*
besson banner

LIVE.

2023 National Championships
Royal Albert Hall, Kensington
Saturday 21 October

Comments: Steven Mead and Chris Thomas
Images: Craig Chapman and Connor Redmond
Media: Iwan Fox


  • Saturday 21, 20:03:49

    embedded picture
    National Champion

    embedded picture
    Family smiles

    embedded picture
    Richard Marshall celebrates the victory

    embedded picture
    2023 National Champion — Black Dyke

    embedded picture
    The new Champion Band of Great Britain

    embedded picture
    Runner-up: Foden's

    embedded picture
    Third place: Cory

    embedded picture
    Best Instrumentalist: Gary Curtin of Foden's

    embedded picture
    The judges: Roger Webster, Stephen Cobb and Robert Childs

    Result:

    Test piece: Of Men and Mountains (Edward Gregson)
    Adjudicators: Dr Robert Childs, Dr Stephen Cobb, Prof Roger Webster

    1. Black Dyke (Prof Nicholas Childs)*
    2. Foden's (Russell Gray)*
    3. Cory (Philip Harper)*
    4. Tredegar (Ian Porthouse)*
    5. Brighouse & Rastrick (Prof David King)
    6. Hammonds (Morgan Griffiths)
    7. Llwydcoed (Joshua Ruck)
    8. GUS Band (Dr David Thornton)
    9. Zone One (Richard Ward)
    10. Aldbourne (Ivan Meylemans)
    11. Whitburn (Luc Vertommen)
    12. EverReady Band (Phillip McCann)
    13. Camborne (Gareth Churcher)
    14. Flowers (Paul Holland)
    15. Leyland (Thomas Wyss)
    16. WFEL Fairey (Allan Withington)
    17. the cooperation band (Glenn van Looy)
    18. Friary Brass (Nigel Taken)
    19. NASUWT Riverside (Michael Fowles)
    20. Ratby Co-operative (Marieka Gray)

    *Pre-qualified for 2024 National Final
    Best Instrumentalist: Gary Curtin (Euphonium) — Foden's

  • Saturday 21, 19:07:08

    embedded picture

    Final opinions and top-6 predictions...

    What an intriguing day — and one that could end with a little bit of banding history being made.

    Foden's had to wait and wait and wait to perform today — just like last year, but with even more of a 'weight' of history hanging on their performance.

    They couldn't have done anything more — and especially as they will have to overcome a stunning performance from Cory to do it.

    The extra intrigue came with the two takes of the score by Russell Gray — elegiac, elegant and measured in its majesty, against Philip Harper's broad, colourful and dramatic musical vistas.

    So little to choose between them — but what a pair for the judges to separate.

    Behind them its an equally close run battle for us for the final podium slot, with Black Dyke, Tredegar, Flowers and Brighouse right in the mix, with a couple of dark horses in GUS and perhaps Hammonds.

    Messers Childs, Cobb and Webster will let us know in about 35 minutes time.

    embedded picture

    Steven Mead's Top-6:

    1. Foden's
    2. Cory
    3. Black Dyke
    4. Tredegar
    5. Flowers
    6. Brighouse & Rastrick

    Dark Horses: GUS Band & Hammonds

    Chris Thomas' Top-6:

    1. Foden's
    2. Cory
    3. Tredegar
    4. Brighouse & Rastrick
    5. Black Dyke
    6. Flowers

    Dark Horses: GUS Band & Hammonds

  • Saturday 21, 18:18:01

    embedded picture

    20. Foden's (Russell Gray)

    Technical accuracy: 19
    Rhythmic precision and clarity: 20
    Control of full dynamic range: 20
    Ensemble precision: 20
    Tuning/intonation: 20
    Band sound quality: 20
    Balance/clarity of textures: 20
    Quality of soloists: 20
    Overall understanding: 20
    Total musicality from the band: 20

    Total: 199

    Well now, that was special! Could this be the hatrick winning performance? Such a well shaped performance that maintained its growth and vital energy right to the epic ending. It's like the whole day was anticipating this moment. Quite extraordinary. What a band, what a brilliant conductor. Magical to be here in the hall. Creating memories for themselves and us, the fortunate audience. The three wise men will let us know if this performance just trumped Cory's magnificent effort. We will know in an hour.

    And finally….

    I just want to say one or two things at the end of this contest now.

    It's been a huge pleasure to be back, sitting with so many friends from the brass band world, and today, in particular with Chris Thomas, and I enjoy so much listening to the bands in this way, and enabling 4BR to bring this contest of people who can't physically be here.

    As many as you know, I have been ill for the last three months and this is an important step in my rehabilitation. Thanks to all of you for your support. It's been great to see so many friends in and around the RAH today. I hope everyone's enjoyed the contest. Finally a big thanks to Besson for their support of my work here today.

