Owen Farr recital

Regent Hall Brass Arts Festival
Regent Hall
Friday 9th October

Owen Farr’s extraordinary talent is immensely entertaining. 

So whilst a two-hour tenor horn recital on a busy Friday afternoon in central London might not seem like the most enticing prospect, a rare opportunity to listen to him perform certainly is. 


An international audience (visitors from Canada, Norway and the Netherlands claimed seats), were also drawn in by Youtube hits of Mendelssohn’s ‘Violin’ and Haydn’s ‘Cello’ concerti.

We were presented with a programme in two halves.


First - traditional solos commencing with a stupendous rendition of ‘Napoli’. Even those who know the ‘natural’ range and capability of a brass instrument would have been amazed how ‘Farr’ he can take things.

It led into an enjoyable historical presentation of the soloists of Sousa’s great band, as concert hall became lecture theatre. Entertaining, engaging and hugely informative, we learned of Clarke, Mantia, Pryor, Bellstedt and Kryl, whilst being treated to a performance of each of their greatest solo works. 

This was Farr as the ultimate exponent of his craft - a player Sousa himself would have been eager to sign. It was astonishing playing: Even within the context of the lecture presentation, his showboating could only be received merely as a form of modest demonstration. 


‘Blue Bells of Scotland' was the pick - with more leaps between extreme register than could be imagined physically possible. 

At one stage, there was even nod to trumpet virtuoso Allen Vizzutti - borrowing the trademark spinning trick and applying it to a tenor horn ‘waggle’ midway through an extended triple tonguing passage!

New and recent

The second half was a showcase of new and recent repertoire - some taken from his acclaimed CD recording ‘A New Dawn’, such as ‘Dragon Dances’, by Andrew Baker. 

A lyrical interlude in David Harrington’s warming ‘Romance’ followed, before his virtuosic accompanist Chris Williams turned composer, to introduce his own ‘Elegy - In memory of Mervyn Burtch’, and soloist, in his own adaptation of Gershwin’s ‘Piano Concerto No.2 - Mvt II’, with Farr’s horn taking on the original trumpet and orchestral accompaniment. 


After this tender central section, Williams again turned soloist in Billy Mayerl’s aptly named ‘The Nimble Fingered Gentleman’ - a performance every bit as fizzingly brilliant as any by his Welsh compatriot.

To conclude a highly entertaining afternoon they combined to perform Paul Sharman’s ‘You Love Me’, in a performance dedicated to the memory of Owen Farr’s grandfather. 

Nick Walkley

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    

Black Dyke Band - Queensbury Parish Church

Thursday 12 December • Holy Trinity Church, West End, Queensbury, West Yorkshire, BD13 2AD

Regent Hall Concerts - Royal Greenwich Brass Band "Christmas with the Ban

Friday 13 December • Charlton House. Charlton Road. London. SE7 8RE

Regent Hall Concerts - Coldstream Guards Jazz Orchestra

Friday 13 December • Regent Hall (The Salvation Army). 275 Oxford Street Opp. RESERVED. London . W1C 2DJ

Essex Police Band - The Chelmsford Community Gospel Choir

Saturday 14 December • Christchurch, London Road, Chelmsford CM2 0AW 

Essex Police Band - Chelmsford Gospel Choir and Chelmsford Boys Bridga

Saturday 14 December • Christchurch. New London Road . Chelmsford . CM2 0AW CM2 0AW

Chinnor Silver

December 15 • We are looking for a FLUGEL PLAYER to complete our line up as we head towards a new year.. Rehearsals are on Wednesdays with others when required and a are well attended.. Good but realistic book of concerts and contests planned including Butlins

Crewe Brass

December 12 • Crewe Brass is looking for a Solo cornet to complete our line up. Our Principal cornet seat is available for the right candidate. . We are a 2nd section band, with intentions of getting back into the 1st section!

Frampton on Severn Silver Band

December 11 • We are a friendly non-contesting band in Gloucestershire looking for players, in particular cornets, euphonium and Eb bass, but all are welcome. We play at local events and bandstand jobs, and practice on Tuesday evenings just off J13 of the M5.

James Garlick

BMus (Hons), QTS
Conductor, Band Trainer, Adjudicator, Tutor


 © 2019 4barsrest.com Ltd