2014 Norwegian National Championship — As it happened

All the action from the 2014 Norwegian National Championship — as it happened.

Elite Division • Sunday 9, 01:18:40

Elite Division • Sunday 9, 01:01:10

Elite Division • Saturday 8, 22:47:26

Full Results:

Elite Division:

Set Work: Ian Porthouse, Ivan Meylemans, Stig Nordhagen
Own Choice: Thomas Begianz, Bryan Allen, Yngve Slettholm

Set Work/Own Choice = Total

1. Eikanger-Bjørsvik (Prof David King): 96/98 = 97
2. Manger Musikklag (Philip Harper): 95.5/97.5 = 96.5
3. Stavanger (Allan Withington): 94.5/96.5 = 95.5
4. Bjørsvik Brass (Andreas Hanson): 93.5/95 = 94.25
5. Krohnengen Brass (Harald Eikaas): 92/92 = 92
6. Jaren Hornmusikkforening (Howard Evans): 90/93 = 91.5
7. Oslo Brass (Dr Robert Childs): 85/94 = 89.5
8. Ila Brass (Thomas Rimul): 88/90 = 89
9. Sola Brass (Phillip McCann): 87/91 = 89
10. Tertnes Brass (Trond Korsgård): 86/89 = 87.5

Best Soloist: Randi Holm (flugel) Manger Musikklag
Best Section: Tuba section of Eikanger-Bjørsvik

First Division:
Adjudicators: Bjørn Sagstad, Ivan Meylemans

1. Kleppe Musikklag (Rune Hannisdal) - 96
2. Molde Brass (Russell Gray) - 95.5
3. Tomra Brass (Nick Ost) - 95
4. Askøy Brass (Reid Gilje) - 94
5. Oslofjord Brass (Garry Cutt) - 93
6. Oster Brass (Torstein Aagaard-Nilsen) - 92
7. Hasle Brass, (Robert Solberg Nilsen) - 91
8. Tertnes Amatørkorps (Magnus Brandseth) - 90
9. Sørum Musikklag (Frode Amundsen) - 89
10. Flesland Musikklag (John Philip Hannevik) - 88.5
11. Musikkorpset Gjallarhorn (Jacob W. Larsen) - 87
12. Alexander Brass (Clive Zwanswiniski) - 85

Best Soloist: Solo horn of Oslofjord Brass
Best Percussion: Tomra Brass

Second Division:
Adjudicators: Thomas Beiganz, Yngve Slettholm

1. Sandefjord Brass Symposium (Jon Terje Svendsen) - 95
2. Ørskog Brass (Arnfinn Dalhaug) - 94
3. Sagvåg Musikklag, (Yngve Nikolaysen) - 92.5
4.Tromsø Brass (Tor Kristian R. Innbjør) - 91
5.Trondheim Politi's Brassband (Espen Andersen) - 90
6. Haukås Musikklag (Jan Egil Jørgensen) - 89.5
7. Jølster Musikklag (Stian E. Svendsen) - 88.5
8. Radøy Brass (Gareth Pritchard) - 87
9. Rong Brass (Eirik Gjerdevik) - 86
10. Fjell Brass (Henrik Juul-Pedersen) - 85.5
11. Gjøvik Bybrass (Christian Tenfjord) - 84
12. Manger Old Star Brass (Knut Emil Mjøs) - 82.5
13. Bergen Brass (Sturle Berntsen) - 82

Best Soloist: Flugel of Trondheim Politi’s Brass
Best Section: Cornets of Sandefjord Brass Symposium

Third Division:
Adjudicators: Bryan Allen, Elisabeth Fossan

1. Brøttum Brass (John Philip Hannevik) - 97
2. Agder Brass (Bjørn Breistein) - 96
3. Tysnes Musikklag (Yngve Nikolaisen) - 95
4. Laksevåg Musikkforening (Helge Haukås) - 94
5. Stangaland Brass (Rasmus Kærsgaard) - 93
6. Follesø Musikklag, (Bjørn Breistein) - 92
7. Lindås Brass, (Henrik Juul-Pedersen) - 91
8. Gjesdal Brass Band, (Jonas S. Rogne) - 90
9. Hordvik Musikklag (Patrik Randefalk) - 89
10. Skui Brass (Kim Lofthouse) - 88
11. Flora-Bremanger Brassband, (Johnny Sælemyr) - 87
12. Lismarka/Mesnali Brass (Martin Schädlich) - 86
13. Borge Brass (Oddvar Nøstdal) - 85
14. Nes Musikkforening (Andres Halla) - 84
15. Valdres Brass (Morten Fagerjord) - 83

Best Soloist: Solo cornet of Brøttum Brass
Best Section: Cornets of Follesø Musikklag

