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Report & Results: 2015 European Championship

Black Dyke takes its thirteenth European title in Freiburg after a brace of high class performances repels brilliant rivals.

Childs Trophy
 

The three most prestigious prizes in world banding now reside in Queensbury, following Black Dyke's victory at the European Championship in Freiburg.

For the first time since 1995, the band now holds possession of the British Open, National Championship of Great Britain and European trophies.

Metropolis

It was also their thirteenth triumph at the event and gave MD Prof Nicholas Childs his third title after performances of the set work, 'The God Particle' and own choice selection of Peter Graham's, 'Metropolis 1927', each awarded 97 points, claimed a brace of second place finishes.

Crucially, it enabled the Yorkshire band to finish two points clear of runner-up, Brass Band Willebroek with defending champion, Brass Band Burgermusik Luzern in third.

In a contest of the very highest quality, Eikanger Bjorsvik was fourth, with Cory in fifth and Swiss champion Treize Etoiles in sixth.

Proud

Little wonder then the Black Dyke players took the opportunity to celebrate in delighted vocal fashion on the stage of the impressive Konzerthaus Hall as they held their latest haul of silverware on high.

"I'm so proud of everyone associated with the band," Prof Childs told 4BR as he accepted congratulations from a myriad of supporters and fans alike. "There is such an amazing history with Black Dyke that you are always aware that you are only a small part in a great story.

This young band deserves their place in those history books now though — and they are determined to add to it as well."

Sparkling form

He added: "The band was on sparkling form competing against the very best bands in the world. Having already won the British Open and National Championship claiming a 13th European title, and in our 160th anniversary year was the icing on the cake."

Prof Childs also explained that plans are now being put in place to celebrate the achievement at the forthcoming Black Dyke Festival in Leeds.

"We have already been inundated with messages of congratulations, so we will want to thank all our supporters at the Festival, where we will be performing with all three trophies on show for everyone to enjoy and have their pictures taken with."

Tribute

Prof. Childs also paid tribute to the musical relationship with composer Peter Graham which saw the Scotsman produce yet another blockbuster work with his science fiction film inspired 'Metropolis 1927'.

"Peter is simply a fantastic writer for brass," he added. "I knew who I needed to ask to write for us for this event, and after he suggested he wanted to revisit the piece again I also knew he would produce something very special again. I think everyone would agree he did just that."

Late finish

The journey to the 2015 victory began 24 hours earlier on Saturday evening, although Black Dyke finished the day (or to be accurate, the following morning, after the first leg of the contest started at five o'clock and ended just after midnight) in second place.

It was the reigning champion Luzern's exciting account of the engrossing test piece, 'The God Particle' by Rolf Rudin that led the way, after they captured the imagination of judges, Stephen Roberts, Thomas Doss and Mark Lys in the box.

With Black Dyke a point behind, it was a resurgent Willebroek who came third, just ahead of Cory, Paris and Treize Etoiles — with the Swiss champion certainly gaining many admirers in the hall for their swashbuckling approach under James Gourlay.

Diplomatic diplomacy

However, Stephen Roberts later revealed to 4BR that the judges had to undertake a form of adjudicating diplomatic negotiation in the box to finalise their eventual top four — as the margins between the bands were so small.

"It was such a tough decision to make," he said. "The quality was so high that it was very much down to personal preference in interpretation. We had to go through plenty of negotiation to reach our final decision, one we were all happy with."

Although others in the packed Konzerthaus auditorium had different personal outcomes, nobody could fault the twelve competitors for the way in which they tackled the immensely difficult set work, with fans of Eikanger, Scottish Co-operative and Brass Band Oberosterreich all able to put forward persuasive cases for their favourites still being in the hunt the following day.

Immense own choice

As expected, the own choice selections elicited performances of the immense stature — with Eikanger almost pulling off a remarkable comeback with their electrifying rendition of the evocative 'Trance' by Thomas Doss to claim first place from Garry Cutt, Christoph Jeanbourguin and Stig Nordhagen in the box.

However, Black Dyke's riveting rendition of 'Metropolis' also had the audience pinned to their seats in much the same way as the famous Fritz Lang film did almost 90 years ago, with its expertly balanced musical special effects and dynamic contrasts topped by stunning soloists and award winning lead role taken by 'Best Instrumentalist' winner Gary Curtin on euphonium.

Their second place — just a point behind the Norwegians proved to be crucial — and unbeatable overall.

Superb Willebroek

Willebroek once again produced a superb performance with their account of 'Journey of the Lone Wolf' to end third, with a ferociously exciting 'Audivi, Media, Nocte' from Treize Etoiles just behind.

Cory's brave decision to perform Wilfred Heaton's remarkable 'Partita for brass band' (written over 60 years ago) did not quite find as much favour in the box as it did in the hall, whilst the same fate befell Luzern, who came sixth despite producing a colourful, high impact take on 'Trance' from the number 1 draw.

Small margins

"That was some contest to judge," Garry Cutt later told 4BR. "To hear not one, two or three performances of such quality, but a dozen, almost took the breath away.

We were talking small margins between all the bands, although we were all very comfortable with our choices. It was a great experience though — simply stunning at times."

With the top sixth places decided, there was great pride shown in the performances from Co-operative Funeralcare, who eventually came seventh overall under Allan Ramsay, with Paris Brass Band eventually falling away to end eighth ahead of Brass Band Oberosterreich, De Bazuin Oenkerk and Lyngby Taabaek.

