janssen
Comments by 4BR Editor Iwan Fox
Own Choice round up and final prediction:
This was an immensely impressive own choice battle, with plenty of stunning performances on show.
There was one performance for us though that stood out and that came from an inspired Eikanger, who delivered perhaps the most complete Spiriti we have ever heard. This was David King at his 'demanding genius' best as the Norwegian television viewers will soon get to know him as.
His band responded quite brilliantly though and even a stunning virtuosi tier de force from Manger couldn't touch it.
Ila's superbly elegant take on Titan really impressed us to be third today, with Tertnes a fine fourth, Sola sounding a different band in fifth and Molde in sixth.
Behind them today comes Krohnengen, Olso, Stavanger and Jaren - all of whom had their moments but not quite the same level of consistency.
4BR Own Choice prediction:
1. Eikanger Bjorsvik
2. Manger Musikklag
3. Ila Brass
5. Sola Brass
10. Jaren Hornmusikkforening
This could really go down to the wire, but we think Eikanger may just have done enough to hold onto their title - thanks a performance of the rarest brilliance today. We think it may just overturn the slender lead Manger held yesterday - but it could go either way.
The two consistent challengers of Ila and Tertnes are neck and neck behind them, with Ila just getting the nod for us. Oslo should pick up fifth thanks to their fine set work performance with Molde in sixth.
Stavanger and Sola come next with little to choose between them over two days with Krohnengen and Jaren just behind.
4BR OVERALL PREDICTION:
1. Eikanger Bjorsvik
2. Manger Musikklag
3. Ila Brass
5. Oslo Brass
10. Jaren Hornmusikkforening
10. Molde (John Philip Hannevik)
St. Magnus (Kenneth Downie)
A fine start with good balance between sweet sop and cornet, leads into an untidy section that just takes time to settle.
Lovely solo cornet adds a real touch of class, as does flugel. The ensemble isn't quite in the same class, but isn't far away. Great sop top D rings out like a bell, as does bravura euph. The main solo lines all add something to the pot with touches of artistic merit - with solo cornet leading the way again.
The tuba gives a fine lead to the fugue that is played well to start but then loses focus and precision. It's going through a bit of sticky patch and the following high octane approach leads to a couple of wayward souls. The excitement factor is in the stratosphere though.
The final run for home for home just seems strained - they are on the limit now in places, but it holds its liquid flow, despite the huge dynamics. Again, it gets very messy to close. Just enough juice to squeeze one last triple dynamic out - led by bass drum.
Overall: A bold one from Molde that wore its heart on its sleeve right from the beginning and didn't let go. It was a touch messy and scrappy at times, but the excitement factor was in the red zone on the adrenaline gauge.
9. Manger Musikklag (Peter Sebastian Szilvay)
Cantigas (Torstein Aagaard-Nilsen)
The two flanking choirs give such breadth to the sound palette to open, but at its centre is a delicate cornet and euph core just coated by subtle xylophone texture.
It's engrossing stuff - full of rich textures and balances - as well as the odd blast of supercharged colour. Each choir voice delivers a connected statement that draws the music along its darkened path to its obscure terminus.
The focus in the bass trombone and the side drum may be odd but it does work splendidly - helped it must be said by quite superb playing by the soloists themselves. The MD is drawing so much colour and detail out of the score and the band is producing some stunning playing in return.
There is almost a manic self belief and desire on display here at times. The build to the close was immense and the final few bars just pile drived into the foundations of the hall.
Overall: A stunning performance without a doubt - but has it quite done enough? We are into semantics here but the success of this today may come down to whether the judges really liked the music. It was a tour de force in every sense of the word.
8. Jaren Hornmusikkforening (Howard Evans)
Titan's Progress (Hermann Pallhuber)
This is certainly cut from a much deeper, darker, heavier weave of musical cloth. Real Mahler power to open as the introduction is delivered with such a stamp of authority.
It doesn't quite sound as much as ease in the following passages though - with little errors just taking a few chunks on the heavy musical plaster work that has been laid on with a large trowel. My word this is very loud at times. It just loses a bit of its character as a result.
More power in the Spanish step section cries out for a bit more delicacy in execution, but you can't help admire the way this is being painted in almost primary musical colours. Titan is red in tooth and claw at times - a testosterone hero for our times.
There is a real touch of wit to the flugel answers to the euph and cornet duet and the music now captures that lightness of touch. Just gets a bit messy in places, but it recovers its poise and starts to motor home.
And it does motor too - old Titan on a Triumph Bonneville 650 by the sounds of it, but it has such panache and drive in the execution.
