The Eikanger Bjorsvik Band claimed a hat trick of Norwegian National Championship victories at the Grieghallen in Bergen on the weekend, by winning one of the most exciting contests in the event's history.
Under the inspirational baton of Prof David King, they captured their 14th National title and the 65,000 Kroner first prize by the narrowest of margins from great rivals Manger Musikklag.
Both bands had finished the two legged event unable to be separated by an overall points margin, so Eikanger's first place on the set work, 'A Tale As Yet Untold' took precedence to enable them to secure victory.
They will now represent Norway at the European Championship in Perth in 2014. Meanwhile, victory also gave David King his ninth Norwegian National title.
It was also the second time that he had led a band to three successive wins at the Grieghallen – emulating the success he enjoyed with Manger in the mid 1990s.
Narrowest of margins
In what eventually proved to be the narrowest margin of victory since 1997, Eikanger led their rivals into the Own Choice section by a single point, only for Manger, directed by the equally inspired Peter Sebastian Szilvay, to delete the deficit with a magnificent performance of 'Cantigas' by Torstein Aagaard-Nilsen.
However, despite their superb bass trombonist, Camilla Soderstrom taking the 'Best Soloist' for the second time in three years, they couldn't quite gain a wider points margin between themselves and Eikanger.
They in turn produced a stunning rendition of 'Spiriti', with their percussion team winning the 'Best Section' award, to end just a point behind, but crucially remain the narrowest of margins ahead as the thoroughbreds dipped for the finishing line.
Third place went to a delighted Oslo Brass, as the band from the nation's capital city produced two high class performances under Bjorn Sagstad to post their best finish at the contest since 2009.
Disappointment and delight
There were mixed emotions on display for supporters of Stavanger and Jaren Hornmusikkforening, who eventually ended fourth and fifth.
The Siddis champion produced two consistent accounts in the opinion of the judges, but couldn't quite do enough under Russell Gray to claim a third consecutive podium finish.
Party time for Jaren
Meanwhile, supporters of Jaren partied long into the night at the Grieghallen post-contest party with MD Howard Evans in tow, after he led them to their highest Elite placing since 2008.
The final top six place was claimed by the consistent Krohnengen, who led home the almost inseparable trio of Tertnes, Ila and Molde, with Sola a couple of points behind.
Under the inspirational baton of Prof David King, they captured their 14th National title and the 65,000 Kroner first prize by the narrowest of margins from great rivals Manger Musikklag4BR
There was a double dose of celebration for Eikanger players both past and present on Saturday night, as Bjorsvik Brass claimed the First Division title under the direction of Bengt Florvag.
Made up of many 'old' Eikanger stars who played in a number of their former band's thirteen previous National wins, they produced an outstanding performance of Philip Wilby's immense '...Dove Descending' to claim the 40,000 kroner first prize.
Popular solo winner
The highly popular soprano star, Frode Rydland rolled back the years to claim the 'Best Soloist' award, whilst the delighted players can now look forward to pitting their years of experience against the current Eikanger National champions after securing promotion to the Elite Division for 2014.
It also proved to be a victory over another Manger connection too, as ‘Cantigas’ composer Torstein Aagaard-Nilsen, directed Oster Brass to a close second place on Hakon Berge's 'Brass Blot'. The band’s excellent percussion team took the ‘Best Section’ Award for their outstanding personal contribution.
In what was a high class contest, full of well played choices of repertoire, promoted Tomra claimed third thanks to a fine rendition of 'Montage' under the baton of Nick Ost.
In the Second Division, there was delight for Tertnes Amatorkorps, as they claimed their second National title, ten years after their first in the Fourth Division in 2003. The band’s fine euphonium player won the ’Best Soloist’ Award for their personal contribution to the victory.
Directed by Eikanger tuba player Magnus Brandseth, Tertnes produced a high class rendition of George Lloyd’s ‘English Heritage’ to claim the 30,000 kroner first prize to just deny what would have been the perfect weekend of honours for the immensely popular Tom Brevik.
Nearly perfect Brevik.
He led 2012 Third Division champion Flesland Musikklag into second place with a fine performance of ‘Trittico’.
On Saturday evening, surrounded by family and friends, he received a standing ovation from the whole of the Grieghallen auditorium as he was presented with the King’s Medal (the equivalent of the MBE) for his outstanding services to music and the brass band movement in Norway.
In what was a contest full of ambition and enthusiasm, it was Sagvag Musikklag who eventually claimed third place under MD, Yngve Nikolaisen, with their well executed performance of ‘Excalibur’. The band’s trombone trio took the ‘Best Section’ Award.
There was a further successful Eikanger connection in the Third Division, where the multi-talented Svein Henrik Giske, who played principal cornet with Bjorsvik Brass, picked up the baton to lead Fjell Brass to their first National title success.
