2017 French National Championships
As it happened

All the action from the 2017 French National Championships — as it happened.

Sunday 19, 20:32:22

Goodnight from Lyon

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Luc Vertommen — MD — Hauts-de-France Brass Band

That's it then from the 2017 French National Championships — and what an enjoyable event it was.

There was a great deal of personal, organisational and civic pride on show here this weekend with the local musicians of Lyon imaking sure they supported an event they felt brought a great deal of prestige to the city.

The number of first time volunteers helping out was remarkable — with one woman telling us that she had never heard a brass band before in her life, but after helping over the two days was now an enthusiastic convert.

French organisations are complex as well as frustrating, but they all value culture very highly and so it gains support from a variety of sources — including a robust education system that treats music with the same respect as other 'core' subjects.

As for the banding movement? It is growing slowly and sporadically — but the green shoots are taking hold on a number areas of the country, as was seen by entrants this year. Paris Brass Band was missed, but the CMF hopes that by the time the contest heads to Nantes next February, yet more bands will take part.

The French being French, will do things their own way, but on the evidence of this weekend, it seems to be working.

Thanks to everyone for the warm welcome and help — Merci beaucoup Lyon.

Sunday 19, 19:19:51


Honnuer Division:

Adjudicators: Russell Gray, Oliver Waespi, Michel Becquet

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Winners — Hauts-de-France Brass Band (Luc Vertommen)

1. Hauts-de-France Brass Band (Luc Vertommen) — 95
2. Aeolus Brass Band (Benoit Fourreau) — 92

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Two Winning Belgian MD's

Sunday 19, 19:17:29


Excellence Division:

Adjudicators: Russell Gray, Oliver Waespi, Michel Becquet

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Winners — Brass Band de Lyon (Glenn Van Looy)

1. Brass Band de Lyon (Glenn Van Looy) — 90
2. Brass Band du Conservatoire de Douai (Olivier Degardin) — 89
3. Brassage Brass Band (Laurent Douvre) — 86

Sunday 19, 19:14:54


First Division:

Adjudicators: Russell Gray, Oliver Waespi, Michel Becquet)

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Winners — Brass Band Cotes et Cuivres (Jerome Carre)

1. Brass Band Cotes et Cuivres (Jerome Carre) — 94
2. Burgundy Brass (Maxime Pitois) — 91
3. Brass Band Accords (Cedric Rossero) — 89

Sunday 19, 19:09:53


Second Division:

Adjudicators: Russell Gray, Oliver Waespi, Michel Becquet

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Winners — Brass Band du Hinault (Thibaut Bruniaux)

1. Brass Band du Hinault (Thibaut Bruniaux) — 93
2. Brass Band Occitania (Lucas Mazeres) — 89
3. Brass Band Gottes de Cuivre (Jerome Blanc) — 84
4. Brassaventure (Serge Desautels) — 79
5. Brass Band Loire Forez (Andre Guillaume) — 78

Sunday 19, 19:08:41


Third Division:

Adjudicators: Russell Gray, Oliver Waespi, Michel Becquet

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Winners — Brass Band du Grand Chalon

1. Brass Band du Grand Chalon (Eric Plante) — 84
2. Musicalis Algrange (Mathieu Reinhart) — 83

Sunday 19, 18:01:38

Results Ceremony:

We will be finding out who are to be crowned the various French National Champions in the next 40 minutes or so.

There is a short concert on at the moment and then it's the results.

Sunday 19, 16:19:30

Final round up before the results...

Well that was certainly a very intriguing day of contesting — with five bands giving ten performances that varied so much in style and approach — even on the set works. As for the own-choices — that really was a bag of musical liquorice allsorts. It certainly made it very enjoyable though.

Yesterday's title could go anywhere — with Brass Band du Grand Chalon maybe getting the nod in the Third Division, Brass Band Hinault could well pick up the Division 2 title and Brass Band Burgundy could take the First.

In the Excellence Division you suspect it's going to be a close run thing, but we think Brass Band Lyon may have done enough to pip rivals.

New National Champions

And as for the new 2017 National Champions?

It was close yesterday — but today it was the additional all round quality of Hauts de France Brass Band that should see them take home that glorious trophy and represent the nation at the 2018 Europeans.

Another break now and then a concert and the results later tonight.