There's enough in the tank for rip roaring close too.
Overall: A bold old Titan this - very bold indeed at times. Very operatic and heart on sleeve emotion from start to finish. The crowd loved it and so did the players. Not quite so sure over selfs as it just needed a bit less testosterone in our heroes veins at times.
7. Ila Brass (Karl Ole Midtbo)
Titan's Progress (Hermann Pallhuber)
What a fine start - full of operatic boldness and verve to set the scene for the unfolding storyline. There is a lovely almost Victorian daintiness to the flowing musicality - played with a refine air of good grace.
The MD has certainly captured the bold characteristics of the music - with a lovely flow and an insistence of a lightness of touch despite the obvious bombast. There is a dry wit to little corners of the music too, with a Spanish snap of heels on show. This is growing and growing in impressiveness - thanks to the MDs intuitive approach and the solid execution.
Lovely balance between the wit and serious just before the fugue - tastefully done.
The fugue starts a bit scrappily but it soon recovers its lightweight poise - only to just occasionally lose its footing. The extra speed takes time fully wind up, but then its all out for the final free wheeling trip home.
Tubas lead the way and the rest of the band deliver in sparky fashion. There is plenty in reserve and plenty of detail too - right to the very classy end.
Overall: This was a fine performance that was inspired by an MD who knew his Mahler inside out and kept faith with a featherlight touch on the style that aided a fine interpretation immensely.
6. Tertnes Brass (Trond Korsgard)
Seid (Torstein Aagaard-Nilsen)
A fine opening is full of chilly opaqueness - with just the right shrill brassiness. It's set out with a deliberate sense of dislocate, although the picture is marred by nervousness in some of the leading lines.
Takes a bit of time to recover, but once it does that sense of icy melancholia takes over again. Sop is having a fine day and the MD continues to allow the music time and space to flow glacially along.
That sense of crepuscular anxiety flows through the music like the creeping hand of impending death - the tuba solo sending a wonderful shiver of terminality through the veins.
Real climatic stuff to follow - full of power and drama, and an admirable degree of control even at the dynamic extremes. Can they close things off with cold edged repose?
Just about - not quite sublime as the sop just drops off early leaving the last chord to meander somewhat to a close.
Overall: A very fine effort on one heck of a piece. Brave, bold and full of meaning thanks to the MDs understanding of the score. Had its moments of discomfort though that may just rob them of a few valuable points though.
An easy one so far with Eikanger a country mile out in front. It will take something special to even get close to them on this today.
Sola delivered a fine one and take second from Krohnengen, then Oslo and then Stavanger.
Now we see if there is anyone who can stop Eikanger in the second half.
5. Stavanger (Russell Gray)
From Ancient Times (Jan Van der Roost)
There is something odd about the opening here - cant quite put the finger on it but something didn't feel right. It never seemed totally at ease.
What follows is so much better, with a lovely broad feel to the music. The detail is not always clear though and the ensemble is very loose. MD is working hard at the basics here. The pulse and drive is in abundance but its like herding cats - too many individual players going off in different directions.
Lovely perc foundation but not every solo lines is as well played as the principal cornet. There is such a lack of solidity about this - its a real puzzle. As much as the MD tries the players seem incapable of responding - it's like collective ensemble amnesia has taken hold.
Huge sounds on the reprise and now the big and bold playing can be heard to fine effect. The band is giving it their all, but why couldn't have they done this earlier.
Overall: What a puzzling disappointment. Nothing seemed to hang together yet the audience goes wild. This was a very mediocre performance that saw the MD battling to keep control of the ensemble. It really did hang together by a thread at times.
4. Oslo Brass (Bjorn Sagstad)
Masquerade (Philip Wilby)
A neat start is played with a touch of wit and humour and we hear Falstaff hit the bottle too. The playing is full of well defined characters even if some are a bit scruffy around the edges.
Euph delivers his famous cadenza with a touch of understated aplomb. Just the final leaps don't quite come off, and the following lead lines are nervous in other parts. MD is drawing the music out but the unforced error count is taking the gloss off things a bit. The moon rising in a cold night sky is so well portrayed though.
The female game of twist and turn is neatly done and the build to the final trombone exclamation and tuba solo is bold. What follows is lovely delicate, operatic characterisation, until the fat old bluffer realises the joke is to be shared and all hell breaks loose.
The final drive though is a tad messy although the final three belly laugh chords are belched out in fantastic fashion.