Fourth Division:
Adjudicators: Stig Nordhagen, Ian Porthouse

1. Langhus Brass (Tarjei Gilbrant) - 93
2. Nordlys XO (Reid Gilje) - 92
3. Flå Musikkorps (Odd Steinar Mørkved) - 91
4. Fræna Musikkorps (Stijn Berbé) - 90
5. IMI Brass (Per-Erik Petersen) - 89
6. Stavanger Kommunes Korps (Morten Øvrebekk) - 88.5
7. Frei Hornmusikk (Jens Kristian Mordal) - 88
8. Grenland Brass (Arild Ovrum) - 87
9. Lyshornet Brass (Karl Ole Midtbø) - 86.5
10. Hetlevik Musikklag (Einar Gjelsvik) - 86
11. Salhus Musikklag (Sindre Dalhaug) - 85.5
12. Brummundal Brass (Per Kristian Ø. Syversen) - 85
13. Rudsbygd Brass (Børre Birkeland) - 83
14. Filadelfia Hornorkester Drammen (Jan Arne S. Karlsen) - 82
15. Bertnes Brass (Børre Birkeland) - 81

Best Soloist: Solo Euphonium of Nordlys XO
Best Section: Cornets of Fræna Musikkorps

Fifth Division:
Adjudicators: Tom Brevik, Bjørn Sagstad

1. Bjørvika Brass (Robert Solberg Nilsen) - 98
2. Alsvåg Brass (Oddvar Nøstdal) - 94
3. Tysvær Brass (Martin Kinn) - 92
4. Indre Torungen Brass Ensemble (Lars-Bjørnar Strengenes) - 90
5. Kjølsdalen Musikklag (Kjetil Høidal) - 89
6. Holmestrand Ungdomskorps (Svend Erik Andersen) - 88
7. Fjordbrass - Lavik (Jason Burn) - 87
8. Moen Musikkforening (Thomas Peterson) - 86
9. Saksumdal Musikkforening (Andres Halla) - 85
10. Florø Hornmusikk (Torgeir Halvorsen) - 84
11. Musikkorpset Heimdal (Per Olav Paulsen) - 83
12. Skeie Brass (Nigel Fielding) - 82
13. Ålvik Musikklag (Torbjørn Dagestad jr) - 80

Best Soloist: Euphonium of Bjørvika Brass
Best Section: Tubas of Bjørvika Brass

Elite Division • Saturday 8, 20:42:28

Elite Division • Saturday 8, 20:29:08

Overall Prediction:

We have totted up our placings over the two days and have come up with our overall results prediction.

Eikanger retains their title, but by the narrowest of margins from Manger, with Stavanger just behind thanks to their own choice performance and Bjorsvik showing they certainly belong in this high class company.

Oslo consistency gives them a fine fifth place ahead of Ila, with Jaren leading a trio of Krohnengen and Sola - thanks to their higher placing on the set work work, with a hard working Tertnes by no means out of their depth in tenth.

Overall Prediction:

1. Eikanger Bjorsvik
2. Manger Musikklag
3. Stavanger
4. Bjorsvik Brass
5. Oslo Brass
6. Ila Brass
7. Jaren Hornmusikkforening
8. Krohnengen
9. Sola Brass
10. Tertnes Brass

The real results will be out a little later.....

Elite Division • Saturday 8, 20:20:38

Own Choice prediction:

It has been an interesting day of own choice selections here in Bergen, but not one band really produced a bobby dazzler that took the own choice section by the scruff of the neck.

No doubt about it - this was high, high class playing, but just one or two notches above the absolutely epic.

We really enjoyed Stavanger's deeply dark and malevolent 'Myth Forest', which we think may just give them the edge today over Manger's exciting 'Concerto Grosso' and Eikanger's classy 'Goldberg 2012'.

So much to enjoy with Bjorsvik and 'Essence of Time' - but was it technically or musically on the same level as their rivals. It was comfortably brilliant playing.

Oslo mature rendition of the Gregson should see them in the mix ahed of a fine Ila, Sola, Krohnengen, Jaren and Tertnes.

Own Choice prediction:

1. Stavanger
2. Manger Musikklag
3. Eikanger Bjorsvik
4. Bjorsvik
5. Oslo
6. Ila
7. Sola
8. Krohnengen
9. Jaren
10. Tertnes

Elite Division • Saturday 8, 19:38:23

10. Tertnes (Trond Korsgard)
Northern Lights (Philip Wilby)

Fine start that captures the attention and is led by classy bass trom. MD is keeping a tight rein here in tempo and dynamic.

Sop does well and there is a bubbly feel to the emerging borealis - with the middle of the band giving a broad layer of colour and texture. More solid playing follows - starchy and crisp although the stand up trio misfires a bit - much like the Welsh back line against Ireland in the rugby today.

The hymn tune 'Deep Harmony' recalls feelings of loss and it builds with such commanding presence. There is a real sense of passion flowing through the veins now - right to the abrupt end.

A well worked performance of a piece that doesn't quite manage to make the impression you think it might. Some fine playing but a high error account too.

Elite Division • Saturday 8, 19:11:45

9. Stavanger (Allan Withington)
Myth Forest (Stig Nordhagen)

What an opening - like being touched by the cold hand of a dead relative - blimey, that was scary X rated equine Exorcist stuff.