4BR Editor's Predictions:

Honneur Division: Hauts-de-France Brass Band
Excellence Division: Brass Band de Lyon
First Division: Burgundy Brass Band
Second Division: Brass Band du Hinault
Third Division: Brass Band du Grand Chalon

Sunday 19, 15:31:17

Honneur Division:

2. Aeolus Brass Band (Benoit Fourreau)

Raveling, Unraveling (In Search of La Valse) (Philip Sparke)

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Aeolus Brass Band in search a waltz

The band tackle one of the most intriguing major works of recent times with a healthy amount of confidence and bravura. That waltz feel is maintained even in different time meters, and although the style seems to be a heavy handed in places the MD keeps the musical lines flowing.

That stridency just robs the warm gloss of its viscous qualities — it nicks and catches at times like a bar of soap in your hands with a bit of grit in it.

It's certainly full of bombast and enthusiasm — no doubt about that. MD is at his best drawing those elements out — it really does throb with glorious passion. The music grows and grows, engaging ever more with its subject matter before coming to its rather unexpected climax.

Good stuff that — but did they really pull it off?

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A bow of confidence from Aeolus

Sunday 19, 14:46:49

Honneur Division:

1. Hauts-de-France Brass Band (Luc Vertommen)

Angels and Demons (Peter Graham)

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Angels or Demons behind the stands with Hauts-de-France?

The second time that Hauts have gone 'half and half' at this contest as they say in Wales — all Angel rice and demon chips — although this version of Peter Graham's work has been tweaked — and is the one used by the MD to win the Belgian National title last year.

It's certainly cut from his fevered sci-fi imagination of the Biblical apocalypse when all hell is let loose — literally. It's wickedly exciting and moorish — like sucking on a crack cocaine Haliborange.

The band play it so well too — giving it the Demon welly just at the right time and then curling into an Angel Delight of misty miasma. Heavens knows where the whirligig hose pipes feature in the Book of Revelations but they sound great.

There is so much good dynamic playing on show — full of energy and waves of stratified balance. It all comes to a familiar reprise and heroic climax or three as the heavens open and the bells clang out. Oh, the bells, the bells!

Those lucky enough to have been good little Christians get transported to eternity then?

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...and the crowd go wild for Hauts

Sunday 19, 13:53:22

Excellence Division:

3. Brassage Brass Band (Laurent Douvre)

Chivalry (Martin Ellerby)

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An act of Chivalry from Brassage

This is a cracking piece that plays light, free and easy — filmatic, witty and thrilling in its approach. It doesn't take itself too seriously and the band very nearly captures that Saturday morning pictures Errol Flynn 'men in tights' Robin Hood feel to a tee.

Just a few too many little scrapes put a ladder or two in the green denier — but the style is so well portrayed — full of acidic dry wit, cartoonish bombast and Hollywood romance.

Fine lead from euph is a feature, as are the roguish tubas. MD lays it on with a French trowel in places — and rightly so, and it all comes to a thrill a minute 'hang onto your suspenders' climax as the goodies in green triumph. Enjoyable popcorn B movie stuff that.

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A bow from Brassage

Sunday 19, 13:26:01

Excellence Division:

2. Brass Band du Conservatoire de Douai (Olivier Degardin)

The Raid (Oliver Waespi)

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Making A Raid — Brass Band du Conservatoire de Douai

One of Oliver Waespi's lesser known works is given a fine rendition. It's all about warring Swiss village factions nicking cattle off each other in the 14th century — a time when they were not the nation of gnomish bankers, watch makers and purveyors of turn a cheek neutrality.

It's written with such clarity and well defined lineage — from start to finish, and the band play it in a commanding manner — led by super flugel in the exposed elements. Those familiar hypnotic Waespi pulses draw out the ensemble excitement and drama. This has been very well delivered — although you can't help wondering if it's a work a little on the easy side for a band of this standard.

A commanding performance — even if a few question marks remain.

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A final bow for Brass Band du Conservatoire de Douai

Sunday 19, 12:55:26

Excellence Division:

1. Brass Band de Lyon (Glenn Van Looy)

The Legend of King Arthur (Peter Meechan)

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Taking The Stage — Anthony Gallinier (Principal cornet with Lyon)

Once again we hear a confident band playing to their strengths under a MD who gives them plenty of free rein to express themselves — led by a fine euph and a certain Anthony Galinier who has forsaken his tenor horn to take the principal cornet role.

