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2014 British Open Championship — Podium adjudications

This is what the judges thought of the performances of the top three bands on 'Vita Aeterna Variations' at Symphony Hall on the weekend.

Black Dyke

1. Black Dyke
Draw No: 13

Excellent start. Wonderful flugel solo - so controlled and sweet toned - beautiful!

Var1 - Splendid
Var 2 - Excellent baritone and fluent and well shaped phrasing all round
Var3 - Very good except the triplet rhythm sounds like semi quaver.
Beautifully balanced as Adagio 

Var4 - Classy solo cornet and expressive solos throughout. (30) goes well - good baritone! Good trombone trios – bravi!

Var 5 - Good solo euph – what a lovely sound and so controlled. The tempo is slow but the players manage to maintain a flow.

Var 6 - This is slow but characterful and is very engaging. Fine noble sounds in to (38) and fugue has captivating vitality and clarity. Dynamic shading is effective and apotheosis has spine tingling nobility and such quality and depth of tone.

A classic performance that was intoxicating to listen to. Bravi!

Stephen Roberts


Very good opening. Excellent. Musical playing from all. Warm basses. Sensitive and very musical playing.

Var 1 - Brilliant playing from all

Var 2 - All detail heard from everyone. Terrific baritone playing. Controlled and dynamically interesting.

Var 3 - Again all detail is heard - great rhythmic control - but the lone triplet is rather fast. The transition is so well balanced.

Var 4 - Soloists all play in great style and the accompaniments are subtle. Controlled crescendo to 30. Again - very good baritone. Troms very good (31-32).

Var 5 - Rather slow but it is flowing and the band and euph play beautifully. 

34 - is excellent. Bravo!

Var 6 - Good tempo with character and a certainly subtlety.

Finale - A light touch and all soloists do well. Very fine playing indeed - balanced and again full of character.

A very fine performance indeed. Bravo! Bravo!

Paul Cosh


A lovely relaxed Opening and spellbinding flugel solo. Beautiful.

Var 1 - is absolutely brilliant at the moment. Fiery but controlled.
Var 2 - It floats and has a slightly sinister feel. Percussion just right. It is so well controlled.
Var 3 - Excellent and exciting, good clarity throughout with total control of all dynamic detail. Beautifully into Var 4.

This works like a dream and pulls at the heart strings. Excellent troms (31 & 32) - great finish. Euph, who now plays beautifully followed by a restrained band at (33).

Excellent - and now more tasteful playing going into the march which feels just lovely with blended sounds from (37).

Fugue is working perfectly at the moment. Detail again excellent from (53). A splendid overall sound and on to a terrific finish. Well played.

John Berryman


band logo

2. Cory
Draw No: 10

Fine opening - such quality sounds. Musical flugel solo is a delight (tiny slip is no worry) - a wonderful atmosphere captured.

Var 1 - Good detail here
Var 2 - This has engaging atmosphere and well shaped lines with fluent and balanced bass sounds. Great attention to detail and colours.

Var 3 - This is exciting, but well controlled and contains excellent rhythmic detail. Triplets well defined. Fine transition into Var 4 with stylish solo cornet and tidy accompaniment. The music comes through with star quality. The odd tiny slip is not distracting because of this.

Good gap into euph solo which works well - and such a lovely solo in spite of a blip.

(34) well balanced trombones and a moment of magic with bass ensemble. Just one note (Ab/Eb not quite in tune)

Var 6 - has lovely character. Good tempo at Fugue and sparkling playing from fugal entries. Great apotheosis - such noble lyricism!

A truly great performance – it exuded quality from start to finish.

Stephen Roberts


A very good opening passage – confident and quiet. A good sense of the music with careful use of the imitation 'senza rigore – well done.

Very good flugal (odd blip – no matter) Good shape and controlled finish.