Overall: A real operatic take on the Falstaff legend. Great textures and moods made the main characters come to life, but the slightly high error count just took a few layers off the polished veneer loving created by the MDs fine interpretation.
3. Sola Brass (Ian Porthouse)
Odin (Arthur Butterworth)
Cracking start - real dark and menacing stuff played at a spot on scherzo tempo that pulsates with spiteful hatred.
Hints of Brahms and the composer's mordent wit permeate through. This suits the bands dark ensemble sound and powerful bottom end.
The spookiness continues with a lovely clammy touch to the cold opening to the second section. The MD has really captured the sense of damp gloom and emptiness that is at the core of the protagonist stoney heart. There was real spiteful atmosphere created.
More great dark nastiness follows with the jumpy almost psychotic feel of impending destructiveness. Even the delicacy is like being poked in the eye with a cocktail stick. This is a musical portrait of Hannibal Lectar played by the great Vincent Price as Dr Phibes. The close has real terminality.
Overall: What an enjoyable trip to the dark side of brass band musicality. An excellent, almost psychiatric analysis of hateful, spiteful evil. Lovely, dark and menacing in a classy performance.
2. Eikanger Bjorsvik (Prof David King)
Spiriti (Thomas Doss)
Wonderfully atmospheric start full of little tuneful ciphers of Ein Fest amid the bending glissandi and weird cries of despair. Real hints of dark menace and glowing energy as the musical picture is brought to life. Fantastic stuff led by superb troms.
The quality of the ensemble work is never less than stunning - so precise and detailed. What a sound though - led by leviathan tubas and awesome troms again.
The weird gloop of bubbling oil gives the perfect platform for beautiful plaintive sop lead. Bravo young man - you came of contesting age here as we head into Arabic wonderland via a blues nightclub in Baghdad and the humming chorus.
Now we are in rarified territory only inhabited by the biggest and best contesting beasts - and Eikanger is chewing this up like a rampant T-Rex. Lord above - this is playing such vividness and class.
Simply breathtaking and what a close - like a nuclear powered organ. Stunning - just stunning.
Overall: That ranks as one of the finest performances this band has played here - or anywhere for that matter. The genius of David King permeated every pore of the music - and his players sweated inspirational music making in return.
1. Krohnengen (Harald Eikaas)
31342 feet (Ludovic Neurohr)
Thunderclaps and dipped bells in buckets of water provide the percussion exotica backdrop to start as we head into the stratosphere via ticking clocks and multi layered ensemble effects.
There is so much going on with this piece - right up to the close of the first section: Its a kaleidoscope of effects and textures that are brought thrillingly to life.
The subdued feel to the second section has plenty of the weird and wonderful in it too, with some tasty bass trom work a feature. An outstanding euph is wonderfully lyrical and the ensemble doesn't over power either. Odd little blues section leads to composed close.
Back to the weird, wacky sound board played at flying tempo. Neat Swanee whistle sums things up - this is as controllable as a bag of fighting cats. You just can't tell where this will head next.
The answer is to a thumping finish - as if we have fallen out of the sky.
Overall: one of the oddest test pieces you can imagine. Think Willy Wonker and an everlasting every taste of ice cream you can imagine gobstopper - and you are only half way there. Well played, but what can anyone make of this?
Friday: Set Work
Date: Friday 8th February
Venue: Grieghallen, Bergen
Set Work: A Tale As Yet Untold (Philip Sparke)
Adjudicators: Alan Fernie, Jan Van der Roost, Philip Harper
Comments by 4BR Editor Iwan Fox
Day 1 Round up and prediction
What an intriguing half of a contest this has been.
Three performances stood out for us - all three of which came from entirely different inspirations from the MDs.
Eikanger was controlled, subtle and brilliant. Manger was almost feral, brazen and brilliant. Oslo was a touch of symphonic brilliance.
Which one will come on top then?
Each could deservedly lead into the Own Section, but Manger just get the short head lead for us from Eikanger and Oslo breathing down their necks. It is very, very close though.
Tertnes, may just pip out Stavanger with Ila making up the top six.
Molde, Krohnengen, Sola and Jaren make up the rest of the top 10 with plenty to play for tomorrow.
1. Manger Musikklag
2. Eikanger Bjorsvik
3. Oslo Brass
6. Ila Brass
10. Jaren Hornmusikkforening
10. Oslo Brass (Bjorn Sagstad)
What a bold start and what a good one too - this comes to life with real colour and a spark of energy. MD gives time and space and the player fill it with lovely broad brush stroke sounds and neatly tailored technique.
