*
banner

A4 Brass Quartet

St Bartholomew the Less
London
Wednesday 19th December

The A4 Brass Quartet rounded off a memorable year of artistic achievement by presenting their accomplished talents to a capacity audience in the elegant surroundings of the Church of St Bartholomew the Less within Barts Hospital.

They opened with Jonathan Bates' vibrant 'Toccata 4', which provided an excellent introduction to the group thanks to its abundant energy and surges of sound.

Original detail

There was a witty acknowledgment that was to follow was their most challenging item; an arrangement of Smetana's 'Overture to the Bartered Bride'. It was a fine take however; including a great deal of original detail expertly covered and a surprisingly full sound even when only a couple of players were in action.

Inventive approaches to Harold Darke's 'In the Bleak Midwinter', followed by a version of 'Let it Snow!' incorporating a schottische and references to 'Jingle Bells' led into an unusual selection of ten 'Romanian Christmas Carols' by Bela Bartok. 

With various leads duets and trios giving the texture, the whole work was underpinned by constantly shifting Balkan rhythms.

'Requiem from the Tuvan Hills' and 'A Tale of Two Peaks' from their CD release 'Mists of the Mountains' showed off further engaging aspects of the group's playing; the first started with CD backing adding the sounds of bells and birdsong as the three lower instruments were joined by the cornet. 

The latter featured fanfare entries - whoops, reminiscent of bebop, starting in the euph before being taken up by the ensemble and unison figures on baritone and euph – and providing a startling contrast to Poulenc's 'O Magnum Mysterium' with its astringent harmonies and unresolved suspensions.

With various leads duets and trios giving the texture, the whole work was underpinned by constantly shifting Balkan rhythms.

Sonorous

Rob Bushnell's '. . . and has forgotten the gift' presented mini-cadenzas, including multiphonics for the euphonium, ending suddenly with a unison descending scale.

Jamie Smith's flugel led in 'Away in a Manger', set against running scales on horn and baritone, and finishing with a sonorous euphonium. 

A medley of 'Santa Baby' and 'Baby it's Cold Outside' had wit and warmth, before the concert closed with a rousing 'Hark the Herald' with audience participation, and an intricate setting of 'We Wish you a Merry Christmas'.

Peter Bale 

Support us for less than a cup of coffee...

4BR wants to ensure that the brass band movement remains vibrant and relevant. We also want to be able to question, challenge and critically examine those who run and play in it, producing high quality journalism that informs as well as entertains our readers.

So if like us you value a strong, independent perspective on the brass band world - then why not consider becoming a supporter and help make our future and that of a burgeoning brass band movement more secure.

So one less cappuccino then?

Support us    



The Fairey Band -

Sunday 22 September • Boarshurst Band Club. Greenbridge Lane. Greenfield. Saddleworth OL37EW


Enderby Youth Band - Mike Fowles, directing training weekend concert

Sunday 22 September • Lutterworth College Main Hall. Bitteswell Road. Lutterworth. Leicestershire LE17 4EW


Enderby Youth Band - Mike Fowles, directing Youth training weekend

Sunday 22 September • Lutterworth College. Bitteswell Road . Lutterworth LE17 4EW


Foden's Band - Mike Lovatt

Sunday 22 September • Stoller Hall, Hunts Bank, Manchester M3 1DA


Kettering Citadel S A Band - NeXus Youth Choir (S A West Midlands)

Saturday 28 September • The Salvation Army, . 66, Rockingham Road, . Kettering, Northamptonshire, NN16 8JU


Foss Dyke Band

September 22 • We are looking for a horn player, 2nd Euph, 2nd Baritone and a Cornet, and finally a Bass player to complete our line up for the 1st Section next year. Great bandroom feeling, under new MD Ian Scott. Come and give us a try, you will be made most welcome.


Stannington Brass Band

September 22 • A rare opportunity has arisen to join one of Sheffield's leading bands with a vacancy for an EEb TUBA player to complete our bass section. We have a good band room atmosphere and a calendar of interesting concerts and contests


Frampton on Severn Silver Band

September 21 • We are a friendly non-contesting band in Gloucestershire looking for players, in particular cornets, baritone, euphonium and Eb bass, but all welcome. We play at local events and bandstand jobs, and practice on Tuesday evenings just off J13 of the M5.


Sandy Smith


Conductor, teacher, adjudicator and arranger


               

 © 2019 4barsrest.com Ltd