Their performance of ‘Blazon’ by Peter Graham, was aided by their ‘Best Section’ prize winning trombones, as they took the title by the narrowest of 0.5 margins of over rivals Rong Brass.
Relegated from the Second Division last year, they bounced back with an impressive performance under the giant Eirik Gjerdevik of ‘A London Overture’, to very nearly claim their third National title at this level.
In another contest highlighted by ambitious repertoire, it was the local favourites of Bergen Brass, directed by Sturle Berntsen, who eventually came third thanks to a solid rendition of ‘Variations on Laudate Dominum’.
The ‘Best Soloist’ Award went to the principal cornet of Tysnes Musikklag for their excellent contribution to their performance of ‘An Epic Symphony’.
As usual there was plenty to enjoy in the lower division contests in the Peer Gynt Hall, with Flora-Bremanger taking their first event National title, by winning the Fourth Division under the direction of Johnny Saelemyr.
Their outstanding account of Philip Sparke’s ‘Triptych’ gave them a single point victory over rapidly improving rivals Fagernes Musikkorps directed by John Philip Hannevik. They performed ‘Firestorm’ by Stephen Bulla, aided by the contribution of their excellent ‘Best Section’ trombone team.
Third place eventually went to the improving Lismarka/Mesnali Brass under Morten Fagerjord, who posted their best result at the contest since 2009, aided by the contribution of their ‘Best Soloist’ award winner on flugel horn.
One of the most popular National winners of the whole weekend came in the Fifth Division, where Nordlys XO – the XO standing for ‘extra old’ in Norwegian, made it a contest debut to remember well into further old age under the baton of Reid Gilje.
Many of the players used to play with bands in the local Hordaland area, but many were picking up instruments for the first time in years to enjoy getting the competitive juices running through the veins once more.
The band even chose to play for sentimental reasons, Philip Sparke’s ‘The Prizewinners’, which many players performed at the very first Norwegian Championships in 1979.
The intervening years were rolled back, as they delivered a fine account to beat off the close challenge of Rudsbygd Brass in second place, who delivered a fine rendition of ‘Portrait of a City under’ the baton of Per Kristian Odegaard Syversen.
Third place also went to another contest debutant, as Bjorvika Brass for Oslo played ‘Tallis Variations’ to a packed hall under the direction of Thomas Swatland.
Full of character and enthusiasm (and that was just the players!), their excellent flugel player also picked up the ‘Best Soloist’ Award, whilst the ‘Best Section’ award went to the percussion of Rosendal Musikklag.
Not for the first time in the event’s history there was a superb atmosphere to enjoy at the Grieghallen all weekend, aided by the organisers decision to stream all sections of the contest live on a domestic internet television channel with the Elite Division available internationally.
With Cory making new Norwegian fans thanks to their well received Gala Concert contribution, the only note of contesting caution came with the increasingly contentious use of imported player help for what was supposedly, unforeseen sickness cover.
4BR was informed however that it would be a matter that would be discussed by the NMF to help retain the contest integrity of one of the world’s most exciting championships.
Test Piece: A Tale as Yet Untold (Philip Sparke) & Own Choice
Alan Fernie, Jan Van der Roost, Philip Harper (Set Work)
Erik Janssen, Robert Childs, Sheona White (Own Choice)
Set Piece/Own Choice = Total
1. Eikanger-Bjørsvik Musikklag (Professor David King) 98/95 = 96.5
2. Manger Musikklag (Peter Sebastian Szilvay) 97/96 = 96.5
3. Oslo Brass Band (Bjorn Sagstad) 95/92 = 93.5
4. Stavanger Brass Band (Russell Gray) 94/93 = 93.5
