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    

The Hepworth Band - Holmfirth Arts Festival - Forces of Nature

Saturday 23 September • St David's Church Hall, Woodhead Road, Holmbridge, Holmfirth, West Yorkshire. HD92NQ

South Yorkshire Police - Concert by South Yorkshire Police Band

Saturday 23 September • Todwick Village Hall. 71 Kiverton Lane. Todwick . Sheffield . S26 1HJ

Dobcross Silver Band - Unite the Union Band

Sunday 24 September • Dobcross Band Club. Platt Lane. Dobcross . Saddleworth . Oldham OL3 5AD

Enderby Band - The Melton Band

Sunday 24 September • Melton Theatre, Asfordby Road, Melton Mowbray LE13 0HJ

The GUS Band - The GUS Band 90th Anniversary Celebration Concert

Sunday 24 September • Northampton High School,. Newport Pagnell Road,. Hardingstone,. Northampton NN4 6UU

Harlow Brass Band

September 22 • Seeking a MUSICAL DIRECTOR - We are a friendly, non-contesting band who play to a good standard. We hold our own Spring and Christmas concerts and provide entertainment at various local events throughout the year

Chinnor Silver

September 22 • Chinnor Silver Band (2nd section National finalists 2023) are looking to strengthen their ranks. We require a Bass player(either flavour) Bass trombone and percussionist. We are a friendly band with a good mix of Concerts and Contests planned for 2023/24

Easingwold Town Band

September 21 • We are an enterprising, forward-looking, inclusive 4th Section band with vacancies for soprano cornet, front-row cornet and Eb bass. Enjoy a friendly welcome at our bandroom in Easingwold, 12 miles N of York (postcode YO61 3DB). Come for a blow!

Jack Capstaff

Bmus (Hons)
Conductor | Composer


 © 2023 4barsrest.com Ltd