Var 1 - Great detail and controlled dynamics
Var 2 - Good character with some personalised musical thoughts - Bravo!! Great detail and good rhtymic quality.
Var 3 - Very good. The lone triple is played absolutely correctly - BRAVO!!
The transition is beautifully managed.

Var 4 - Good tempo (cornets) accompaniments are subtle and well blanced. All very good. Trom is little loud (31) but team bravo before (32). Euphonium bravo.

Var 5 - Such control from all (33) is full and secure. So musical. Small intonation between bari and Eb bass (But this is a very small matter)

Var 6 - Alla Marcia is well achieved in style and sound.

Finale - Has clarity and dynamic interest. Wonderful playing.

Bravo!! A marvellous performance!!

Paul Cosh


Terrific opening and how the flugel soloist shows us true artistry, but with superb accompaniment.

Var 1 - This is flying but the technique is there. Super dynamics.

Var 2 - It just flows and it has the sinister impact. Again superb dynamics.

Var 3 - Its on fire and has tremendous drive. I’m liking very much. Beautifully in Var 4 where we have a lovely cornet tugging at our heart strings. Great band sounds and some great moments from (30)

Superb playing from euph soloist despite one little click and then superb from (33).

Excellent troms (34) and it continues right to the end. The march is wonderful - it grows and grows.

Fugue is rhythmically quite difficult but for you its just about perfect. Great detail with all the dynamics. What a sound now for this finale.

Great stuff. Well played. Wonderful soloists the icing on the cake!

John Berryman


Flowers

3. Flowers
Draw No: 5

Good opening. Flugel plays nicely - occasional extra breath is well covered. Tidy close.

Var 1 - is neat - maybe lacking some incisiveness though. Trombone a bit forced to close.
Var 2 - Has atmosphere and dynamic shading.
Var 3 - Is well played and has engaging sense of energy. Excellent (28) in to Var 4 - fine trombones.

Var 4 - Well done solo cornet (29) is convincing, small blip in sop. Good trombones into (31 & (32) - Bravi! 

Var 5 - Well done euph and lovely band piano at (33). Splendid euph in (34) - really lovely! (34) - Bravi troms again!

Var 6 - Such a great atmosphere and fine control. Fugue is well played - bravo sop!

Fantastic apotheosis - you kept it back for now and this is just brilliant.

A fantastic performance that just grew and grew in quality.

Stephen Roberts


A confident opening – if a little strong from the Eb bass. Good playing from flugel but a little more support would have carried some of the phrases. Good intonation at the end.

Var 1 - Good dynamic range is used - troms a little overblown at the end.

Var 2 - Good sense of style. However, as it continues it seems to lack a sense of drive.

Var 3 - Excellent sound in this variation with good dynamics and all in clear. Bravo!! Trombones excellent.

Var 4 - Good tempo but rather loud for piano and trombones are too loud 2 before (29) and again at (31) - (32). Timpani excellent.

Var 5 - Beautiful playing here from all. Marvellous euphonium.
Var 6 - Great balance basses - bravo!!
Al is clear and not overblown with great climax.

Finale – Fine technique from all. Good dynamics.

This is wonderful playing.

Bravo!! Bravo!!

Paul Cosh


Lovely opening followed by great flugel playing and the pizzicato are just right for me.

Var 1 - is played with fire and is so clean.
Var 2 - is so well controlled, dynamics excellent.
Var 3 - is again full of energy and fire. Technically so good. And now from (28) so beautifully rounded off

Var 4 - Artistic playing from solo cornet and all individual players show lovely soloistic moments. 

Great band sound before (30) and some lovely touches through to Var 4, where euphonium shows himself to be a top a class performer.

Excellent troms - in fact all sections really on top of this music.

March is just right and builds towards the finale. Some great individual contributions in the fugue.

Great stiff from (53) and not forgetting the conductor! - but the band has been absolutely top class.

John Berryman



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Brett Baker

BSc (Hons), ARCM, PG Dip
Rath clinician, conductor, teacher, adjudicator, editor