Unique entry

For Black Dyke, another unique entry to find a chapter for in their 160 year old story, as the current band became the first to hold the three major trophies over two contesting years — the Open and National from 2014 and now the European from 2015.

It also gave the MD Prof Nicholas Childs the satisfaction of joining a rare group of Black Dyke MDs in Peter Parkes and James Watson in leading the famous band in doing so — although his desire to add to his tally of titles shows no sign of being sated.

Remarkable band

"This is a remarkable band, full of remarkable players," he said as he prepared to lead the celebratory signing.

And as a parting warning shot to any rivals, both at home and abroad he added; "Their energy, their talent and their will to win keeps me enthused and determined to fulfil their potential — and that is just about limitless."

Challenge Section:

It isn't often Black Dyke winning celebrations are drowned out on a post results contest stage — but that was almost the case as the players and supporters of the Italian Brass Band sung their National Anthem with lung bursting passion following their victory in the Challenge Section.

Azzuri

It was as if the Azzuri themselves had just won the World Cup as they huddled together to take turns grasping the trophy — one that has come just a year after they were formed in Rome under the baton of MD Filippo Cangiamila from players from local police, marine, aeronautical and carabinieri ensembles in the historic city.

"We are overcome with emotion," the MD told 4BR. "To come so far in such a short time is wonderful. We are proud for our families, our city and our nation."

Wonderful achievement

The band was also cheered to victory by trombone star Lito Fontana who has been a great support in their efforts to compete at the championships.

"It is a wonderful achievement for the whole of Italian banding," he added. "These are such fine musicians, all loving the opportunity to play brass band music."

The band's performances of the colourful set work, 'Origenes' and their splendidly portrayed account of 'Essence of Time' gave them a narrow single point victory over the German representatives Brassband Sachsen, with R.E.T. Brass Band (Red Eagle Tirol) a point further back in third.

Fine performances

Directed by Scotsman Eoin Tonner, Brass Band Sachsen showed their emerging strength with enjoyable rendition of the 'Hymn of the Highlands' suite, with the Austrians of Red Eagle Tirol playing 'Trittico'.

There was no doubting the destination of the Challenge Trophy however, as well as the Besson Prestige euphonium that went with it, as a new emerging brass band nation celebrated its second successive European championship Challenge Section victory following Brass Band Wipptal in Perth last year.

Iwan Fox

This young band deserves their place in those history books now though — and they are determined to add to it as wellProf Nicholas Childs

Championship Section

Adjudicators:

Set Work: Thomas Doss, Marc Lys, Stephen Roberts
Own Choice: Garry Cutt, Christophe Jeanbourquin, Stig Nordhagen

Test Piece: The God Particle (Rolf Rudin)

1. Black Dyke (Professor Nicholas Childs) (4/4) 97/97 = 194
Metropolis 1927 for Brass Band & Percussion (Peter Graham)

2. Brass Band Willebroek (Frans Violet) (11/10) 96/96 = 192
Journey of the Lone Wolf (Simon Dobson)

3. Brass Band Burgermusik Luzern (Michael Bach) (10/1) 98/92 = 190*
Trance (Thomas Doss)

4. Eikanger-Bjorsvik Musikklag (Professor David King) (3/5) 92/98 = 190*
Trance (Thomas Doss)

5. Cory (Philip Harper) (8/8) 95/93 = 188*
Partita for band (Wilfred Heaton)

6. Treize Etoiles (Dr James Gourlay) (12/11) 93/95 = 188*
Audivi Media Nocte Oliver Waespi)

7. Co-operative Funeralcare (Allan Ramsay) (5/12) 91/91 = 182
Audivi Media Nocte Oliver Waespi)

8. Paris Brass Band (Florent Didier) (6/6) 94/86 = 180
Vita Aeterna Variations (Alexander Comitas)

9. Brass Band Oberosterreich (Ian Porthouse) (7/9) 90/89 = 179
Audivi Media Nocte Oliver Waespi)

10. Bayerischen Brass Band Akademie (3BA) (Thomas Ludescher) (2/3) 88/90 = 178
From Ancient Times (Jan Van Der Roost)

11. De Bazuin Oenkerk (Klass van der Woude) (1/2) 89/88 = 177
Journey of the Lone Wolf (Simon Dobson)

12. Lyngby-Taarbaek (Michael Thomsen) (9/7) 87/85 = 172
Symphony in two movements (Professor Edward Gregson)

*Set Work placing takes precedence in event of a tie

Best Soloist: Gary Curtin, Euphonium (Black Dyke)

Challenge Section

Adjudicators:

Thomas Doss, Marc Lys, Stephen Roberts

Test Piece:Origenes (Carlos Cardenas) & Own Choice Programme

1. Italian Brass Band (Filippo Cangiamila): (3) 97
2. Brassband Sachsen (Eoin Tonner): (5) 96
3. R.E.T. Brass Band (Red Eagle Tirol) (Andreas Lackner): (1) 95
4. Brass Band Wipptal (Martin Gruber): (2) 93
5. Downshire Brass (Professor Michael Alcorn): (4) 92
6. Auksinis Brass Band (Laimonas Masevicius): (6) 91


Best Soloist: Christopher Passet, Flugel (Brassband Sachsen)

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