    Steven Mead

    embedded picture

    What beautifully balanced sounds we hear to open, with subtle touches of colour from percussion and muted that sounds that blend and coalesce to create the most haunting of atmospheres.

    The authority of the band sound as we enter 'fast and dramatically' is fabulous. Such perfect attention to balance and the clarity of the voices within the textures... the cornet fanfares are so effective and the levels of detail are once again something to behold. The sheer joy of the peroration that follows prefaces chords that are organ like in their depth, whilst the transition into 'with tenderness' is handled with wonderful musical deftness.

    Solo cornet and euphonium excel as do all soloists and that elusive sense of stillness, of complete peace and tranquility is palpable. There is such warmth about this..but also such sensitivity and continued poise in the solo lines, whilst that architectural command that Russell Gray brings to his performances is always evident… the sense of journey that is so important in this work.

    The rugged landscape that comes into view in the closing sections is etched with drama before the mood shifts to one of unbridled exaltation. And that sense of pacing is what makes Foden's ending so special. The sheer majesty of the closing bars is fabulous.

    Overall:

    If ever a bold attempt was made on a National triple then this was it. Foden's in imperious form. Whether it was enough we will know very shortly.

    Christopher Thomas

    embedded picture



  • Saturday 21, 17:54:46

    embedded picture

    19. Hammonds (Morgan Griffiths)

    Technical accuracy: 18
    Rhythmic precision and clarity: 19
    Control of full dynamic range: 19
    Ensemble precision: 19
    Tuning/intonation: 18
    Band sound quality: 19
    Balance/clarity of textures: 19
    Quality of soloists: 19
    Overall understanding: 19
    Total musicality from the band: 19

    Total: 188

    An enjoyable show from Hammonds but a performance that never really hit the highest level. So many outstanding players in this band and there were moments of brilliance that we could all enjoy. In the end, there was just a sequence of small errors and lack of finesse and not enough careful shading of dynamics that just could have them a little lower than they and others would have wanted.

    The intensity and quality dropped off in the final minutes. Nonetheless, a most enjoyable performance and one which will definitely feature today. Thanks all.

    Steven Mead

    embedded picture

    The opening atmosphere is fine but there is also some slightly suspect tuning, a problem that with muted instruments, has affected a number of bands today. Dynamically however, this has been a quality start from Hammonds.

    'Fast and dramatically' reveals a band that is taking no prisoners. Everything is being thrown at this and at its best it is highly impressive; darkly dramatic and with a latent intent that adds to the momentum and energy of the performance. Technically it is also a solid showing with inner detail that comes through with clarity.

    'With tenderness' is marked by wonderful solo cornet playing from Kirsty Abbotts; this has such poise and elegance. Beautifully done and there are lovely sounds from the band… admirable warmth and pathos that paints a scene of utter peace and tranquilly.

    There are a few little clips in the final drive for home as well as a couple of entries that don't sit comfortably in terms of tuning. Yet the overall effect captures the journey of the score and builds to a close of joyous grandeur.

    Overall:

    A performance of real merit from Hammonds and its fine team of soloists. Secure, bold and etched with drama throughout.

    Christopher Thomas

    embedded picture

  • Saturday 21, 17:54:18

    embedded picture

    18. Llwydcoed (Joshua Ruck)

    Technical accuracy: 15
    Rhythmic precision and clarity: 17
    Control of full dynamic range: 18
    Ensemble precision: 17
    Tuning/intonation: 18
    Band sound quality: 18
    Balance/clarity of textures: 17
    Quality of soloists: 18
    Overall understanding: 18
    Total musicality from the band: 17

    Total: 173

    embedded picture

    Another high spirited performance that really had its merits. But in the end, a slight lack of finesse mixed with some increasingly regular errors as the piece went on.

    This performance didn't scale the heights it set out to do. We heard some excellent trombone section playing, and some beautiful moments for euphonium and cornet during the performance. Much enjoyed by the audience, surely they're not all Welsh :-)? Thanks from me also.

    Steven Mead

    Llywdcoed's opening is effective in its colouring and balancing of the muted voices and this has been an encouraging start from the Welsh team.

    'Fast and dramatically' displays a big band sound and an approach that takes no prisoners, but it also gets a little untidy at times as there are slips and fleeting lapses within the ensemble. Eb bass solo is close but not quite there but this is gallant playing without a doubt from a band that is punching amongst heavyweight contenders.

    There is clear musical intent evident in 'with tenderness' and again, this is highly creditable in terms of its commitment and endeavour. Occasional blemishes in solo voices are noted but it is in the latter stages through the fugato section and on towards the close that errors start to mount more consistently. The ending finds the band tapping on its last reserves.