It's still an odd piece to fully comprehend — from the tricksy sword pulling, choral hum and lion's roar (which seemed to be the volume of a feral French tabby cat) to the Euro beat rock pulse. It's at its very best in the lyrical sections though — and the flugel leads some wonderfully evocative playing.

Lots of well paced, if at times somewhat scratchy playing leads to the 'New World' finale and a super, pumping, pounding climax as the sword returns to the waters and old Arthur heads to join the celestial choir invisible.

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A final bow for Brass Band de Lyon

Sunday 19, 12:03:47

Short break until 2.00pm...

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Take a break

There is a break now until 2.00pm (local time)

Sunday Timetable

2.00pm 3.20pm: Excellence (1st) Division: Own-Choice
4.00pm 5.00pm: Honneur (Championship) Division: Own-Choice
6.00pm: Concert CMF Rhône Grand Lyon
8.00pm: Results Ceremony

Live feed:

Sunday 19, 11:33:55

Honneur Division:

2. Hauts-de-France Brass Band (Luc Vertommen)

Daphnis & Chloe (Maurice Ravel arr Howard Snell)

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Preparing to take the stage- Hauts-de-France Brass Band but where have all the players gone?

A much stricter sense of malleability permeated the opening sections here — although the exact detail was still heard with artistry on the Swiss sop (?) and other lead lines. MD controlled things so well too, so the textures emerged like a wash of watercolour paint on the canvas thanks to the excellent perc and balanced ensemble.

There was a dark richness to the sound in just the right places — the foundation for some splendid mischief making and delicate bombast. Once again the MD controlled things — leaving nothing to the whim of the contesting Gods.

The drive and throb of power was marked as we head to the climax — the lovers thrust together — balletic in their visceral bacchanalia. Wowee — someone needed a relaxing Gitane fag after that one ended.

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Taking The Stage — Luc Vertommen MD — Hauts-de-France Brass Band

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Hauts-de-France Brass Band live on stage on the video feed from cmf-musique.org

Sunday 19, 10:57:33

Honneur Division:

1. Aeolus Brass Band (Benoit Fourreau)

Daphnis & Chloe (Maurice Ravel arr Howard Snell)

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Taking The Stage — Benoit Fourreau MD — Aeolus Brass

What an enjoyably languid approach to the score this was — full of space and an evocative sense of the unwordly. The opening section really set the scene for what was to follow — led by some super playing from solo lines — especially the glacé-cherry sop.

The MDs liquid direction brought colour and texture from the score — and even if it wasn't note perfect it had plenty of Ravelian style. High paced mischief ensued, and although a touch scrappy it seeped with textured colour — bobbing and bubbling with fawn like enthusiasm.

Perhaps just needed a touch more depth and sheer, almost uncontrollable fizz to close — but what a fine effort.

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Taking The Applause — Aeolus Brass

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Aeolus Brass live on stage on the video feed from cmf-musique.org

Sunday 19, 10:37:52

Short break

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Florent Didier and members of Paris Brass Band offer contest support

We are having the first of a number of short breaks here today before the action starts again with the two bands in the elite Honnuer Division playing the set-work, 'Daphnis & Chloe'.

Then it's another break and back to the own-choice selections of the Excllence bands.

In the mean time — members of the reigning champion Paris Brass Band have returned the famous trophy and are enjoying listening instead of playing....

Sunday 19, 10:36:05

Sunday Timetable

Short break now until the contest resumes:-

12.00pm -1.00pm: Honneur (Championship) Division: Set-Work
2.00pm — 3.20pm: Excellence (1st) Division: Own-Choice
4.00pm — 5.00pm: Honneur (Championship) Division: Own-Choice
6.00pm: Concert CMF Rhône Grand Lyon
8.00pm: Results Ceremony

Honneur Set-Work: Daphnis and Chloe (Maurice Ravel, arr Howard Snell)

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Daphnis & Chloe — with neatly positioned pan pipes!