Bravo sop and solo cornet whilst the young mop haired lad on trom has that sheen of extra class bestowed on very few by the contesting gods.
More luscious stuff to follow. Euph may look like Robbie Coltrane but he makes the instrument should as if played by John Coltrane - lovely indeed. Baritone shines as does the horn and solo cornet. What makes this so persuasive though is the MDs though process underpinning it.
This so classy and musically coherent. There are real moments of true magic on display here - none more so than the solo trombone. Wonderful, wonderful stuff.
Just gets into a sticky spot to open but it recovers it verve and energy and is throbbing with intent.
Great ease even at pacy 1 in a bar. MD has this piece in the palm of his hand and his band isn't letting him down either.
Just gets a touch raw in places but its a little gripe as the band now touch warp speed - way to go Bjorn!
What a cracking finish too.
Overall: This is right in the mix today - the best reading for us and some of the best playing too. So much to admire and enjoy about every aspect of this performance.
9. Ila Brass (Karl Ole Midtbo)
A confident band sets off at a whip snap pace - but the detail comes through with clarity.
Just the odd moment of discomfort spoils a well laid out musical picture - one that has pace and drive. Fine bit of bumper up work and sop screamer gives this a touch extra class. The elongated close to the movement seems unnecessary though.
More good musical values permeate the middle section with a very fine euph leading the way. A very artistic baritone and solid horn follow but the music has lost its flow and has become episodic. Young Master Aagaard-Nilsen on bumper up shows his class once more and the flow to a well managed chorale is safely negotiated.
Much to enjoy, but it was all drawn out somewhat by the MD. Perhaps a bit too much.
More Aagaard-Nilsen class as we hear how the opening should be played, and the rest of the band follows suit. Now this is fine playing.
There is a delicacy of touch on show here - especially in the tubas.
The final fling for home is played with verve and freedom, and there is just enough left in the tank for a rip roarer of a finish.
Overall: A solid account that at times really impressed and then at others left you a bit bemused and underwhelmed. The plus points far outweighed the minus ones though.
8. Krohnengen (Harald Eikaas)
A confident opening has everything in place but just lacks dynamic contrast and defined balance. Solid but a little unspectacular in approach, the energy seems a touch manufactured.
More of the same - secure lead lines and ensemble is all in the right place, but it just cries out for a touch of passion. Euph does very well though - very well indeed, but it just loses focus and artistry in the following lines. The chorale is well played but a little bland, whilst the close is there or thereabouts.
At last - one of the best starts to the tricky final movement - all in place and all played with clarity.
More good stuff follows - the MDs decision to take a notch of the tempo has worked a treat. This sounds like a different band.
The tempo is gradually wound up too - no lead footed driver at the helm for sure. This really is good stuff now, and when the top speed is reached it sounds comfortable. Just enough juice left to give a little bit of welly to close.
Overall: A bit of a puzzler this. A few more risks in the opening two movements would have made this a complete package of a performance. The final movement was a cracker, but perhaps came too late to save it from a mid table finish at best.
7. Manger Musikklag (Peter Sebastian Szilvay)
A very different sounding opening - with the tuned perc bringing real texture to the flow. Big warm ensemble sound is heavy but also nimble on its feet. There is so much energy and drive to this - and all important clarity and definition too.
There is a bite to the aggression that snaps clean in execution too. So much of the playing is of the highest class and bubbling with verve and fission.This has the wow factor even though there is a huge question mark over the close to the movement? Do percussion drop a big clanger?
Lovely stuff to open and more sublime playing follows. MD gives the music so much time and space but does not sacrifice the flow in the process. Malleable magic.
Euph plays with understated beauty, as does baritone and horn and cornet pings it good and proper. Just the odd moment of rawness but the quest to reveal the music takes precedent. That said, this movement also ends with a question mark or two as it sounds nervous and strained and the chorale didn't quite have the sense of sublime beauty.
Perhaps the best start - but it then becomes untidy. The energy has been replaced by raw emotion in places and it loses it quality. Bloody hell though - when it does spark it fairly hits you between the eyes like a sniper shot.
The Kraken has woken now though - and the final section is breathlessly brilliant. What a close!
Overall: Almost a diametric opposite to Eikanger but still with the same plus and minus points. Not subtle, and certainly brilliant at times, but also pockmarked with serious flaws too. Tuning in places was poor and it was a bit raw in the dynamics. The thrill factor though was up towards the optimum Szilvay setting.
6. Tertnes Brass (Trond Korsgard)
There is an air of confidence about this start - finely balanced, energetic playing that flows with purpose.
