CD cover - EminenceEminence


Richard Marshall
Black Dyke Band
Conductor: Nicholas Childs
Doyen Recordings: CD 230
Total Playing Time: 59.46

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Being ‘The Man’ is a position only a handful of performers feel genuinely comfortable with.  

It demands a degree of self belief that few possess or are able to ever attain.  These are the chosen few with that hidden extra about their persona as artists whose innate talent, hard earned skills and inner core strength of self belief sets them apart.  If you are to become ‘The Man’ sat on the principal cornet chair at Black Dyke then you need all those attributes in spades.

Over the years only the truly great cornet players have made their lasting mark from the hot seat in the Queensbury bandroom – from Murphy to Webster in the last half century, but in his fairly short space of time sat there, Richard Marshall has certainly done that too.

This well balanced recording showcases a performer of remarkable intuitive musicality, a player of rare gifts indeed.  There is so much more to him as a player than just being a superbly crafted cornet soloist.

That much is in evidence with his playing on the familiar Arutjunjan Concerto – a staple part of any professional trumpet players diet. Marshall performs it with a true sense of open throated rhetoric, deep and broad in tone but with a facile ability to bring clarity of purpose and execution in the crisper technical passages.   It’s a well structured account too, building to its climax in intelligent layers. 

In contrast we are treated to an equally impressive Concerto for Cornet from the pen of the Norwegian composer Torstein Aagaard- Nilsen. This tour de force places demands only the very best performers can overcome, especially as much of the writing is atonal in structure, despite its classical form.  The stark opening movement gives way to an atmospheric second before a joyous rambling third contains the pyrotechnics of a stunning cadenza and almost jazz infused melodic line. The performer delivers with stunning aplomb.

A little less convincing however is the delivery of Stanley Black’s ‘People’ that somehow never quite sends a surge of electricity through the veins in a slightly stilted arrangement.  That cannot be said though with a cracking run through James Curnow’s ‘Concertpiece for Cornet’ which is given a elegant rendition of stated authority and poise.

The memory of one of the true greats of Black Dyke’s history is lovingly recalled with a superbly rounded performance of ‘Bless this House’. Willie Lang was certainly ‘The Man’ in his time with the band, but even he would have doffed his cap to a player whose lyrical style is both subtle and persuasively robust.

The evidence of Richard Marshall’s ability to mould his style of delivery to suit differing genres is also heard to exemplary effect with an agile and forthright performance of ‘Jubilance’ by William Himes and a corker account of ‘Blessed Assurance’ that allows him to explore the extremities of the stratosphere with the sure footedness of a musical Sherpa Tensing.  The versatility of his playing extends to wonderful bit of flugel horn playing too.   

Throughout Black Dyke are on excellent accompanying form – detailed, balanced and never obtrusive, whilst the post production from Doyen is also of a high quality, with a classy insert and programme notes.  Even the tripartite ‘Eminence’ title holds its appropriateness.   Overriding everything though is a performer of undoubted class and genuine world class ability. 

Iwan Fox

What's on this CD?

1. Trumpet Concerto, Arutjunjan, 15.11
2. Bless This House, May H Brahe, 3.05
3. People, Stanley Black trans. Alan Catherall, 4.17
4. Concertpiece for Cornet, James Curnow, 6.37
5. Concerto for Bb Cornet and Brass Band, Torstein Aagaard-Nilsen�����
6. I., 3.43
7. II., 6.19
8. III., 6.22
9. Jubilance, William Himes, 8.30
10. Blessed Assurance, Stephen Bulla, 5.07

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