Brass Band Oberosterreich comfortably reclaimed the Austrian National Championship title in Linz after producing a brace of polished performances under the direction of Ian Porthouse.
There was little doubt that the three time champion was in line to claim a fourth success on the stage of the magnificent Bruknerhaus perched on the banks of the River Danube, after delivering a high-class rendition of 'Metropolis 1927' followed later in the day by an imposing account of 'From Ancient Times' as their own-choice selection.
They will now represent the nation at the 2019 European Championships in Montreux after securing the honour with a five-point margin of victory that was a clear indication of their superiority.
Always in control
It was also one marked by a display of controlled dynamics, warm tonality, secure technique and classy main solo lines, with the judges describing their performance of the Peter Graham work in their written remarks as 'inspired' and 'always in control', whilst their own-choice was 'full of great sounds' and 'excellent transparency'.
However, there was a surprise behind them, as the emerging R.E.T Brass Band came second ahead of defending champion Brass Band Froschl Hall, with Austrian Brass Band Graz in fourth.
Led by Andreas Lacker, R.E.T Brass Band produced solid renditions of both the set-work and their own-choice of 'Fraternity' despite occasional fragilities, whilst the dynamically powerful Brass Band Froschl Hall under Luc Vertommen perhaps lacked dynamic contrast despite the confident execution, especially in their own-choice rendition of 'Perihelion-Closer to the Sun.'
And whilst there was disappointment for Austrian Brass Band Graz in coming fourth, they will have known that an uneven execution of their own-choice of 'Variations on an Enigma' in particular meant that they couldn't catch onto the coat tails of their rivals despite the cultured interpretations of MD Anne van den Berg.
There was no such disappointment for the winners however, as Brass Band Oberosterreich produced a level of overall quality that was a clear margin ahead of their rivals.
"I'm delighted for the band," MD Ian Porthouse told 4BR after the results. "There is such determination about the players to work hard and learn from substantial brass band repertoire — an ethos that you can tell comes from their professional musical careers.
The organisation by Thomas Beiganz is superb and it's always a pleasure to come here to conduct. The win was deserved and I know they are now looking forward to the European Championships in Montreux."
In response Thomas told 4BR that the victory meant a great deal for the band. "We so much enjoy Ian conducting us, and we want to keep improving and competing against the very best bands in Europe. Last year was a surprise to us, but one we have learned from. Being Austrian National Champion means a great deal and is a huge honour."
The contest formed part of a high profile four day series of 'Brass Festival' events in the city — one that saw Tredegar Band give a substantial Gala Concert performance that included a stunning rendition of Edward Gregson's new 'Euphonium Concerto' played by David Childs, as well as masterclass and concert performances from London Brass and leading Austrian wind ensembles.
The organisation by Thomas Beiganz is superb and it's always a pleasure to come here to conduct. The win was deserved and I know they are now looking forward to the European Championships in MontreuxIan Porthouse
Adjudicators: Oliver Waespi, Bert van Theinen, Florent Didier
Set Work/Own Choice = Total
1. Brass Band Oberosterreich (Ian Porthouse): 95/94 = 189*
2. R.E.T Brass Band (Andreas Lackner): 92/91 = 183
3. Brass Band Froschl Hall (Luc Vertommen): 89/90 = 179
4. Austrian Brass Band Graz (Anne van den Berg): 87/85 = 172
*Will represent Austria at the 2019 European Championships in Montreux