What follows is full of atmosphere and drama - led by great sop and throbbing perc undercurrent. The poor nag just knows its due to end up in the freezer here. MD is just edging up the sense of the suspense bit by bit - still waters run deep. What great middle band balances - it's as if you feel the icy water lapping around the fetlocks.

The MD gets the inspiration behind the score - right down to the last gasp of air as the beast disappears below the inky black water. Now its terminal territory - what power and finality about the last section of playing - cor blimey! What a close - and no coming back for the Nordic Shergar. Superb.

What a fantastic evocation of dark and disturbing musical matter - just how it should be as well. So much to enjoy and to frighten the willies off you - just like the MDs tie!

Elite Division • Saturday 8, 18:41:25

8. Manger Musikklag (Philip Harper)
Concerto Grosso (Derek Bourgeois)

Such a great start - full of razor sharp fanfares and topped with a stupendous bit of euph cadenza work - stonking!

Tuba pulls put the stops and the Bb tuba plays a note of such low frequency intensity it evacuates a few loose backsides - bloody hell! What drive and throbbing pulse - the veins in your head are nearly exploding. This is hugely impressive playing - not without its hard edges and noticeable clips though.

It does lose some focus as we progress and the precision wavers in the ensemble before we head into Blues territory led by a super flugel.

The Tico Tico to follow needs a touch more Carmen Miranda than Carmen Electra perhaps, but it has a sense of sultry verve and a bass trom who cuts through the undergrowth with a machete - fab stuff.

Great ride for home led by banzai sop and a turbo charge finale that loosens the fillings in the head.

A top class performance from Manger - but like Eikanger - not one of epic proportions. There were moments of sheer brilliance, but also moments when it didn't quite hang together either. Right up there in the mix though.

Elite Division • Saturday 8, 18:07:55

7. Oslo Brass (Dr Robert Childs)
Symphony in Two Movements (Edward Gregson)

Great opening sequence - full of power and drama. Little motifs comes through clearly as does that underlying sense of musical maturity about the writing. MD knows just how this needs to work to optimum effect. Just the little clip or blip, but this ensemble playing of such high class.

Like a fine wine or Sophia Loren - there is a great mature body on show here - shaped like an hour glass and not a rough edge in sight. Again - it's the little motifs that reveal the inner detail that makes the music come to life - led by wonderful sop and crisp troms.

Nothing wasted or misplaced - and the ensemble drive has the power torque of a steam train. The repose that follows hangs in the air. There is such a fine flow despite the little clips - and it builds with increasing intensity (led again by superb sop) to a close of fearsome finality.

A performance built on innate understanding of the score by the MD. This was high class playing from start to finish on a piece that left such a lasting impression on the musical mind.

Elite Division • Saturday 8, 17:40:44

6. Sola Brass (Philip McCann)
Myth Forest (Stig Nordhagen)

A cryogenic cold opening - a freezing atmosphere of foreboding, delicately laid out like an undertaker preparing a cadaver.

This is great stuff - the MD has captured the sense of unforeseen danger - as if something will pull the unsuspecting nag (the inspiration comes from the tale of a horse falling through the ice of a dark and dingy pond) into the depths like the end scene in the film Carrie when her hand shoots up from the grave to grab your ankle.

You can feel the ice crack beneath the hooves - its fragile in places but the sense of atmosphere is so defined. The subtle change in pace is so well done - now the danger is present and threatening. Great perc and cornet work - this so darkly dramatic - you can feel the lungs fill with icy water.

A highly descriptive, evocative interpretation that drew you into its dark and chilling denouement with increasing fascination. A very fine performance of a work that has the ability to make you think deeply about taking a stroll in the local water park....

Elite Division • Saturday 8, 17:23:42

Half way point prediction

It's been a real treat to be listening to the bands here this afternoon, but it it still a contest that hasn't been settled yet.

Eikanger certainly showed their quality and class, but it was a performance that didn't always feel at total ease and it had moments of uncertainty throughout. It will take some beating, but it is not unbeatable by any means.

A superb performance from Bjorsvik runs them close - but you wonder if the piece itself didn't quite have enough about it to really push the band to its artistic limits - it was brilliantly comfortable.

Ila once again showed their quality and musical adeptness whilst Krohnengen may just pip Jaren at the moment.

Still - plenty to play for after the break.

4BR Prediction:

1. Eikanger Bjorsvik
2. Bjorsvik Brass
3. Ila brass
4. Krohnengen
5. Jaren Hornmusikkforening

The bands start back in 30 mins.

Elite Division • Saturday 8, 16:49:19

5. Eikanger Bjorsvik (Professor David King)
Goldberg 2012 (Svein Henrik Giske)

A very musical opening is not without the odd hint of fragility but the risk taking here is high stakes stuff - with the pacy follow up played with such pulse and drive.

The MD really is delving deep in to the soul of music - and the players respond so musically in return with subtle shaping of the phrasing. It's not without little smears and clips but what cultured playing.

