Eikanger Bjorsvik Musikklag has been crowned 2014 Norwegian National Champion.
20 years after he first tasted victory in Bergen, Professor David King led the Hordaland band to its 15th title, securing their place at the 2015 European Championship in Freiburg in Germany in the process.
Before then however, they will head to Perth in Scotland determined to regain the European title after coming so close in 2013.
It also seemed somewhat appropriate that Eikanger also won its third King's Cup, presented on behalf of the nation's monarch, to go alongside the massive National Trophy: The band and their conductor were yet again the undoubted rulers of all they surveyed in Bergen.
The reigning champion secured the kr65,000 first prize for a fourth consecutive year by winning both disciplines of the event: a stunning performance of the set work, 'Mutant Sonorities' by Torstein Aagaard-Nilsen, followed by an outstanding rendition of their own choice selection, 'Goldberg 2012', built on the awesome power of their 'Best Section' tuba team.
Long term planning
A dignified, but relieved band representative Viggo Bjørge (above) felt that the victory was also one of the most important in their history, enabling them to start their long term plans for future success.
"We knew we came so close to winning the European title last year in Oslo, so making sure we secured our place at the competition yet again was a real priority. It means we can make long term plans for Perth and Freiburg, as well as work towards a fifth consecutive win here — something that has not been done before."
He added: "To win a fifteenth National title is a magnificent achievement for the band and we will take great pride in representing Norway. We thank David King once more for his magnificent leadership and inspiration — and we hope to be able to go on to help him claim another European title — or even two now!"
Breathing down neck
However, Eikanger will have known that they felt the hot breath of rivals Manger Musikklag breathing down their neck all the way the finishing line, after they finished a close runner-up for the fourth year in a row — this time under the baton of Cory MD, Philip Harper.
The World Champion could not add to their Kerkrade success, despite a brace of superb performances — notably on their own choice selection of 'Concerto Grosso', aided by the wonderful 'Best Soloist' contribution of flugel player Randi Holm.
A rejuvenated Stavanger showed that they are fast returning to the form that saw them last win here in 2007, as the SIDDIS champion came third under Allan Withington, thanks to their evocative own choice rendition of, 'Myth Forest'.
Meanwhile, Bjorsvik Brass certainly celebrated long into the Bergen night after the band made up of many former Eikanger alumni ended fourth after producing a stunning account of their own choice selection of 'The Essence of Time'.
With the top four bands being placed in the same order by the adjudicators in both contest disciplines, it was the consistent Krohnengen that eventually claimed fifth with a brace of hard working performances, with a delighted Jaren Hornmusikkforening coming sixth.
No doubting quality
Ian Porthouse and Bryan Allen, who were part of the six man adjudication team, were in no doubt about the quality of the playing they had heard over the two days.
"The standard here is so high," Ian told 4BR. "There were some stunning performances of the set work — especially at the very top. These bands could easily win any major contest in the world."
"The playing in the own choice section was equally as good," Bryan added. "There was such high quality musicianship on show — with the top four bands in particular delivering performances that would stand against the very best in the world."
In an impressive First Division contest, one of Norway’s fast rising bands, Kleppe Musikklag delivered an outstanding rendition of ‘Sketches from Nowhere’ by Thomas Doss to secure the title.
Conducted by Rune Hannisdal, the band gained a standing ovation from the Grieg Hall audience as they just managed to beat off the high class challenge of both Molde and Tomra in what was a thrilling battle for the kr40,00 first prize.
Tomra, conducted by Nick Ost certainly set the competitive bar high off the number 1 draw with an exciting account of ‘The Legend of King Arthur’, whilst Molde also delivered an evocative rendition of ‘Myth Forest’ under Russell Gray.
After being unable to compete in 2013, former National Champion Sandefjord Brass Symposium returned to Bergen event in style under the baton of Jon Terje Svendsen to claim the Second Division title thanks to a classy performance of ‘The Year of the Dragon’.
Although an ultimate return to the Elite level is something the band told 4BR they would to achieve in future, at present they were hoping to carry on their rebuilding process — something that they showed was heading in the right direction on the weekend.
The victory also placed Sandefjord in the Norwegian record books as they repelled the strong challenge of Ørskog Brass’s, ‘Paganini Variations’ and Sagvåg Musikklag’s ‘Voyage of Discovery’ to claim the kr30,000 first prize.
In doing so they became the fist band to win National titles at Elite, First and Second Division level.
There was the usual mixture of high quality playing and high expectation ambition on show in the Peer Gynt Hall throughout the weekend, led by Brøttum Brass in the Third Division.
They produced a wonderful account of ‘A London Overture’ under John Philip Hannevik to take the title from Agder Brass, with their performance of ‘Music for the Common Man’ and Tysnes Musikklag, who performed ‘The Saga of Haakon the Good’.
Seven years after they last won the Fourth Division title, Langhus Brass tasted victory once more as under the direction of Tarjei Gilbrant they produced a well shaped account of ‘A London Overture’ to pip the strong challenge of Nordlys XO, who played ‘Sinfonietta’ and Flå Musikkorps who performed ‘Triptych’.
Not for the first time at the Norwegian Nationals there was an overwhelming victory in the lowest competitive section, as Bjorvika Brass from Oslo gave a performance of ‘Paganini Variations’ that certainly belonged in the company of bands at least two sections above.
Made up of many semi professional players, students and players from local bands from higher sections , it also meant that their inclusion in the contest made the battle for the first prize rather redundant – something both adjudicators later told 4BR that they felt was rather unfortunate.
Although the performance itself was not without marked discomfort, it was also markedly in a different class to their hard working rivals – led by second placed Alsvåg Brass who opened the contest with a very solid rendition of ‘Legend in Brass’, and Tysvær Brass who gave a well delivered account of ‘Variations on Laudate Dominum’.
We thank David King once more for his magnificent leadership and inspiration — and we hope to be able to go on to help him claim another European title — or even two now!Viggo Bjorge
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
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
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
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
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
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