This is broad picture stuff, that just lacks the really defined detail but still brings across the music with clarity of thought.
Nothing much wrong with it in fact - and certainly not pockmarked with annoying little errors as some have been today.
More confident playing is on show in the second movement too - artisan rather than artistry in lead lines, but the solidity is admirable and is not going to lose points for certain. Just gets a little fragile in places but the no nonsense approach by the MD has given this a platform on which to build with good musical sense. Fine chorale and close.
Yet another band that endures a messy start to the third section - this has caused problems all day. Recovers well though thanks to more good conducting sense and a brake on the dynamics and speed.
MD puts a tasteful foot down on the power gauge and is rewarded with more good playing in return. There is enough in the tank too to bring things to a rousing conclusion.
Overall: This could well upset the apple cart a bit. Really confident playing and so well laid out by the MD. Lots of good intelligent brass band playing on show here and it could be rewarded well.
Halfway view and prediction
A contest that has not quiet fully caught fire as perhaps we might have expected.
Eikanger leads by a comfortable margin for us, but even they delivered a performance of subtle rather in your face brilliance under a very focused David King.
Stavanger leads the chasing pack with Molde in third but very close behind, then Sola and Jaren for us.
Lots to play for in the second half then
1. Eikanger Bjorsvik
5. Stavanger (Russell Gray)
A bold start from Stavanger hits its stride although there are a couple of scrappy moments on show. Great ensemble sounds from what is a very young looking band has the perfect brassy sheen for the sense if controlled aggression required by the music.
The second movement is so beautifully shaped by the MD - lovely elongated phrasing and subtle moulding of dynamics. The occasional blip and clip in lead lines just takes off a layer of richly polished gloss. The lead lines just needed a touch more artistry to compliment the musical picture created by the MD. A lovely close saw everything come together at last.
Another band that doesn't quite nail the opening section, but it is played with pulse and drive. There are moments when this does thrill your pants off though despite the obvious minor errors and somewhat sloppy ensemble.
It has a change of gear and change of dynamic emphasis to close as it races to the line in tub thumping style.
Overall: A fine one - but a mixed one too at times. At their best this thrilled your to the marrow with its musicality, but there was a fair amount of sloppy playing on show too. a slightly frustrating one you feel for the MD
4. Jaren Hornmusikkforening (Howard Evans)
A bold start has a stamp of authority about it and a sense of verve. Just gets a tad ripe in places and ragged in places as the stage adrenaline kicks in. Needs to find a bit more control - but you can't help be impressed by the confidence.
The sop is pinging them out like silver bullets, but the excitement gets the better of the ensemble with a really messy close.
More bold musicality as MD wears the emotion on the sleeve. The players are giving it their all too.
Euph leads well and is followed by equally forthright baritone and horn. Young solo cornet nails it stone dead - bravo young man. So too excellent too and it leads to a wonderfully composed close.
The start to the third movement is a mess though - it does not gell and feels very fragile. It recovers it poise but there is no real upturn in the ensemble quality.
Has it moments when it does come together - but overall it sounds so scrappy in places. A pity this as the flow and drive are bang on the mark. They certainly open up the turbo boosters for the final ride for home and the last few bars are literally thumped into the ground.
Overall: A persuasive reading but the execution was too varied at times. An excellent start and some fine individual contributions but the weak final movement may cost them today.
3. Eikanger Bjorsvik (Prof David King)
What a start - so clean and precise with a pulse that is rock solid. It is almost understated in effect, but as a result there is so much more depth to the musicality.
Excellent troms and euphs lead the way, but it is the bass end that gives the foundation on which this is built. Bravo cornet and sop and what a neat close.
Now we hear class - real top notch class. MD shapes the music with inherent beauty - and his players respond. My word do they respond...
Euph and baritone are artistic and refined, the horn is elegant and the cornet nails it good and proper. MD again adds touches of real sublimity to the musical picture. The chorale sends a shiver down the spine.
Long break before final section just leads to a slightly fragile opening, but the aim is delicacy here and it soon recovers its poise. This is controlled and very effective with just the odd minor blip.
Now the shackles are off - and what a tuba foundation. MD unleashes turbo power mode and now we get full bore stuff. There is still something left in the tank for a climax that shudders the spine.
Overall: Playing right out of the top drawer - but also playing that had so much self control too. MD really invested self belief into this and it showed in his interpretation. Subtle brilliance and touches of real magic.
2. Sola Brass (Ian Porthouse)
A bold start with the detail heard although there was the odd scrappy moment or two. There is plenty of energy and drive on display, but those little clips may just be costly.