Live feed:


Sunday 19, 09:53:41

Excellence Division:

3. Brass Band du Conservatoire de Douai (Olivier Degardin)

Orion (Paul Lovatt-Cooper)

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Taking The Stage — Olivier Degardin MD Brass Band du Conservatoire de Douai

Another well-directed account that balanced the obvious excitement with a tempered sense of control in the more lyrical sections. Plenty of notable contributions from around the stands — especially solo trombone, tuba, flugel, euph and free flying sop.

MD paced this so well — building the drama and stirring the pot like a plasterer's apprentice on overtime rates.

Some intonation issues just took the gloss off, but the Bondesque build to the close was super. You could almost see old Auric Goldfinger making an appearance. It rounded off a pretty decent account — all standing to close — if not quite as suave as Sean Connory at his leonine best.

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Taking The Applause — Brass Band du Conservatoire de Douai

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Brass Band du Conservatoire de Douai live on stage on the video feed from cmf-musique.org

Sunday 19, 09:25:02

Excellence Division:

2. Brass Band de Lyon (Glenn Van Looy)

Orion (Paul Lovatt-Cooper)

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Taking The Stage — Lyon-Brass MD Glenn-Van-Looy

Lyon are conducted by the Belgian/Swiss euph star Glenn Van Looy, and he immediately leads with a sense of overall confidence and bravura. There is plenty of fine solo and ensemble playing going on here — with the MD keeping the music flowing.

Hints of John Barry's techniques in the Bond scores seeps through here and there — and there is such a pulse of growing energy about the playing. Bravo to the soloists and the perc who keep the voltage in the AC/DC electrical rocker mode. A super sense of growing drama builds to a thumping close. A real fizz bomber that.

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Taking The Applause — Brass Band de Lyon (Glenn Van Looy)

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Lyon Brass live on stage on the video feed from cmf-musique.org

Sunday 19, 09:06:13

Excellence Division:

1. Brassage Brass Band (Laurent Douvre)

Orion (Paul Lovatt-Cooper)

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Taking The Stage — Brassage Brass

PLC's sprightly work jumps and jags around a bit like the startled cat called Orion in the first 'Men in Black' film.

It's engaging stuff that you don't quite know where it's going next — all turns, twists and runaway semi quavers that generate turbo excitement and a back beat pulse to get feet tapping like a nervous Riverdance troupe.

It played with real gusto and energy too — with some fine solo interventions and refinement when required. It all hangs together as well as it drives to its honking close.

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Taking The Applause — Brassage Brass

Sunday 19, 08:59:06

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The contest opens with Brassage Brass live on stage on the video feed from cmf-musique.org

Excellence Division:

The three bands in the Excllence Divison will perform their set-work, 'Orion' by Paul Lovatt-Cooper first — one after each other. There will then be a break before the two Honnuer Division bands play their set-work, 'Daphnis and Chloe'.

There will another break before the Excllence bands return with their own-choices and another break before the two top bands play their own-choice works to find out who will be crowned 2017 Champion Band of France.

Oh — then there is another break before a short concert and the announcement of the results at around 7.00pm.

Sunday 19, 08:36:12

Day 2 in Lyon:

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The reflected and individual architecture of Lyon

13th French National Brass Band Championship : 19th February 2017 at the Auditorium de Lyon.

Sunday Timetable (Local Tme)

10h-11h30: Excellence (1st) Division — Set Work
12h-13h: Honors (Champioship) Division — Set Work
14h-15h30: Excellence (1st) Division — Own Choice
16h-17h: Honors (Champioship) Division — Own Choice
18h: Concert — CMF Rhône Grand Lyon
20h: Results Ceremony

Honor Set Work: Daphnis and Chloe (16'43) Maurice Ravel, Howard arrangement SNELL — Rakeway music

Excellence Set Work: Orion (13'31) Paul Lovatt-Cooper — PLC Music

As the Electric Light Orchestra would have sung if they were French and playing in Lyon today — it's 'Monsieur Le Ciel bleu'. There is not a cloud in sight and it promises to be a great day of well spaced out contesting here in the excellent Auditorium de Lyon.

Last night was rounded off with an impressive concert by Treize Etoiles from Switzerland conducted by the great Geo-Pierre Moren, and a few glasses of the local plonk that went down a treat in the bar.

Lots to enjoy from yesterday's competitions — and plenty more to come today.

You can in fact sit back, relax and enjoy it all from the comfort of your home.