    Overall:

    A brave account from Llywdcoed and one which held its own musically despite an increasing error count and a clearly tired band come the concluding bars.

    Christopher Thomas

    embedded picture

  • Saturday 21, 17:30:49

    18. Llwydcoed (Joshua Ruck)

    On stage.



  • Saturday 21, 17:01:02

    embedded picture

    17. Black Dyke (Prof Nicholas Childs)

    Technical accuracy: 19
    Rhythmic precision and clarity: 20
    Control of full dynamic range: 20
    Ensemble precision: 20
    Tuning/intonation: 18
    Band sound quality: 19
    Balance/clarity of textures: 20
    Quality of soloists: 19
    Overall understanding: 20
    Total musicality from the band: 20

    Total: 195

    A superb Black Dyke performance that showed all the hallmarks of this famous band. A massive sound built from the bottom, and congratulations to the bass section for the magnificent underpinning, so crucial to the sound profile in the RAH.

    There were a few noticeable moments near the opening indicating some tension around the band, but this soon relaxed.

    There was just something missing in relation to this performance and Cory. Both were outstanding for me. The Cory performance had more shading of dynamics, absolute clarity for the solo lines, and I didn't get the build to the ending like I did with Band number 12. You can be sure this will be in the frame, but where?

    Steven Mead

    embedded picture

    The opening is so subtly coloured, the atmosphere carefully created and nuanced around the muted sounds that predominate.

    The opening tempo of what follows is accurately set yet there are fleeting moments of untidiness in the ensemble that for all the excellent solo work (Eb bass is exceptional) just threaten to take the edge off the overall musical picture. It possibly just lacks that last ounce of majesty and awe that is so critical to the presentation of this most vivid and mentally pictorial of scores.

    'With tenderness' has moments of unquestionable beauty, the sense of stillness almost palpable. Fine soloists and the dynamics are utilised so well. Again there are some tiny little slips but this time not to the detriment of the overall picture… this has been beautifully done.

    Slips are again noted in the approach to the conclusion and although they sit within the textures, they will not have eluded the judges. The pacing of the final paragraphs is as fine as would be expected and the close one of majestic grandeur but this has not been without its lapses from Dyke.

    Overall:

    A wonderful band sound and solo contributions of exceptional quality but there were slips from Dyke today and an overall performance that didn't quite ignite as we would have expected.

    Christopher Thomas

    embedded picture

  • Saturday 21, 16:37:57

    embedded picture

    16. Aldbourne (Ivan Meylemans)

    Technical accuracy: 17
    Rhythmic precision and clarity: 17
    Control of full dynamic range: 19
    Ensemble precision: 18
    Tuning/intonation: 16
    Band sound quality: 18
    Balance/clarity of textures: 18
    Quality of soloists: 18
    Overall understanding: 19
    Total musicality from the band: 18

    Total: 178

    A gutsy spirited performance that showed such exuberance. It strayed into dangerous territory towards the end, like a prize fighter in the final round of a championship match! They absolutely gave it their all. Let's be honest if you play in the RAH once a year, why not? But there were some pretty big, ugly mistakes, which the band will know all about, and don't need reminding about!

    But let's be honest, with their supporters in full voice, and this fantastic order of play draw, who knows whether a top eight place is possible. Whatever happens, congratulations to Ivan Meylemans and his committed team from the west country.

    Steven Mead

    embedded picture

    Aldbourne's opening is effective if not the most subtly nuanced of the day. But in terms of security, this is a solid opening.

    'Fast and dramatically' continues in the same vein with a no nonsense approach and there is much to admire here including a big, bold bracing sound. There are slips and a handful of uncomfortable moments with tuning sometimes wayward, but there is nothing held back. This really goes for the jugular… and it is all the more spirited and exciting for it.

    'With tenderness' is never allowed to languish, with Ivan Meylemans moving the tempo along admirably. There are are slips but there are also some excellent individual contributions… what it lacks most of all is consistency.

    The later stages drive almost relentlessly onwards and a little of the raw excitement could perhaps be substituted for that critical element of majesty and grandeur that the music needs. It's also increasingly error strewn as the end approaches, with the ending itself ultimately coming as something of a relief.

    Overall:

    Aldbourne held nothing back. It might have been a touch raw for some but in terms of sheer, visceral excitement, this was right on the edge.

    Christopher Thomas

    embedded picture

  • Saturday 21, 16:16:29

    embedded picture

    15. Ratby Co-operative (Marieka Gray)

    Technical accuracy: 15
    Rhythmic precision and clarity: 18
    Control of full dynamic range: 18
    Ensemble precision: 18
    Tuning/intonation: 19
    Band sound quality: 18
    Balance/clarity of textures: 17
    Quality of soloists: 17
    Overall understanding: 17
    Total musicality from the band: 17

    Total: 174

    I am impressed with the spirit of this band. They really went for it, with some quite fearless playing. Of course, not everything comes off and there were some quite scruffy moments, especially as fatigue started to set in towards the end.