Now we hit the boot straps - Billy Bomper playing that shifts the vertebrae in the spine and makes the blood bubble - led by a superb tuba foundation that you could build a skyscraper on.

In contrast we then have some of the most sublime playing imaginable - a heartfelt recall of memory that chills the marrow in your bones. The fragility of its beauty is close to shattering - but it never does. It was like holding a perfect bubble in the palm of your hand.

More 70s funkmeister moves before we head home via a xylophone virtuoso and a last hark back to Bach in Goldfrapp disguise and a close that hits you between the eyes.

Without doubt a superb musical experience to hear - not an Eikanger epic - but still containing so much quality and class. Will take some beating, but not unbeatable.

Elite Division • Saturday 8, 16:20:37

4. Jaren Hornmusikkforening (Howard Evans)
Vienna Nights (Philip Wilby)

What a fine start - a neat mix of Wilby and Mozart - playful, simple and tasteful.

We head to the cafe and the meeting of great minds - played out against a suave backdrop of soft shuffle jazz. You can almost taste Freud's cigar smoke. This is so well laid out by the MD - giving the music space without losing the essential energy and pulse.

Fancy pants tuba is a super standing solo voice - backed by tinkerbell sop and jingling jonny. Pacy gallop is as lightfooted as Wayne Sleep dancing on a marshmallow before he falls into a drunken stupor.

More lovely music making to follow - with a quartet of tasteful standing soloists and playful tubas, before we head to Istanbul for the finale.

'Watch it Turkish!' as Bricktop says in the film 'Snatch' - and it is all as quick witted as a gypsy in a pub flight too - as we head for a cracking all jingle jonny ending of thumping stature!

What a fine effort - capturing both the fun and the frolics as well as the emotion and musical intellect. Not without its odd moments of discomfort but still a performance of substantive merit.

Elite Division • Saturday 8, 15:54:23

3. Ila Brass (Thomas Rimul)
Graffiti (Knut Vaage)

A free flowing start soon meanders into darker territory - as if you are taking a wrong turn down an alley in the rough part of Bergen.

It's very evocative writing - as if looking at a surrealist graffiti artist at work on the nearest wall - a bit Hieronymus Bosch meets Banksy with a can of spray paint in each hand.

However, it's not a long or angry exchange of mural ideas - very complimentary - although just as acerbic and dark. There is some fine playing on show here - controlled, balanced, crepuscular and spooky.

What a lovely ending too - gradually getting quieter and quieter - as if you the viewer is just passing by.....

What a brave choice, and what a fine performance - one that captured the mystery and the dark danger in equal measure. There was something a little alien about the music - evoking images that were dislocated but still beautiful. It was a work of deep imagination, played so well.

Elite Division • Saturday 8, 15:14:10

2. Krohnengen (Harald Eikaas)
Ginnungagap...seeming emptiness (Johan Evenepoel)

Opens with that oddly witty, almost Disney take on all things giants and mythical stories - you very nearly get the pie in the face 'waw, waw, waw' mixed with the tuba motif to Hancock's Half Hour in there.

It's certainly colourful, dramatic and full of effect this - and the playing is full of verve and drive before we head into musical terrain that encompasses rain sticks and maracas - Viva Zapata under a brolly then....

The musical genres seem so exotic - from lachrymose to light footed mastodons - like a clog dance for tearful elephants. So odd, but so intriguing and enjoyable too - played with a neat sense of the absurd and playful. To say this is bizarre would be an understatement, but it is also very well delivered, so you can forgive the bonkers inspiration.

It all ends in a blaze of glory and an audience showing their appreciation of their trip to the odd and long, world of seeming emptiness..

An odd one - because it is one heck of an odd piece - witty, surreal, almost cartoonish. Very well played though - capturing the wit and drama almost to a Walt Disney tee.

Elite Division • Saturday 8, 14:48:41

1. Bjorsvik Brass (Andreas Hanson)
The Essence of Time (Peter Graham)

An opening of delicacy and brio leads us on a high class journey through the Bible inspirations - with the MD directing things with an elegance that is every bit as impressive as his well tailored suit.

This is oozing musicality - milked by the most delicate hands. Blinking heck! What a pair of tubas to lead the way - this swaggers like the hips on a Brazilian midfielder. This is samba magic and followed by such tasteful refinement in the cornet, euph, trom and cornet.

More masterclass playing - a march played with such poise - and then the break out. Foot down like Mika Hakkinin in a Ferrari and the turbo booster on.

Just splendid - splendid! The last section is played with such passion and musicality right to the biffer of an ending that gets the audience in a state of apoplectic rapture!

What a fantastic performance - full to the brim with technical brilliance and elegant musicality. Hard to find fault - and hard to find words to describe such wonderful music making.

Elite Division • Saturday 8, 14:46:51

Here we go then...

Bjorsvik Brass to kick off proceedings with 'The Essence of Time' by Peter Graham - the judges, Thomas Beiganz, Bryan Allan and Yngve Slettholm are in the open box and we are ready for the off....