A touch of class from the solo cornet and Nigel Fielding on sop add bonus points back. MD has captured the spirit and verve of the writing without it becoming aggressive.
Decent start to middle section, but once again the odd fragile moment detracts. It flows musically but the minor clips are noticeable. Well done horn and cornet once more shines. Holds it form and flow to close.
A messy start to the third movement lacks authority and clarity though. It takes time to come together and gell. The vibrancy is there all right and so too the pulse and passion, but those little clips have tarnished the polished veneer.
Plenty in reserve for a great close - although the overhanging gong spoils the final slam dunk finish.
Overall: A fine interpretation just spoilt by a rather noticeable minor error count. Lots to admire musically but the technical clips may prove costly.
1. Molde Brass (John Philip Hannevik)
A fine start promises much - neat and tidy, with warm sounds from the euph and middle of the band.
The filigree work and the detail really does through in the first movement although there is some unease in the ensemble.
The opening to the second movement is flowing, but there are the odd moments of uncertainty in places. The main feature lines on euph, baritone and horn are workmanlike rather than truly artistic, but cornet does so well.
There is a lovely feel and flow to the chorale section - played at true pianissimo dynamics too.
A messy start to the final section is disappointing, but it recovers even though its edgy and brittle. It fairly bowls along now - played with drive and purpose, even if that chippy veneer is obvious.
There is enough in the tank too to really open up the gunnels for the bold climax too, with a bomper of a close.
Overall: A pretty good one this - lots to enjoy despite the brittle nature of some of the solo and ensemble lines. It flowed along with a neat sense of musicality from start to finish.
Our own choice and overall prediction is now up on the site opposite, so see if you agree with us!
We will be posting our choices for today and for the overall title after we have had a cup of tea and a Norwegian cheese roll. Won't be long....
That's it for the own choice section then with the hall now empty, the judges off to consult and the 4BR Editor to go and figure out who he thinks has won. it's going to be close for sure....
Molde are the last band to take to the stage and will perform St Magnus. Their enthusiastic supporters are in the hall again - including the great mentalist screamers - right behind me again!
There is still a huge buzz in the hall after Manger's performance. It had all the elements in place, but the question mark was whether it had enough contrast for the judges. It was tour de force from beginning to end
Well now. The audience certainly loved Manger and the sheer verve and showmanship of Cantigas, but it was a performance that at times stunned you by by its virtuosity rather than its musicality.
The stage set up for Manger covers the breadth of the auditorium. The gap between the first two movements lasts nearly 2 minutes.
Manger are set up in two flanks of choirs with the cornet and euph duet sat in the centre flanked by the xylophonist. This is very different music making
Cantigas is built like a Gothic nuclear submarine - a work of immense musical architecture and detail. Here we go then....
The Grieghallen packs itself to the rafters one more time as Manger set the stage for the epic Cantigus. If this comes off the place could very well go completely bonkers
A very confident looking Jaren takes to the stage to deliver their take on Titan's Progress. MD once gain looks urbane and relaxed as he raises the baton.
Karl Ole Mitbo wore a wide smile of satisfaction as he walk right past us and off the stage after that fine performance of Titan with Ila. Brought all the musicality out of the complex score. A hard act for Jaren to follow
No sign of the red bow tie and matching cumberband set today for Karl Ole Midtbo. A reserved tie and black belt - he must have been caught by the Norwegian fashion police.
The hall has filled up quite a bit as Ila take to the stage. They have certainly brought with them plenty of support by the sound of it.
Ila Brass up next and another band in with a real shout of a podium finish. they have opted for the Mahler inspired Titan's Progress to see if they can get a top three finish.
A fine effort from Tertnes that very nearly captured the icy essence of Sied to a tee. Not quite though as the faces of the players show as they leave the stage.
Tertnes takes to the stage and will reprise the immense asked - the piece that saw them come runner up at the Scottish Open last November. They are with a shout after yesterday.
The audience file back in after the mid contest break with Eikanger a mile in front. Nobody has come close to them so far today.
Stavanger place their faith in two sops and the huge challenge of the former Euro test piece. It's one heck of a tough ask.
Oslo may not have the last laugh today, but they will have enjoyed a giggle or two after their fine performance. Stavanger up next with ground to make up on From Ancient Times
Oslo take to the stage knowing that they are in with the best chance of a podium finish or even higher after yesterday's superb performance. Can they do it again on the epic Masquerade. He who laughs last then.....
