Set Work: Harmony Music (Philip Sparke)
Adjudicators: Nigel Boddice MBE & Rob Wiffen
Comments: Iwan Fox
4BR Editors opinion and prediction:
A highly enjoyable and intriguing contest. Grimethorpe delivers a special one today - as only Grimethorpe can and should claim the title and the trip to the Albert Hall.
Black Dyke and Brighouse were hard to separate even if they were miles apart in interpretations with Hepworth close behind.
Hammonds were very impressive today and we think Carlton Main may just get into the top six ahead of Marsden.
2. Black Dyke
3. Brighouse & Rastrick
5. Hammonds Saltaire
6. Carlton Main Frickley
13. Rothwell Temperance (David Roberts)
What a confident opening - bang on the button and it builds to a really bold climax too. That so well laid out.
The first mini Vivace is neatly done too, and the euph really gives heart and soul commitment to draw the music back to the pacy stuff. Just gets a little raw in places, but it is certainly pulsating with energy and clear detail. The close just falls away - a real pity.
The opening of the Ravel interlude is composed and controlled, although it just loses its deep sheen with the odd clip and tuning issue. The cadenzas sound a little forced in execution, but they are worked through and that bold ensemble sound delivers an emote packed climax.
Its starting to sound a little forced and tired at times, but the central core of quality remains, as does the pulse and drive. There is a great change of gear and a renaissance of clarity and stamina for a thumping close.
Overall: A fine effort from Rothwell, that held so much promise and very nearly lived right up to it. Just a few too many chips off a well managed musical veneer produced by the MD. It may miss out today.
12. Unite the Union (City of Sheffield) (Derek Renshaw)
You can forgive the opening mishap having to follow Grimethorpe on in that form, but not a second time. They need to get over these damaging nerves. Slow tempo isn't helping, but big climax gets things back on track.
First Vivace is poor, but euph does very well at the extremities to lead into second fast section that does have a more secure bubbly feel. Neat close leads into Ravel section.
This has a better flow and sense of melancholia. Cornet does well but horn just fails and the ensemble finds it hard seek inspiration. It's sounds a little tired and harsh this.
Reprise is well enough handled and the spirit and precision final gell together at last. Now we get to hear the band on real form, but it has come all rather late in the proceedings. Good thumping close too.
Overall: A performance that took far too long to get going and as a result will surely struggle to make a mark today. Now the band knows what true top section contesting is all about.
11. Grimethorpe (Luc Vertommen)
What a start - nigh in perfect and it builds with such intensity and dark drama. The first climax is so controlled and so musical.
The first Vivace is played with such neatness - razor sharp in detail and so well balanced too. Euph gives his all in the cadenza and the following reprise is playing of the very highest class too. This has such an intuitive sense of musicality.
This is Ravel - sumptuous and melancholic and laid out with simple beauty by the MD. Roger Webster is still the daddy - what a cadenza, but Billy Rushworth pushed him close too. What wonderful emotional playing to follow and final repose.
The reprise is stunning - played at such a pace, but with so much panache. It throbs like a nuclear reactor ready to explode. Now the turbo charger is engaged and it so flying with such purpose.
Grimey in overdrive now and heading for glory surely. What a close - simply stunning.
Overall: Brilliant - simply brilliant. What a superb reading by the MD and the players responded in kind. A truly magnificent performance.
10. Skelmanthorpe (John Roberts)
A solid opening is well handled and builds with dark balance and intensity of timbre. It just gets a touch fruity in the climax but it leads well into Vivace.
Well chosen tempo keeps things under control and euphonium does well too - pushing through to make things stick. Reprise is less secure and wanders a tad, but MD gives the reins a twitch to get the control back. The louder the better but it holds it form to a neatly shaped close.
The Ravel is well handled too - nothing overdone or artificial. Alan Morrison rolls back the years and ears to deliver a fine cornet cadenza and is followed by a very impressive horn. Climax is once again fruity but it works.
Reprise ride for home is a little scrappy and the balances have lost focus, but there is plenty of pulse and drive and stamina in the tank too. Just a hint of discomfort in one or two places, but the final drive is eeked up in tempo rather than blasted, and makes for an impressive close.
Overall: MD made the most of this with his resources. Solid and purposeful if a little artisan in places. The end result was full of merit though and should more than hold its own today.
