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2019 European youth test pieces announced

Works by talented composers Daniel Hall and Stephen Hodel will test the bands at the sixth European Youth Championships in Montreux.

Notre DAME
  A work inspired by Victor Hugo's Gothic novel is set to test the bands in the Premier Section

The Music Commission of the European Brass Band Association (EBBA) has announced the set-test pieces for the 2019 European Youth Brass Band Championships to be held in Switzerland.

The Premier and Development Section contests will be held at the Stravinsky Hall in the Montreux Convention Centre on Sunday 28th April.


'Sanctuary!' by 21 year old Cornish composer Daniel Hall will test the bands in the Premier Section.

The work is inspired by Victor Hugo's famous Gothic novel, 'The Hunchback of Notre Dame', written in 1831. The title refers to the cry of the heroic bell ringer Quasimodo as he temporarily saves the heroine Esmerelda from the gallows. He carries her to the top of the bell tower of Notre Dame Cathedral, screaming "Sanctuary! Sanctuary! Sanctuary!"

The 10-minute three movement work is dominated by the sound of bells. The first, 'Cour des Miracles', depicts the colourful festival when the bells of Notre Dame ringing joyously. The second, 'Miséricorde', is an ardent song from Quasimodo to his adored Esmerelda, declaring his unbounded love.

The final movement, 'ANANKH', refers to the message that Hugo intended for the book — describing fate and destiny (Esmerelda is betrayed, captured and consigned to death a second time). The work concludes with a reprise of the love song, signifying hope and restoration.

'Sanctuary!' was commissioned by the John Golland Trust and premiered by Tredegar Band at the 2018 RNCM Brass Band Festival.

Produced specially

Daniel Hall is a final year under-graduate at the RWCMD in Cardiff and is Composer in Association with Tredegar Band. He has fulfilled commissions from Foden's Band, Eminence Brass Quartet, A4 Brass Quartet, and a number of emerging international brass soloists.

His work 'Smoke Sketches' was commissioned by Brass Bands England as one of the set tests for the 2017 National Youth Championships of Great Britain and his works have been performed throughout Europe.

It is being produced specially for the contest by the composer and can be ordered exclusively by e-mail from Paul Hindmarsh, Chair of the EBBA Music Commission at:

The Premier and Development Section contests will be held at the Stravinsky Hall in the Montreux Convention Centre on Sunday 28th April4BR


The Development Section contenders will perform 'Argos' by Stephan Hodel, which was initially commissioned by the Luzerner Kantonal-Blasmusikverbandes LKBV.

Completed in 2009, it was the set-test piece in the Third Section of the 2010 Lucerne Cantonal Music Festival, Willisau.

Argos is one of the oldest cities in Greece, and was a powerful rival of Sparta, Athens, and Corinth. The word Argos can also be translated as 'bright' or 'shining', which is the meaning that Stephan Hodel has adopted for his bright, festive suite.

Approximately 8 minutes in duration it is in three parts; a fanfare-like opening, followed by a song or chorale-like middle section and a light-hearted final movement.


Swiss born Hodel is a highly respected writer for the brass band medium, and a graduate of the Royal College of Music (RCM) in London, where he completed his postgraduate studies in composition with Joseph Horovitz.

He has completed commissions for English National Ballet, whilst his brass work 'Vertex' was the B section test piece when the European Championship was last held in Montruex in 2011.

His colourful composition 'A Lenda do Curupira' was the set-work for the First Division of the 2014 Swiss National Championships, whilst his latest, 'Phoenicia — Symphonic Sketches', was the set-test for the 2018 Swiss Open contest.

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Dave Collins

BA (Hons) (Dunelm) I, FSCO
Composer and Arranger