Sola will be very pleased with their performance today - they sounded a different band. The MDs interpretation was a classic study in pagan evil portraiture
Sola Brass takes to the stage with the urbane Ian Porthouse at the helm. The malevolent Odin is their choice to plunder a possible top six finish
The audience gave that performance the reception it fully deserved - it was playing of the very rarest class. Stunning - simply stunning.
Eikanger walk with purpose to the stage and look very relaxed. The MD gives an elegant bow and then we are off.
Eikanger is next up with Spiriti by Thomas Doss - a work they used to win this title back in 2011. Can they repeat that triumph. A packed hall is expecting something special.
The audience is really buzzing after this one from Krohengen. Stunned people - but a bit like the effect you get when drinking too cold beer that freezes you between the eyes.
There is more weird and wonderful percussion on show than can be found in the drum section of the house band in the bar of the Star Wars films.
When was the last time you saw percussion players work so hard? They are certainly earning their money on this one.
Krohnengen have opted for a pice that was premiered at the Europeans in Rotterdam - and a tub thumping mind bender it is too. Watch out for the gongs dipped in to buckets of water
Now the place is packed full as we await Krohnengen. The television presenter has made his final piece to camera and we are now just minutes away from the start.
The great and good, supporters and those who just want to be on the television are in the audience at the Griegallen. This should be a corker...
What a selection of music to look forward to this afternoon - from Swiss inspired altitude exotica to an old musical saint in Downie's former Euro test piece - and plenty more in between.
There is a bit of a break now before the action starts in the Elite Own Choice Section.
Some great shows on here in First Division - Kleppe especially delivered a super Harmony Music and two fine Dances and Arias from Radoy and Gjallahorn. Brass Blot on at the moment with Oster Brass
Just enjoyed a nice chat with Torstein Aagaard-Nilsen who will be writing the set work for these championships in 2014. Great composer and a fine Liverpool FC supporter too.
More great music has been featured by the First Section contenders - with Brass Blot, Dances and Arias and High Peak to come
Just the four bands to go in the First Division. Radoy giving Harmony Music a good going over at the moment.
Sorum Musikklag currently on stage as band number 6 of 11
Now into the second half of the First Division contest with plenty still to play for in what has been a cracking battle
Bjorsvik brass next on stage - and the hall is expecting something special from their favourites
The standard of playing in the First Division is very high indeed with local favourites Bjorsvik Brass set to take to the stage next.
Back at the Grieghallen for more bands and more fine music making. Early start and a late finish guaranteed.
That's it for today's- hope you enjoyed our coverage. Our prediction is opposite so see what you think? See you all tomorrow for more brilliant Bergen action.
What a lovely conductor to watch in action though - great technique, easy communication and a touch of conducting charisma too. Some mix that...
Bjorn Sagstad - elegant, grey, browned shoed and so thin you almost can't see him behind the recording stand at the front of the stage....
The hall has emptied quite a bit now as Oslo prepare to take to the stage, so we will see what reception they get. Loud and standing is the answer...
Ila may have caused a bit of a rethink in the top six places, so what can Oslo do as the last band of the day. Their raucous supporters are in fine voice right behind me!
Torsten Aagaard-Nilsen's lad is playing bumper up with Ila and is showing just what a class act he is with his contributions. What a player
At last - a conductor with a dicky bow and matching cumber band . Life on Mars returns for a new Norwegian series....it's 1975 all over again - a've it!
One of the most impressive bands of recent times takes the stage next with Ila Brass - who won this contest back in 1989 under today's MD. Now he's back and looking to win again
Our Norwegian mole tells us that most people are going with Manger today after their thrilling performance with Eikanger a close second.
The Krohnengen MD is not put off by a misplaced wolf whistle from outside the hall breaking the silence just before he brings down the baton.
The crowd certainly loved it, but was it all too much thrill a minute stuff. The audience pour out with plenty of opinions and questions to be aired.
The MD is mesmeric to watch in action - it's as if he feeds of the music to gain his remarkable charismatic energy.
Interesting set up for Manger with the maimed tuned perc behind the back row cornets. A different balance to the colour and texture then may be on show
Now there is a bubbly sense of expectancy in the air. If Manger nails this then the hall could well explode. Light the blue touch paper and take a step back then...
Now where did all these people, come from? The bars must have emptied because there has been a stampede for seats. The star attraction is Manger
You can almost see the confidence seep through Tertnes. Players look relaxed and as if they are enjoying this. No hunched shoulders or pained expressions of frustration....
Trond Korsgard is one heck of a tall man - he would make a fine second row forward. Nice Nehru suit too. Can't see Alan Wyn Jones ever wearing one of those...