Follow the link below, un-cork some Chardonnay and listen to the bands playing their set-work and own-choice selections in the Excllence and Honnuer Division.


Bet the weather isn't as nice as here though...

Saturday 18, 17:17:05

That's it for tonight...

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As evening falls the flag of France shines brightly at the close of the day

That's it for the first day of action here in Lyon. It's been a long day (although the French do like a nice break or two) but the music making has been very intersting if a little variable in quality.

The highlight though was the last performance of the day from Burgundy — well worth waiting for. They should scoop up the First Division title, with the rest in the Second and Third Section up for grabs. We will give it a bit more thought and come up with our choices after we enjoy some food.

The contest is also being broadcast live tomorrow so we will give you the link to enjoy the action with us.

Bon soir....

Saturday 18, 17:06:03

Rita de Cascia

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Composer of La Patrone de Cascia (l'Histoire de Sainte Rita) — Pierre-Antonine Savoyat

Burgundy Brass chose the test piece 'La Patrone de Cascia' (l'Histoire de Sainte Rita) as part of their programme.

Rita of Cascia Santa Rita is the Patron Saint for Unmarried women, desperate causes and impossible things and was beatified in 1628 by Pope Urban VIII.

Saturday 18, 16:23:52

First Division:

3. Burgundy Brass (Maxime Pitois)

Chaucer's Tunes (Michael Ball)
La Patrone de Cascia (l'Histoire de Sainte Rita) (Pierre-Antonine Savoyat)

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Taking the Stage — Burgundy Brass (Maxime Pitois)

An authentic bomper from Burgundy — as fruity as a bottle of their best red. Stylish playing that — led expertly by an MD who brought out the character of the music. Some lovely little moments of composed control to go along with the froth and bubble. Classy stuff.

It's followed by a serous bit of high quality playing that tells the tale of Rita — the patron saint of abused wives, heartbroken women and impossible causes — although not metermaids as The Beatles once sang.

It's an interesting work that befits a woman who had a stigmata on her forehead caused by all accounts by being pierced by a thorn from Jesus' 'crown' and who indulged in a bit of self-mortification of the flesh when the fancy took.

Full of drama and purpose interspersed with some lovely medieval prayer music — it builds in drama right to its close. Bravo — what a cracking piece and what a cracking performance.

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Taking the Applause — Burgundy Brass (Maxime Pitois)

Saturday 18, 15:44:36

First Division:

2. Brass Band Cotes et Cuivres (Jerome Carre)

Chaucer's Tunes (Michael Ball)
Kingdom of Dragons (Philip Harper)

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Taking the Stage — Brass Band Cotes et Cuivres (Jerome Carre)

That was Chaucer in all his visceral glory — and some of Chaucer is pretty close to the knuckle if you read it. There was however a joyful bounce to the music from the word go, and even if it did get a bit strident it was full of character and spirit — if a touch X-rated in places.

Well now — come all this way and still you get to hear music from the valleys. There must be a few lads here who have enjoyed a trip to God's country for the rugby, because they play it with authentic gravelly combinations of mixed vowels and mayhem.

Colourful, bright and bursting energy — even in the Methodist chapel reflections. So well played, even if the piece didn't quite extend their obvious qualities.

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Taking the Applause — Brass Band Cotes et Cuivres (Jerome Carre)

Saturday 18, 15:01:22

First Division:

1. Brass Band Accords (Cedric Rossero)

Chaucer's Tunes (Michael Ball)
Tallis Variations (Philip Sparke)

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Taking the Stage — Brass Band Accords (Cedric Rossero)

After a delay for the judges to blow their whistle whilst the band was on stage (were they back from their afternoon tea on time?) we get underway with a cracking, confident bit of Chaucer — full of wit, bombast and sprightly jigs in all the right places. That was a super show full of character.

It's followed by an equally bravura 'Tallis', which is at its best when the volume is up, but just shakes and grinds at the dangerous alternate end of the dynamic range. Some lovely moments though — led by principal cornet and robust tubas. A pity it just fades a little tentatively to close.

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Taking the Applause — Brass Band Accords (Cedric Rossero)

Saturday 18, 14:31:50


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Time for a quick exit before the next section

So we now have a comfort break of 30 minutes before the action starts again.

We will be back at 4pm local time for the next section to take to the stage...