5. Jaren Hornmusikkforening (Dr Howard Evans) 92/91 = 91.5
6. Krohnengen Brass Band (Harald Eikaas) 90/87 = 88.5
7. Tertnes Brass (Trond Korsgard) 91/85 = 88
8. Ila Brass Band (Karl Ole Midtbo) 88/88 = 88
9. Molde Brass Band (John Philip Hannevik) 87/89 = 88
10. Sola Brass Band (Ian Porthouse) 86/86 = 86
Soloist Prize: Manger Musikklag — Bass Trombone
Best Section: Eikanger-Bjørsvik Musikklag — Percussion
Adjudicators: Arsene Duc & David Thornton
1. Bjørsvik Brass (Bengt Florvag) — 95
2. Oster Brass (Torstein Aagaard-Nilsen) — 94
3. Tomra Brass Band (Nick Ost) — 93
4. Askøy Brass Band (Reid Gilje) — 91
5. Kleppe Musikklag (Rune Hannisdal) — 90
6. Oslofjord Brass (Simon Dobson) — 89
7. Musikkorpset Gjallarhorn (Espen Westbye) — 88
8. Alexander Brass Band (Clive Zwanswiniki) — 87
9. Sørum Musikklag (Frode Amundsen) — 86
10. Radøy Brass (Gareth Pritchard) — 84
11. Ørskog Brass (Alan Morrison) — 83
Soloist Prize: Bjørsvik Brass — Soprano Cornet
Best Section: Oster Brass — Percussion
Adjudicators: Dr Robert Childs & Arsene Duc
1. Tertnes Amatørkorps (Magnus Brandseth) — 95
2. Flesland Musikklag (Tom Brevik) — 94
3. Sagvåg Musikklag (Yngve Nikolaisen) — 93
4. Hasle Brass (Robert Solberg Nilsen) — 92
5. Manger Old Star Brass (Knut Emil Mjos) — 90
6. Gjøvik Bybrass (Martin Schadlich) — 88
7. Jølster Musikklag (Arvid Anthun) — 87
8. Tromsø Brass (Kristian Ravnanger Innbjor) — 86
9. Trondheim Politi's Brassband (Espen Andersen) — 85
10. Haukås Musikklag (Helge Haukas) — 84
11. Laksevåg Musikkforening (Helge Haukas) — 83
12. Borge Brass Band (Clive Zwanswiniski) — 82
13. Brøttum Brass (Thorbjorn Lunde) — 81
Soloist Prize: Tertnes Amatørkorps — Euphonium
Best Section: Sagvåg Musikklag — Trombones
Adjudicators: Erik Jansen & David Thornton
1. Fjell Brass (Svein Henrik Giske) — 95
2. Rong Brass (Eirik Gjerdevik) — 94.5
3. Bergen Brass Band (Sturle Berntsen) — 93
4. Skui Brassband (Henrik Dagestad Dalhaug) — 92
5. Stangaland Brass (Jacob Vilhelm Larsen) — 90
6. Agder Brass (Bjorn Breistein) — 89
7. Follesø Musikklag (Egil Magnussen) — 88
8. Lindås Brass (Oddvar Nostdal) — 87.5
9. Gjesdal Brass Band (Jonas Skartveit Rogne) — 87
10. Tysnes Musikklag (Yngve Nikolaisen) — 86.5
11. Hordvik Musikklag (Patrik Randafalk) — 86
12. Nes Musikkforening (Andres Halla) — 86.5
13. Flå Musikkorps (Odd Steinar Morkved) — 85
14. Grenland Brass Arild Ovrum) — 83
15. Lyshornet Brass (Karl Ole Midtbo) — 82
Soloist Prize: Tysnes Musikklag — Prinicipal Cornet
Best Section: Fjell Brass — Trombones
Adjudicators: Alan Fernie & Jan Van der Roost
1. Flora-Bremanger Brassband (Johnny Saelemyr) — 96
2. Fagernes Musikkorps (John Philip Hannevik) — 95
3. Lismarka/Mesnali Brass (Morten Fagerjord) — 94
4. Randaberg Musikkorps (Marieka Gray) — 93
5. IMI Brass (Per-Erik Petersen) — 92
6. Filadelfia Hornorkester Drammen (Thor-Willy Karlsen) — 91
7. Stavanger Kommunes Korps (Morten Ovrebekk)- 90
8. Langhus Brass (Tarjei Gilbrant) — 89
9. Frei Hornmusikk (Jensen Kristian Mordal) — 88.5
10. Bertnes Brass (Borre Birkeland) — 88
11. Sotra Brass (Thor- Arne Pedersen) — 87
12. Fræna Musikkorps (David Morton) — 86
13. Florø Hornmusikk (Torgeir Halvorsen) — 85
14. Skeie Brass (Nigel Fielding) — 84
15. Tysvær Brass (Richard Ward) — 83
Soloist Prize: Lismarka/Mesnali Brass — Flugel
Best Section: Fagernes Musikkorps — Trombones
1. Nordlys XO (Reid Gilje) — 94
2. Rudsbygd Brass (Kristian Odegaard Syversen) — 93
3. Bjørvika Brass Band (Thomas Swatland) — 92
4. Hetlevik Musikklag (Einar Gjelsvik) — 91
5. Salhus Musikklag (Sindre Dalhaug) — 90
6. Brumunddal Brass (Martin Schadlich) — 88
7. Rosendal Musikklag (Petro Romanyshyn) — 86
8. Saksumdal Musikkforening (Andres Halla) — 85
9. Ålvik Musikklag (Torbjorn Dagestad Jr) — 84
10. Moen Musikkforening (Thomas Peterson) — 83
Soloist Prize: Bjørvika Brass Band — Flugel
Best Section: Rosendal Musikklag — Percussion