9. Carlton Main Frickley Colliery (Phillip McCann)
The very best start of the day that builds with almost ferocious intensity. Not once but twice and the climax is huge. This is a very bold approach by the MD.
First Vivace is untidy - it takes time to gell, but leads to fine bit of euph cadenza work. Second fast section is frenetic and on the edge of losing control. At times it does. It just doesn't have the usual hallmark of control we are used to from this band. Messy.
The Ravel is played with rich intensity and flow. Now we hear class - first from the cornet and then from the horn. It's been late coming but it has been well worth it. It leads to an emotive if rather scratchy climax.
The run for home is so frustratingly inconsistent though - with little errors becoming increasingly noticeable. At times it really does thrill, but there is too much that is so scrappy too. Thumping close comes a little too late we suspect.
Overall: A real inconsistent one from Carlton Main. The good stuff was excellent, but elsewhere it was really scrappy. One that could have been a contender as Marlon Brando used to say, but too much wrong.
8. Marsden Silver (Glyn Williams)
What a good start - bang in tune and with a sense of growing menace and darkness of tone. Builds well to first climax and the initial Vivace.
Neatly done this - and what a superb bit of euphonium cadenza work. Real top notch stuff. The second Vivace doesn't quite work as well but you do hear the inner detail and the control pulse of the music.
The Ravel starts well, but an insecure cornet cadenza doesn't work in two part form. horn does very well though and the rest of the movement has a malleable musicality and sense if sensuousness.
Reprise does get scrappy in places, but we do hear the detail and the balance is right too. Lots to enjoy here - with MD only allowing the leash off for the final ride for home.
The turbo booster is put into motion for the final furlong which in exciting and throbbing with energy. Superb close too.
Overall: An impressive one from Marsden. Some elements were as good as the very best today. Got a bit more inconsistent at other times, but it held its form to close.
An interesting contest in so many way this. Dyke and Brighouse were poles apart in terms of approach and interpretation, but both displayed the same superb strengths and inherent fragilities.
Hepworth were not subtle but so effective, whilst Hammonds were very subtle but very nearly as good.
Below these and the standard has been very disappointing - not true Championship class in fact.
1. Black Dyke
2. Brighouse & Rastrick
4. Hammonds Saltaire
7. Hammonds Saltaire (Morgan Griffiths)
A fine start leads into a confident opening section full of rich colours and well maintained balances. Neat climax leads to first Vivace.
This is well handled too - as is the euphonium cadenza. Bold and unflustered it gives a perfect lead into next Vivace which is played with free flowing confidence. MD is keeping the leash on here and the control is effective.
The Ravel is well handled too. There is an inherent appreciation of the musical style on show here by the MD and the players respond. Cornet does very well as does horn and the bold climax to follow has a nice sense of dark euphoria without careless abandonment.
The reprise is well handled too - very clear and controlled. there are clips but there something in reserve for a bumper finish too. Final furlong just get untidy but we get the right thumping high tempo close.
Overall: An impressive effort this - led by the MD. Players responded so well to produce a very effective and persuasive musical picture. Will more than hold its own.
6. Meltham & Meltham Mills (Norman Law)
A robust opening is played with confidence, although it does lack detail and dynamic subtlety. Builds to a bold climax before first Vivace.
It's a bit scrappy and the question mark hangs over the ensemble balance. Euph gives it his all to secure the cadenza and does well. Reprise is so scratchy, but the main problem lies with the balance. Perc is obliterating the detail. Ends messily.
The Ravel lacks colour and subtle inner balance. It sounds all a bit fraught and forced. Cadenzas sound very nervous. It has become hard graft this and MD does well to keep things on track to regain composure. Ends poorly.
Reprise is so scrappy as stamina and technique wanes. Sheer guts is holding this together and a very good MD. It is near collapse at times as we finally head to the final furlong. Just enough in the tank to close.
Overall: Medals for bravery and enthusiasm, but the evidence was so stark here of a band that could not play this piece. A real struggle.
5. Brighouse & Rastrick (Prof David King)
A no nonsense opening has a subtle balance and colour, but then builds with such burning intensity. Troms stand to add extra level of timbre and excite the audience you suspect - and the effect works.