Elite Division • Saturday 8, 14:00:29

What a great line up of own choice selections we have in store today:

Bjorsvik kick off with 'Essence of Time', followed by Krohnengen with 'Guinungagap...seeming emptiness', Ila with 'Graffiti' and Jaren with 'Vienna Nights'.

Eikanger round off the first half with 'Goldberg 2012'.

Second half starts with Sola with 'Myth Forest', followed by Oslo and 'Symphony in Two Movements' and then comes Manger and 'Concerto Grosso'.

If you have any breath left its Stavanger with 'Myth Forest' and all rounded off by Tertnes and 'Northern Lights'.

Something for everyone then...

Other Divisions • Saturday 8, 13:55:56

With just the one band to play in the First Division the Elite bands will be putting the last few touches to their own choices - starting with the players of Bjorsvik Brass who made such an impression yesterday.

They have opted for 'Essence of Time' - which may seem a bit lightweight today in comparison to others....

Still - that's to come....

General • Saturday 8, 13:20:01

We are coming to the last part of the First Division contest here in the Grieg Hall and it has been enlightening and enjoyable music making of a high quality.

It's been a great aperitif for the Elite contenders to come - the action starting at 2.45pm local time.

If you want to watch it live then just go to the NMF website and you can log in for a few Krone - although don't forget to cancel your subscription afterwards otherwise you will be paying to watch re-runs of Only Fools and Horses with Norwegian sub titles for the rest of the year.

Other Divisions • Saturday 8, 12:43:08

Here is a list to digest when trying to explain why the Norwegians have got the concept of having a First Section dead right.

'The a Legend of King Arthur' followed by 'Forest of Dean', 'The New Jerusalem', 'On Alderley Edge', 'Variations on an Enjgma', 'Dances & Arias', 'Sounds', 'Sketches from Nowhere', 'Dances & Arias', 'Brass Blot', 'Myth Forest' and 'Year of the Dragon'.

That is what is being played here - and these bands can play them too...

Other Divisions • Saturday 8, 12:14:18

A reminder of one of the great modern composer's for brass bands - Thomas Doss.

Plenty of people are now converts to his great 'Spiriti' but it is his earlier work 'Sketches from Nowhere' that made his name and sealed his reputation. What a fantastic piece - full of dark, mysterious Arabic undertones and sensuality.

If contest organisers are looking for different works to challenge the very best bands at major contests then look no further...

Other Divisions • Saturday 8, 11:46:22

One of the other notable aspects of the banding here is not just the number of young players taking part, but the way in which they play.

The posture, embouchure and technique is text book: No young trombone players with instruments pointing at the floor, cornet players with mouthpiece perched on the end of lips like Andy Capp's cigarette end or tuba player stretching to find their mouthpiece.

Good teaching is the secret to the Norwegian success story.

Other Divisions • Saturday 8, 11:40:49

Interesting to see Torstein Aagaard-Nilsen opt for John Golland's 'Sounds' as his own choice selection with Oster Brass - piece that explores texture, colour and tonality.

It also remains something of an almost forgotten classic - a piece that rarely gains the number of performances it deserves.

Elite Division • Saturday 8, 10:59:45

Elite Division:
Starts: 2.45pm (local time)
Own Choice draw:
Adjudicators: Thomas Beiganz, Bryan Allen, Yngve Slettholm

1. Bjorsvik Brass (Andreas Hanson)
2. Krohnengen (Harald Eikaas)
3. Ila Brass (Thomas Rimul)
4. Jaren Hornmusikkforening (Howard Evans)
5. Eikanger Bjorsvik (Prof David King)
6. Sola Brass (Philip McCann)
7. Oslo Brass (Dr Robert Childs)
8. Manger Musikklag (Philip Harper)
9. Stavanger (Allan Withington)
10. Tertnes Brass (Trond Korsgard)

Other Divisions • Saturday 8, 10:58:19

We are just about reaching the mid contest break in the First Division and there has been some pretty solid playing on show already.

These are bands that could well make the realistic step up to Elite level - proof positive that the First level concept works well here in Norway. The emphasis is on developing quality from the bottom up - as seen in the Fifth Section yesterday - not allowing mediocrity to settle at each level of the banding ladder.

People may argue that with just 78 bands its easy to employ such a strategy - but the size doesn't matter - it's the willingness to do something about it that counts.

General • Saturday 8, 10:30:25

We are just about ready for the second day of coverage from the Norwegian National Championships in Bergen.

Plenty of great music making on show today with the First Section already underway, followed by the own choice selections of the Elite bands.

We will bring you the action as it unfolds before us...

Elite Division • Friday 7, 21:31:07

Elite Division • Friday 7, 21:22:01

End of day round -up

What an enjoyable day of contemporary music making with a work from one of the very best around.

All the bands brought something out of the score in what was a contest was varied and interesting interpretations from the conductors.

Eikanger played a blinder though - a superb performance of the very highest class that should see them in first place with a little bit of a cushion over rivals Manger. They also produced a wonderful account of such high quality, but they may have to do even better tomorrow if they are to pip Eikanger to the title.

