Tredegar Band

2019 RNCM Brass Band Festival
Conductor: Ian Porthouse
Soloist: David Childs
RNCM Manchester
Sunday 27th January

The UK premiere of Edward Gregson’s ‘Euphonium Concerto’ given by David Childs was the fulcrum to Tredegar’s programme at the RNCM Festival.

It raised an outstanding concert into the realms of the superlative.  

After an acclaimed performance by the combination at the Linz Brass Festival in November, the umbilical connection between MD Ian Porthouse and soloist was tethered with instinctive elasticity - the opening ‘Dialogues’ built on a four note cell stated with staggering  bulls-eye brilliance by the soloist.    

The neat interplay that followed, pared down by the composer to its basic essentials, was lucid and detailed, leading into an extended ‘Song Without Words’ - a poetic ballad of peacefulness.

Childs shaped each phrase with a tender passion, an intense, wistful air of nostalgia permeating the music.  

Only in the finale, a ‘Bacchanal’ of razor sharp technique dressed in a patina of heady bling, did the soloist let loose - and majestically so - upping the ante with ferocious exuberance, the ensemble gripped tightly to his coat tails.

It was a stunning performance of a work of huge significance to the euphonium repertoire.

Only in the finale, a ‘Bacchanal’ of razor sharp technique dressed in a patina of heady bling, did the soloist let loose - and majestically so - upping the ante with ferocious exuberance, the ensemble gripped tightly to his coat tails. 

Dramatic impact

Tredegar had earlier opened with the imposing heft of James MacMillan’s ‘Jebel’ - a dramatic impact statement of biblical power. Written for a local school (to be played by its brass band) it was hewn out of the hillside rock on which it stood around the corner from the composer’s home. 

It was followed by a refined reading of Dean Goffin’s ‘Rhapsodic Variations: My Strength, My Tower’, a masterwork whose foundations are deeply embedded in the biblical soil of the Salvationist movement. 

A sequel to ‘Rhapsody for Brass’, its modal theme was followed by a set of five elegantly structured variations, each complex and inventive, topped by filigree ornamentations for the cornet and euphonium (played with artistry by the soloists), and a rapid denouement.  

Knowing conceits

Henze’s ‘Ragtimes & Habaneras’ brought the afternoon to a delightful close, as Ian Porthouse simply and effectively allowed the music to speak for itself.  

The result of his light touch approach was a revitalizing series snapshot portraits, rib-poking gestures and knowing conceits that have lost none of their acerbic lemon-laced wit and stylised invention, from the alluring to the satirical.

Elements of Weill, Mahler and mordent Marxism bubbled sulphurously under its surface. It was quite brilliant.    

Iwan Fox

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    

Foden's Band - European 2020 fundraiser - Bier Keller night

Friday 18 October • Sandbach Town Hall, High Street, Sandbach, Cheshire CW11 1AX

Black Dyke Band - Empire Theatre, Consett

Saturday 19 October • Front Street, Consett, County Durham DH8 5AB

South Yorkshire Police Band - South Yorkshire Police Band with guest soloist Sim

Saturday 19 October • Doncaster Minster DN1 1RD

Kettering Citadel S A Band -

Saturday 19 October • The Salvation Army, . 36 - 40 Sunnyside, . Diss, Norfolk. IP22 4DS

Richmond Brass Band - Celebration in Brass

Saturday 19 October • St Mary's Church. Church Street. Twickenham TW1 3NJ

Lofthouse Brass Band

October 16 • Lofthouse 2000 Brass Band are looking for a solo cornet and kit drummer. Rehearsal at Outwood WMC, Ledger Lane, Outwood, Wakefield. Experienced and sociable band with a progressive attitude.

Chinnor Silver

October 16 • We need a FLUGEL PLAYER to complete our happy band.. Good but realistic book of concerts and contests planned.. Rehearsals are held on wednesdays (extra when required)in our own bandroom and are well attended.

Stannington Brass Band

October 16 • 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

Jack Capstaff

Bmus (Hons)
Conductor | Composer


 © 2019 4barsrest.com Ltd