Saturday 18, 13:52:33

Second Division:

5. Brassaventure (Serge Desautels)

Partita for Band (Postcards from Home) (Philip Wilby)
Hispaniola (Jan de Haan)

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On The Stage — Brassaventure (Serge Desautels)

Well now — that was a bubbly one. MD would put Philip Harper to shame in the shaking the booty stakes — my word the lad has springs in his shoes and jelly in his pants.

The playing mirrors his actions too — postcards from Macbeth's French witches — double, bubble, boil and a bit of trouble. Highly enjoyable though in a very peculiar way.

The trip down the old Spanish Main is much better — neatly done, with lots of colour, passion and detail. Super perc made it come to life and the rest of the band wasn't far behind. MD goes a bit Errol Flynn, but what another highly enjoyable show.

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Take A Bow — Brassaventure (Serge Desautels)

Saturday 18, 13:10:59

Second Division:

4. Brass Band Occitania (Lucas Mazeres)

Partita for Band (Postcards from Home) (Philip Wilby)
Saint Guilhem et Le Geant (Benoit Barrail)

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On The Stage — Brass Band Occitania (Lucas Mazeres)

MD takes this at a fair old lick — as if the postcards are being delivered by the TGV train to their doorstep. There is some splendidly vivacious playing on show, but it is edge of the seat stuff at times, and we perhaps we just lose that sense of misty nostalgia.

The specially composed work for this event is a strange old beast — a mix of very contemporary sounds, exotic percussion and choreography. Don't quite know what the story is all about but it seems to be set in a medieval French version of Game of Thrones.

Really like the players who whizz what looks like freshly a caught mackerel on a string in windmill fashion to create an eerie wind noise though. The playing is full of spirit and interest — with lots of reflective moments. More than a bit different that.

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Take a Bow — Brass Band Occitania (Lucas Mazeres)

Saturday 18, 12:33:24

Second Section:

3. Brass Band Loire Forez (Andre Guillaume)

Partita for Band (Postcards from Home) (Philip Wilby)
Cambridgeshire Impressions (Rieks Van der Velde)

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Brass Band Loire Forez (Andre Guillaume)

The band from St Etienne opens with a flourish and plenty of bravura playing. A bit like their footy team though the other night at Old Trafford, they do leak a few at the back. It's spirited and determined playing though.

They follow it up with a very upbeat take on the usually bucolic delights of non-metropolitan Cambridgeshire. Perhaps the composer enjoyed a great night out there as it drives with energy and Euro style back beat. Well played too — full of brio and verve to close things off with a swish aplomb.

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Brass Band Loire Forez (Andre Guillaume) take the applause

Saturday 18, 11:36:41

Time for lunch...

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Time for Lunch

You can always rely on the French do to things a bit differently — so we now have a lunch break of 1 hour before the action starts again. Well why not eh?

We will be back at 1.30pm local time for the next band to take to the stage...

Saturday 18, 11:11:17

All very relaxed...

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On a more serious note though — General de Gaulle's message of resistance was broadcast here to the people of Lyon

For those who have been to these championships before, then they will know that the organisation is all a bit 'detendu' — or relaxed.

That said, it is very professionally presented (they have been interviewed by the French Channel 3 for the television news later tonight) and there has been a great deal of support from the local Lyon Council and the CMF — the national music federation.

A few pointers could be picked up for the Brits with that — despite the odd shrug of the shoulders....

Saturday 18, 11:05:30

Second Division:

2. Brass Band du Hinault (Thibaut Bruniaux)

Partita for Band (Postcards from Home) (Philip Wilby)
Babylon (Thibaut Bruniaux)

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On The Stage — Brass Band du Hinault

What a fine sounding band — bold, warm and balanced. They play with such confidence and a fair bit of style too in each of the contrasting movements. Super trom and some lovely little touches all round the stand.

It's followed by the conductor's own work — inspired its seems by the rich and exotic tales of a night out in Biblical Babylon. It's a colourful take — with its filmatic DW Griffith drama and percussion effects. Lots to enjoy even if does get a bit Jack Sparrow in places — but they do play it splendidly well.