    The early part of the performance showed real class and we get the feeling that this band is capable of achieving great things. Technically well adept, there was some impressive playing. Remained elusive with real clarity of textures. But, well done all.

    Steven Mead

    embedded picture

    Ratby's opening is effectively done, with a layer of security in terms of individual entries and a well judged attempt to find the nuances of the muted colours.

    'Fast and dramatically' is competent and technically pretty well controlled. It also has plenty of spirit and majesty about it. Where it struggles perhaps is in the balancing of the voices which are not always clearly audible and in terms of the band's range of sound, which tends to be narrower than some.

    'With tenderness' again displays a musical approach and although the band can't match the finest we've heard today, it is very much to its credit that the atmospheres are carefully created. Errors start to mount however and we can sense that concentration levels are being stretched as it reaches the latter stages of the performance.

    The band finds a little in reserve for the final bars which are despatched with spirit and verve.

    Overall:

    A bold, spirited attempt from Ratby. At its best it found an impressive seam of musicality but fell away in the latter stages.

    Christopher Thomas



  • Saturday 21, 15:48:07

    embedded picture

    14. Leyland (Thomas Wyss)

    Technical accuracy: 18
    Rhythmic precision and clarity: 18
    Control of full dynamic range: 19
    Ensemble precision: 19
    Tuning/intonation: 17
    Band sound quality: 19
    Balance/clarity of textures: 20
    Quality of soloists: 19
    Overall understanding: 19
    Total musicality from the band: 19

    Total: 187

    This was a good step up by the Leyland band on their Birmingham performance. Some really outstanding sections, well directed and excellent balance in the band. Just a couple of high-end errors in the critical section about halfway through the work. Outstanding euphonium playing by Daniel Hohm. Much to admire, and I hope this Leyland renaissance can continue.

    Steven Mead

    embedded picture

    Leyland's opening is highly effective, with thoughtfully created colours and a palpable sense of atmosphere and mystery.

    As we head into 'fast and dramatically' there is plenty to admire from Leyland, with bracing dynamics and a strong band sound that more than holds its own against many of the bands today. There are just a couple of hairy moments and the odd jarring entry but overall there is a tension and excitement evident that displays a band willing to lay itself on the line.

    There are one or two tense moments of intonation in 'With tenderness' but solo entries are generally impressive and again, both MD and band strive to find that essential sense of journey through the score, which is achieved with generally good levels of accuracy.

    A few inaccuracies start to creep into the final section as embouchures and brains tire but the ending is vividly portrayed and maintains a sense of grandeur to the very end.

    Overall:

    Leyland have given us plenty to admire, albeit with levels of concentration and stamina that started to fall away in the latter stages of the performance.

    Christopher Thomas

    embedded picture

PEMBERTON OLD WIGAN DW BRASS BANDS - Pemberton Old Wigan B Band

Sunday 14 July • Pemberton Old Wigan Brass Bands. Enfield Street,. Pemberton,. Wigan WN5 8DZ


PEMBERTON OLD WIGAN DW BRASS BANDS - QUIZ NIGHT

Friday 19 July • Pemberton Old Wigan Band . Enfield Street,. Pemberton,. Wigan. WN5 8DZ


Barnsley Brass - Stephen Sykes, Principal Trombone of The Cory Band

Saturday 20 July • St Mary's Church, Kippax, Leeds LS25 7HF


Boarshurst Silver Band - Sunday Brass Concert - Skelmanthorpe Band

Sunday 21 July • Boarshurst Band Club, Greenbridge Lane OL3 7EW


Boarshurst Silver Band - Sunday Brass Concert - Phoenix Brass

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


Dobcross Silver Band

July 15 • 2 x Cornet Players required. Positions are negotiable, excluding Principal as players are willing to move around. Experience preferred but all ages considered if ability can be demonstrated. Enjoyable rehearsals/great socials!


Waltham St. Lawrence Silver Band

July 13 • Our welcoming non-contesting band, based near Maidenhead, Bracknell and Reading, seeks: . Solo Euphonium . 1st Horn . Percussion, kit and tuned: we have a lovely pair of timps! . Solo Cornet to complete the front-row line-up. 2nd Cornet


Newtown Silver Band

July 12 • Musical Director. Following the retirement of our current Musical Director after 40 years of loyal service the band is seeking a new Musical Director to take the band forward. We are a 3rd section band with a busy programme and enthusiastic members. .


Sarah Groarke-Booth

BA (Hons) MA
Conductor, Adjudicator, Compere, Actor


               

 © 2024 4barsrest.com Ltd