Such a wonderfully controlled euph cadenza - real class this ends first neat Vivace section. The second has spice and power in equal measure - plus those standing troms. This has motored like a jet engine, yet falls away to close with subtle respect despite the odd clip.
There is a velvety suaveness to the Ravel, enhanced by super cornet and lovely horn. Time, space and controlled dynamics are the key here - then comes the bucketful of emotion and a very King inspired piece of bar line elongation. Subtle and clever it creates such an impact.
Reprise run for home is taken just below maximum torque and it has added clarity as a result. The final furlong has real wow impact factor - and what a close it brings.
Overall: A controlled rendition that was allowed only off the leash when absolutely necessary. Lots of luscious playing, but also a few clips. the end product though was so, deeply impressive.
4. Black Dyke (Dr Nicholas Childs)
An opening of solidity, balance and colour melts into a soft mellowness of timbre as the first section develops. There are huge sounds in show here, but you hear the inner detail too.
Razor sharp Vivace leads neatly to a euphonium cadenza played with such vibrant brio and sheer gutsy aplomb. The fleet footed follow on is full of detail and clarity even if it is on the limit at times with some effects.
This really is juggernaut playing, balanced by neat little episodes - although we do hear the odd scrappy blip.
There is a luscious timbre to the Ravel - which is so suave. Cornet is so classy, and horn overcomes tiny blip to stamp authority. It is on the edge at times again though, but what a sound and what a close.
The reprise is power laden, high octane playing, with turbo boost additions. Just the odd clip, but the final furlongs sees such an impressive display of technique. This really did have a wow factor finish.
Overall: This was Dyke giving their all here. At times you heard the small errors and little clips, but the sheer drive and sense of authority bordered on the awesome. A beatable one though.
3. Hepworth (Michael Fowles)
Big, bold and confident to open after a neatly managed start, there is a viscous flow to the music to follow.
The first Vivace is a little scrappy but it finds its pulse and settles, before we get a very fine piece of euphonium cadenza work - very fine in fact. Now it motors along with menace and excitement. It really does throb.
The Ravel is richly coloured and malleable, with a bold as brass cornet cadenza and top notch horn to follow. Take a bow Sir. Gets a little robust to really sound suave and sophisticated, but closes with solidity.
Reprise sees more full bore playing - but smart and classy to go with it too. There is juice to spare here - with counterpart working well and final drive home given welly.
Ends with real authority.
Overall: This was a different class and has really set a high quality barn for rivals to follow. Robust, bold and super confident, you suspect this will be very pleased by that. The plaudits are well deserved.
2. Yorkshire Imperial Urquhart Travel (David Nesbitt)
A secure start just has a hint of misplaced endeavour in places, but it is bold, balanced and full bodied.
The first Vivace is on the button but a little scratchy, whilst euph pushes himself to the limit to get through the fearsome cadenza. What follows is pacy, but doesn't always knit together and sounds scrappy.
Questionable tuning mars the opening Ravel interlude, but it flows suavely. There is a noticeable share of the cornet cadenza - although it was a good match, whilst bravura horn takes their moment with aplomb. Ends boldly.
Reprise is darkly coloured to open, but becomes lighter and more fleet footed, building up a good head of steam. There is some noticeable looseness in the ensemble before the final run for home - but cross rhythms work well.
It really goes up a gear to close, but it sounds frenetic rather than exciting, despite a thumping close.
Overall: It just about kept the Harmony Music beast in check, but it was a struggle at times. There was sections when the quality was on show, but it just lacked consistency.
1. Wakefield Metropolitan (Michael Howley)
A slightly insecure opening leads into a warmly played first section - full of broad sounds and plenty of space.
First Vivace is taken steadily and leads into a nervous euphonium cadenza. The following section also keeps it tempo steady, but the first signs of ensemble discomfort are heard.
The Ravel interlude is much better handled with brave cadenzas from cornet and horn, but the difficulties are evident.
Reprise sees MD taking intelligent approach to the tempo, but it is still very scrappy. Detail and precision is lost in places, but there is something left in the tank for a spirited run for home.
Final climax is somewhat forced but it ends with purpose.
Overall: This was a brave effort by a young, inexperienced band. Very well led by the MD, but you do wonder if this was a real performance of Championship Section quality.