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Brass Band du Hinault take the applause

Saturday 18, 10:17:00

Second Division:

1. Brass Band Gouttes de Cuivres (Jerome Blanc)

Partita for Band (Postcards from Home) (Philip Wilby)
Arkansas (Jacob de Haan)

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Brass Band Gouttes de Cuivres (Jerome Blanc) take the applause

A bright start with Wilby's affectionate portrait of home — all Lowryesque images of cobbled streets, quiet moments of reflection and Sunday afternoon fun. It's a lovely piece played with enthusiasm, detail and style.

It's followed by one of Jacob de Haan's American 'state' portraits — this time the natural mid-west beauty of 'Arkansas' — all tribal pulses and wide screen vistas.

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On The Stage — Brass Band Gouttes de Cuivres (Jerome Blanc)

Saturday 18, 09:40:44

Third Division:

2. Brass Band du Grand Chalon (Eric Plante)

Prelude, Song & Dance (John Golland)
The Dark Side of the Moon (Paul Lovatt-Cooper)

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On The Stage — Brass Band du Grand Chalon (Eric Plante)

Another neatly portrayed account of the John Golland — with plenty of boldness in the opening followed by a neatly portrayed central section and all the fun and games of the Billy Smarts circus dance.

A band that makes a fine, warm sound and is well directed too — no fuss or bother, just simple direction and free flowing music making.

They round off with an evocative account of Paul Lovatt-Cooper's lunar adventure. Kept its control, purpose and power in such as nice way too. Lots to enjoy there.

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Plenty of support on show — Brass Band du Grand Chalon (Eric Plante)

Saturday 18, 09:07:02

Third Division:

Adjudicators: Russell Gray, Oliver Waespi, Michel Becquet

1. Musicalis Algrande (Mathieu Reinhart)

Prelude, Song & Dance (John Golland)
Lord Tullamore (Carl Wittrock)

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On The Stage — Musicalis Algrande

An impressive start to the day with a highly colourful performance of John Golland's quirky triptych that combines the bluff with the beautiful before being rounded off with a nimble bit of foot tapping circus 'Entry of the Gladiators' — complete with Swanee whistle.

The band makes a fine sound — with four troms, five euphs and baris and a fruity bass end. The principal cornet is a tasteful lead and the MD leads with a delicate minimalist touch — all little hand gestures and cues.

Their own-choice is an equally quirky piece — a picture portrait of an Irish town famous for its whiskey and world ploughing championships. It's a real curious Irish folk song and giddity dance — as if the old Tullamore Dew has been uncorked early in the morning.

Bravo though — a neat touch of the Gaelic and Gallic.

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Early morning support for Musicalis Algrande

Saturday 18, 08:37:10

Getting ready for the action...

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Auditorium de Lyon

It all starts at now at 10.00am — with the two bands in the Third Division.

Musicalis Algrange and Brass Band du Grand Chalon will battle it out for the title playing the set work, 'Prelude, Song and Dance' by John Golland, followed by their own-choice selections.

It will be followed by the five bands in the Second Division and the three bands in the First.

Sunday sees the bands in the Excellence Division followed by the Honneur Division (Championship Section).

The judges for both days are Russell Gray, Oliver Waespi and Michel Becquet.

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Auditorium de Lyon

The Auditorium de Lyon is one of the few French institutions to bring together at the same venue a concert hall with 2100 seats and a home for its own Orchester National de Lyon.

A monolith of pre-stressed concrete and steel, the Auditorium of Lyon imposes its silhouette in the heart of the district of Part-Dieu and presents a complete contrast between the woodwork of the concert hall and the raw concrete from the outside.

The Auditorium, designed by Charles Delfante, the town's chief architect and architect, and Henri Pottier, the Rome Grand Prix, was opened on 14 February 1975 after more than three years work.

Saturday 18th February (from 10:00 to 18:00)
10h-11h : Division 3
11h-15h30 : Division 2
16h-18h : Division 1

20h30-22h30: Concert — Brass Band 13 Etoiles
(Open 20h doors)

Saturday 18, 08:08:15

At the hall....

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Auditorium — Lyon

It's a hive of French activity here — although the start is now 9.30am. There are still electricians linking up wires with microphones on the stage, technicians testing the overhead multi media screen and the usual amount of people walking around looking busy.