The action is about to start again in 5 mins with the audience perhaps still waiting for the contest to really catch fire. Tertnes is first up, but the hall is only half full.
The action starts back again at 7.30pm local time so we have a 25 minute break at the moment. Eikanger leads by a bit of a margin at the moment as the bars fill up with gossip and opinion.
Halfway point of the contest and the judges are now having a break. 4BR Editor needs a bit of libation too. back in 10 mins...
Each time you see Russell Gray in action you get a glimpse of a conductor whose desire to better his technique through clarity and intelligence is so obvious. The baton not the man is the focal point.
Stavanger is the first band today to play with two sops - one local lad and the other Ben Richeton from Fairey. Share and share alike then....
There is a warm and welcoming round of applause as the familiar figure is Russell Gray takes to the stage and starts with that lovely free flowing baton work.
A fine round of applause for Jaren as they leave the stage with broad smiles on their faces. They certainly gave this 100%
Three knowledgable old heads in front of the 4BR Editor give the world renowned grunt of approval after a fine trombone leads in second movement for Jaren.....
Jaren looks a young band with fresh faced young tyros all around the stand. Solo cornet can't have started shaving yet surely...
There is a lovely elegance to Howard Evans' conducting style. Clear, precise and refined. Less is more with this guy.
Wild cheers from supporters of Jaren as they stride onto the stage. They seem to have quite a bit of boisterous support on hand to help their challenge.
People are still talking about that Eikanger performance - the degree of self control was almost zen inspired by Prof King.
The audience doesn't go wild as we have come to expect for Eikanger but you sense they were perhaps a touch surprised by the subtlety of the MDs reading. It was playing that really engaged the mind this.
You can almost hear a pin drop in the quiet moments with Eikanger. Hard to remember when you last saw the MD so focused as this. He is in total command of this...
This is the Australian on no nonsense form - right into the music and no showboating. Its all so precise and clear in direction.
My word the good Professor looks as if he's been to Saville Row for his suit and Nicky Clarke for his slick hair. He looks as if he means business.... Just a polite thank you and off we go.
The applause rings down from the hall as Eikanger's players make their more purposeful walk to their seats this year - it was almost brisk by their usual standards. David King waits in the wings...
Now the hall fills up - as the fans pile in to listen to their favourites and reigning champs Eikanger. Now the place has really come alive...
The three distinctive movements really do hold all sorts of traps and terrors for the players. What seems innocuous is really a razor edged mantrap
There are quite a few more people in the hall for Sola - perhaps bagging their place for Eikanger to follow.
Ian Porthouse takes to the stage dressed in a very fetching suit and grey shirt combo. Those neat fingers are off to work straight away.
Sola Brass up next with Ian Porthouse at the helm. Sola's own version of the screaming Addabs are sat next to me this time. Hells bells...
As suspected the two screamers behind the Editor let their lungs loose and squealed with Nordic delight. And I thought the locals were supposed to be reserved....
Former Foden's stars David and Anita Morton sit on principal cornet and Flugel with Molde. The odd uniforms make them look like Austrian postal workers.....
MD John Philip Hannevik is a neat presence in front of his band - all little pointed fingers and clean cuffs.
The introductions are currently being made as Molde sit and wait. On comes the MD to the rousing applause. Last few nervous moments now...
Now the hall is starting to fill up. Molde is waiting in the wings and will be the first band to try and impress Alan Fernie, Jan Van der Roost and Philip Harper in the open box.
The action in the Elite Section starts at 4.30pm. The audience is starting to file in and we have two self confessed screamers for Molde sat right behind the 4BR Editor. This could get noisy...
That's it for the Second Division - now for the composers talk and then its back for the Elite Section at 4.30pm local time.
Last band to play in Second Division will tackle Wilby's homage to LS Lowry. There have been some ambitious choices today - and this is one of them for a band at this level.
Just the 1 band to go in the Second Division and it must have been an enjoyable day for the judges Robert Childs and Arsene Duc to sort these bands out. There has been some really top class playing
We are getting to the business end of the Second Division now. It's been a good contest with Spectrum and Lowry Sketchbook to come...
The action in the a second Division continues with Manger Old Stars and The Holy War. 4 bands to go....
The action continues in the main hall with the buzz still sounding after Bjorvika Brass playing Tallis Variations in the Fifth Division
There is a well timed break taking place at the moment in both main contest halls, so chance to have a quick around and say hello to some old friends
The action continues with the Second and Fifth Sections
The action starts at 10.30am with the Second Division