Behind the top two was a crackerjack from Bjorsvik and a fine show from Stavanger, with Oslo not far behind with Ila in sixth and the quartet of Jaren, Krohnengen, Sola and Tertnes in a battle of their own.

4BR set work prediction:

1. Eikanger Bjorsvik
2. Manger Musikklag
3. Bjorsvik Brass
4. Stavanger
5. Oslo Brass
6. Ila Brass
7. Jaren Hornmusikkforening
8. Krohnengen
9. Sola Brass
10. Tertnes Brass

See you tomorrow for more action with the own choices selections

Elite Division • Friday 7, 20:44:41

10. Tertnes Brass (Trond Korsgard)

Another account that has purpose and drive, but it just lacks the same sense of dynamic contrast, textural subtlety and precise detail.

Lots to enjoy from the vibrant ensemble playing and excellent tuned percussion and that drive carries on and on without a hint of lose of pace or stamina. It gets a bit raucous in places and we lose the subtle quarter and half tone dissonance as a result - just 10% off the dynamic would have enabled them to come through.

More drive and energy as we come to the close, but if only they could have given us a little more control and definition this could have been a corker.

A hard working artisan performance of an interpretation that was built on a persuasive understanding of the composer's intentions. Just lacked that extra level of refined execution that the best bands had today.

Elite Division • Friday 7, 20:13:20

9. Oslo Brass Band (Dr Robert Childs)

What a subtle reading of the score from the MD. The clarity and precision the writing demanded was taken from the page and presented to the players with elegant purpose - and they responded in kind too.

Dynamically it just lacked huge contrast, but the detail still emerged - and at times startlingly so. Banzai sop is tremendous, as is tuba section. The subtle difference between a quarter and a half tone is heard too - making a sound picture that has a deeply evocative feel.

There has been nothing over complex about the approach here - just simple, expert leadership from the middle that has been acted upon by the players with a fine degree of understanding, although it just tired to close and lost a little focus.

A performance of real note and elegant character this - quite simply, expertly laid out to reveal in the inner detail. Could surprise a few today.

Elite Division • Friday 7, 19:40:23

8. Eikanger Bjorsvik (Prof David King)

Simply fantastic stuff - so precise and defined, but still with the textures bleeding into each other and the dissonances retaining such clarity.

Trombones are outstanding - leading a cutting edge that could slit your throat from ten yards away. Great pulse and purpose to the intense elements but such an ethereal beauty to the calmer sections. You hear all the detail and each part has such a delineated feel. Bravo sop - bravo indeed.

The simplest element is placed with refined elegance even amid the maelstrom that surrounds it at times. Its very powerful stuff at times - but it has relevance. The close cracks the rib cage.

A magnificent musical structure moulded by the MD with an interpretation that was so intense and full of understanding.

Elite Division • Friday 7, 19:21:13

7. Sola Brass (Philip McCann)

As we have come to expect from bands prepared by Philip McCann he tries to capture the musical heart of the whole piece first and build a structure upon it.

That is certainly the case here - a wonderfully dark and powerful sense of mutation and dislocation that permeates the music from start but just fades away. Not everything is executed well though - as we lose the very precise balances at times and the stability of the instability if that is the right way to describe the extended quarter and half tonal elements.

What we don't lose though is a sense of cloying atmosphere - so well done, but the little fragilities just take something away from the overall musical picture.

A wonderful flowing interpretation that somehow lost its bearings towards the last quarter of the piece through too many fragile moments.

Elite Division • Friday 7, 18:30:39

6. Bjorsvik Brass (Andreas Hanson)

Wowee! Such a powerful performance wrapped up in such an elegantly prepared musical package. Its like being smacked in the face by someone wearing a boxing glove made of silk padding!

There is such understanding of the music on show here - such clarity in the textures and balances, amazing precision in the ensemble (especially the bass end) and wonderful intuitive solo playing - so relaxed and refined, yet maintaining an amazing sense of purpose.

It had its odd moments of fragility but overall it was a wonderfully persuasive and intelligent interpretation that held you'll in its grasp.

This was a performance that captured the very essence of the composer's intentions - fabulous interpretation and aided by some great playing

Elite Division • Friday 7, 18:18:14

Halfway Point Opinion

What an intriguing piece and what a quintet of intriguing performances - led by a stunning rendition from Manger that is a good distance ahead so far and will take some beating you feel.

Stavanger produced a wonderful account too, but it didn't quite resonate as much as Manger overall, whilst Ila may just have the nod over Jaren and Krohnengen.

It's been immensely enjoyable so far - and a piece of music that makes you think from start to finish.

It all kicks off again at 6.50pm

Halfway point prediction:

1. Manger Musikklag
2. Stavanger
3. Ila Brass
4. Jaren Hornmusikkforening
5. Krohnengen

Elite Division • Friday 7, 17:52:25

5. Manger Musikklag (Philip Harper)

This has been a superb performance - such quality about the execution of an interpretation that captured the dark heart of the music from the word go from the MD.