Still, the hall is a 1970s delight — all brutalist architecture on the outside with it reminders of concrete Le Corbusier buildings, but inside its a wonderful amphi-theatre design with a huge stage. It is that type of grande-design stuff the French do rather well.

Saturday 18, 06:57:56

Good morning from Lyon

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Le coq gaulois (the Gallic rooster) national symbol of France stands proud and greets the day

After a relaxing few hours in the bar keeping up with events in France (and they also have a fixation with a certain newly appointed US President) and talking to a few of the bandsmen and women who will be taking part today, its off to the hall for the 9.00am start.

Being France, nobody quite knows how things will pan out — but with a shrug of the shoulders and knowing smile, everyone thinks things will run smoothly. 'Doigts croises' then as we heard EBBA officials mutter under their breath a few times in Lille...

One thing they do well though is breakfast. Fresh bread, strong black coffee, a runny egg omelette and a few croissants.

The hall is just over the road too — so hopefully nothing to worry about.

Friday 17, 20:00:26

Welcome to Lyon

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The architecture of Lyon with Lyon Station

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Lyon Bridge

The journey has been made and we are now safely at the hotel inthe centre of Lyon. We have had just enough time to have a quick look around — and what a lovely city it is. By all accounts it is now one of the most popular weekend break locations in Europe — and you can see why.

The train station is a delight (even if there was only one ticket machine for the Lyon Express working and a queue of 100 people) but once you get into the heart of the city it is well worth the wait.

The contest kicks off at 9.00am tomorrow morning — so it shouldn't be a late night, although the hotel we are in is a pretty lively place. Good job the auditorium is just over the road then...

Friday 17, 00:23:56

Early morning call...

There are many ways to get to Lyon — including train, plane and automobile, but the quickest from the dark valleys of south Wales is by car to Luton airport and then fly direct.

Yep — that Luton airport. Forever Lorraine Chase in a Campari drinks advert.

I wonder if it really is paradise...

Thursday 16, 12:16:05

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Competing bands

Championship 'Honneur' Division

Test Piece: 'Daphis and Chloe' — Ravel arr. Snell

Adjudicators: Michel Becquet, Russell Gray, Oliver Waespi

Brass Band Aeolus
Brass Band Hauts de France

Excellence Division

Test Piece: 'Orion' — Paul Lovatt-Cooper

Douai Conservatoire

First Division

Test Piece: 'Chaucer's Tunes' — Dr Michael Ball

Cotes et Cuivres

Second Division

Test Piece: 'Partita for Brass Band' — Prof. Philip Wilby

Gouttes de Cuivres
Loire Forez

Third Division

Test Piece: 'Prelude, Song and Dance' — John Golland

Grand Chalon Conservatoire
Musicalis Algrange

Contest: Whit Friday March Contests

Friday 24 May • Saddleworth & Tameside OL3

Boarshurst Silver Band - Canning City Brass and Boarshurst Silver Band

Sunday 26 May • Boarshurst Band Club, Greenbridge Lane, OL3 7EW OL3 7EW


Friday 7 June • St. Michaels Church. Duke street. Wigan WN1 2BJ

Bellshill Salvation Army Band - Guest Soloist Tom Hutchinson (The Cory Band)

Saturday 8 June • Uddington Old Parish Church, Old Glasgow Road Uddington. G71 7HF

Wotton-under-Edge Silver Band - Foden's Band

Sunday 23 June • Renishaw Innovation Centre,. New Mills, Kingswood, Wotton-under-Edge,. Gloucestershire GL12 8JR

Mereside Brass

May 22 • MERESIDE BRASS (Rudheath,Northwich) are looking for a FRONT ROW CORNET & a 2nd EUPH to complete our line up. We are a friendly 4th Section band with a sensible calendar of jobs and band social events and enjoy occasional contests. Come and give us a try!

Audley Brass

May 20 • Audley Brass are seeking a Principal Cornet player to lead the band into the First Section in 2025. The band have several fantastic events in the diary including the National Finals and no less than 6 of our epic beer festival sing-along nights.

Linthwaite Band

May 20 • We currently have a vacancy for either a 2nd Euphonium or 2nd Baritone, we have a busy varied list of engagements lined up for the summer, and are a friendly 4th section contesting band based just outside of Huddersfield, and welcome any new players.

Steve Pritchard-Jones

Conductor, Adjudicator, Teacher


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