Wilby marks Vaughan Williams celebration at European Championship

A new commission from Prof Philip Wilby celebrating the life and work of Ralph Vaughan Williams will form the competitive musical centrepiece of the 2022 European Championships in Birmingham

  The work has been written by Prof Philip Wilby

'Saints Triumphant' — Diversions on Vaughan William' hymn 'Sine Nomine', has been announced as the set-work for the 2022 European Brass Band Championships.

Written by Prof Philip Wilby, it has been commissioned by Brass Bands England with support of the RVW Charitable Trust. It celebrates the 150th anniversary of the birth of the great English composer Ralph Vaughan Williams (1872 — 1958) and forms part of a major nationwide RVW150 celebration of his life and work.

Indelible mark

In his foreword note to the work Prof Wilby states: "Described by a recent Archbishop of Canterbury as 'A Christian Agnostic', Vaughan Williams was born the son of an Anglican clergyman, and was related to both the naturalist Charles Darwin and the potter Josiah Wedgewood.

His 'English Hymnal' has made an indelible mark on English musical life. His music forms a lifetime's backdrop for many musicians, and this composition for brass band, written under his shadow, is my tribute to his mighty example."

'Saints Triumphant' is based on the most famous of RVW's own hymn tunes, 'Sine Nomine', composed to be sung to the hymn 'For all the Saints who from their labours rest'.

Triumphant close

Prof Wilby adds: "It follows the text closely with a sequence of musical episodes, some combative, and some valedictory. It ends, as does the final verses of the hymn, with a triumphant close."

The work will be published by Kirklees Music and will be available in February for competing bands.

The work was revealed in an announcement made by Brass Bands England at its annual Conference, where Prof Wilby gave a fascinating keynote speech on the 'art' of brass band compositional writing — including a reference to his latest work.

It follows the text closely with a sequence of musical episodes, some combative, and some valedictory. It ends, as does the final verses of the hymn, with a triumphant closeProf Philip Wilby


Speaking about the commission CEO Kenny Crookston told 4BR: "We are absolutely thrilled. Prof Wilby is one of the greatest composers to written for our movement and this work is his fitting celebration of one of the greatest of all English composers.

We are immensely grateful to Prof Wilby for the composition which forms the musical centrepiece of the European Championship weekend."

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