Some of the tuba foundation work was simply awesome - even simple lines had such purpose and authority, and the degree of control over the mutated second and third intervals and quarter and half tone pitch sent a shiver down the spine.

Bold and beautiful - with such a level of detail and musicality . The music simply came to life producing an intense atmosphere that totally engulfed you.

A sumptuous rendition - even when it sounded so dislocated. The atmospheric musicality was stunning - helped by outstanding individual and ensemble work from all concerned. Bravo!

Elite Division • Friday 7, 17:25:14

4. Stavanger (Allan Withington)

The darker streams of musical consciousness were on display here in a powerful, substantive take on the music from Allan Withington and his band.

Great detail, focus and a sense of dislocation (the quarter tones were so clearly defined and maintained) although the music flowed and produced a wonderful sense of atmosphere. Some lovely little elements of refinement also shone through - esp sop and cornet but it was that boldness understanding of the composer's intentions that so stood out.

Now this was a performance that grabbed you by the throat and never let go - dark, disturbing and as a result an atmospheric delight. A very fine performance.

Elite Division • Friday 7, 17:00:00

3. Krohnengen Brass (Harald Eikaas)

A much more lyrical approach that still finds the elements and motifs of the music - although they don't quite seem to be as balanced or defined as Jaren or Ila.

The flow meanders more but there is some wonderful tuned percussion work that is clear and so well played, and the middle band sound has a lovely timbre - warm and cultured. There is fragility on other lines and some of the quarter tones didn't quite seem to retain their dissonance, but it holds your attention to the very end.

An interesting and engaging interpretation that sought the lyricism and expression from the music (and it is marked). It had some fragility throughout, but another performance of note and musical merit.

Elite Division • Friday 7, 16:34:55

2. Jaren Hornmusikkforening (Howard Evans)

A much more defined and purposeful account this - laid out with an almost spiked intent.

It certainly brings the precise elements of the writing into sharp focus and you also get to hear the textured balances too.

Not quite to defined with the quarter tone and half tone Sonorities though - they seemed a little forced and oddly unnatural given the context, but the underlying pulse was almost mesmeric and always retained your interest.

A very different interpretation from the MD, and only that held your interest as it unfolded with a very deliberate sense of focus and pulse. Made it sound very different to Ila, but equally as engrossing.

Elite Division • Friday 7, 16:32:26

1. Ila Brass (Thomas Rimul)

Well now. This could prove to be a very difficult contest to get a hold of - as the first performance brings out all the complexities of colour, tonality and texture that is contained within a very complex score.

The initial musical motifs are simple - from the bass quartet etc onwards, but the way the work develops asks so many questions and leaves so many of them unanswered.

Ila seemingly delivered a very fine performance - full of darkness, multiple layers of detail and texture - and all played with a precise and clear underlying pulse. There was some wonderful quarter time effects - especially from the principal cornet (the composer's son, Erland) and horns and the music became more more layered but defined as we progressed.

Such an interesting piece and such an interesting premiere performance - a mark of high quality and interest.

Elite Division • Friday 7, 16:01:42

Set Work: Mutant Sonorities (Torstein Aagaard-Nilsen)
Adjudicators: Ian Porthouse, Ivan Meylemans, Stig Nordhagen


1. Ila Brass
2. Jaren Hornmusikkforening
3. Krohnengen
4. Stavanger
5. Manger Musikklag
6. Bjorsvik Brass
7. Sola Brass
8. Eikanger Bjorsvik
9. Oslo Brass
10. Tertnes Brass

Elite Division • Friday 7, 15:48:47

Other Divisions • Friday 7, 14:51:58

We have come to the last band in the Second Division and it has been very good playing with some very ambitious repertoire for bands that are graded in the Second Division here.

It's been more like high First Section quality compared to the UK - with the best from the likes of Sandefjord that would more than hold its own in a decent top flight own choice contest.

One last bash at 'Paganini' to finish things off then its a break for an hour before the real big beasts of the Elite Division.

Other Divisions • Friday 7, 13:52:27

We are coming to the final four bands in the Second Division with a quartet of performances that sum up the ambition shown at this level.

First up is 'Voyage of Discovery' by Goff Richards, followed by Curnow's 'Trittico', Hakon Berge's 'Brass Blot' and another blast of 'Paganini Variations' - all this at Second Division level remember...

After that it's the first of 10 performances of 'Mutant Sonorities' by Torstein Aagaard-Nilsen in the Elite Division.

General • Friday 7, 13:11:56

General • Friday 7, 13:03:27

We have been enjoying the action in and around the hall and bumping into players, conductors and supporters from all over the world.

The performances have been of a very high standard in both the Second and Fifth Divisions already today with the promise of even more to come...

Watch out for our next video interview of David Childs as we talk to him about his latest news....

General • Friday 7, 12:23:52

Other Divisions • Friday 7, 11:53:17

We have been enjoying the action so far in the two contests that have been a taking place, and its great to see the level of support for each of the competitors in both halls.

The Peer Gynt Hall is packed for Bjorvika Brass from Oslo as they perform 'Paganini Variations' in the Fifth Section - and by heck they are making a good go of it. Its on the limit of their ambition you have to say, but for this level of banding it is still a pretty remarkable achievement.

Other Divisions • Friday 7, 10:56:49

There is already a great atmosphere in the main hall as the audience lap up the own choice selections in the Second Division - and there have been some fine playing on show already with 'Land of the Long White Cloud' and 'The Year of the Dragon'.

You do have to pinch yourself a few times to remember this is the Second Section here....

General • Friday 7, 08:18:41

The start of the first day of action here at the Grieg Hall in Norway.

It's all kicks off at 10.00am local time with the bands in the Second Division, whilst the same time we have foundation level Fifth Division in the Peer Gynt Hall.

Plenty to look forward to - including a performance of 'Paganini Variations' by Bjorvika Brass from Oslo in the Fifth Division around 11.40am. Not one to miss for certain.

The Third Division starts at 4.00pm in the Peer Gynt Hall, whilst the Elite Bands start their assault on the title on Torstein Aagaard-Nilsen's engrossing 'Mutant Sonorities' at 4.00pm in the main auditorium.

General • Thursday 6, 21:13:32

General • Thursday 6, 18:06:39

Enjoying a sneak preview of Torstein Aagaard-Nilsen's 'Mutant Sonorities' at the Grieg Hall.

What an interesting piece - full of texture and multiple layers of defined balance and detail, that both sit on each other as well as seep into each other - helped by the malleable quarter and half tones.

It's very atmospheric and engrossing - and takes some playing.

Elite Division • Thursday 6, 15:04:36

And the Elite bands...

Set Work: Mutant Sonorities (Torstein Aagaard-Nilsen)
Friday 7th February (16.00)
Adjudicators: Ian Porthouse, Ivan Meylemans, Stig Nordhagen

Own Choice:
Saturday 8th February (14.45)
Adjudicators: Andrew Berryman, Bryan Allen, Yngve Slettholm

Other Divisions • Thursday 6, 15:01:42

Some timings for the lower divisions...

First Division:
Adjudicators: Bjorn Sagstad & Ivan Meylemans
Saturday 8th February (8.30am)

Second Division:
Adjudicators: Thomas Beiganz & Yngve Slettholm
Friday 7th February (10.00)

Third Division:
Adjudicators: Bryan Allen & Elisabeth Fossan
Friday 7th February (16.00)

Fourth Division:
Adjudicators: Ian Porthouse & Thomas Beiganz
Saturday 8th February (11.00am)

Fifth Division:
Adjudicators: Andrew Berryman & Bjorn Sagstad
Friday 7th February (10.00am)

General • Thursday 6, 07:53:44

Oh so early at Heathrow airport - but its amazing how it is packed full of people all in a hurry to go somewhere......

I wonder how many will be on the flight to Bergen this morning - and will there be any visitors flying out to enjoy the brass bands at the Grieg Hall?

I wait to see the first sign of a banding geek like me.....

General • Thursday 6, 04:15:46

There is plenty of information and our legendary kiss of death previews and predictions up on the 4BR site now.

We are now off to make the long trip up the M4 motorway to Heathrow airport to fly to Bergen and enjoy the hospitality and the great music making.

General • Wednesday 5, 12:06:50

Need to do some clothes washing today before we head off to Bergen tomorrow.

Really looking forward to some amazing playing.

Reading Spring Gardens Brass Band - Reading Festival of Brass: Open Workshop Rehearsal

Saturday 27 April • St Laurence Church, Reading RG1 3EJ

London Central Fellowship Band - Hemel Hempstead Salvation Army

Saturday 27 April • Waterhouse St, Hemel Hempstead HP1 1ES

Haverhill Silver Band - Friends' Requests

Sunday 28 April • Haverhill Arts Centre, High Street, Haverhill, Suffolk CB9 8AR

Boarshurst Silver Band - Sunday Brass Concert - Stockport Silver Band

Sunday 28 April • Boarshurst Band Club, Greenbridge Lane OL3 7EW

Contest: European Brass Band Championshiips

Friday 3 May • Palanga Konsortu, Vytauta st. 43, LT-00135, Palanga 43, LT-00135

Chinnor Silver

April 23 • We are looking to strengthen our team ready for 2025 and require Bass (Bb or Eb), Bass trombone, Soprano and percussion players. We are a very friendly, progressive 2nd section band who will start next year at the top of their regional rankings table.

Sandhurst Silver Band

April 23 • Sandhurst Silver Band have vacancy for a Front row cornet player to complete our line-up. Ambitious and community minded championship section band looking to build on recent Area and LBBA successes. Rehearsals every Tuesday 8-10pm

Croy Silver Band

April 23 • We currently have several seats available across the cornet, tenor horn, trombone and bass sections - positions negotiable. These come with the opportunity to compete at Cheltenham this September!

James Garlick

BMus (Hons), QTS
Conductor, Band Trainer, Adjudicator, Tutor


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