Works that spanned eras of history, style and political conflict provided the engaging substance to this concert held in the wonderful Georgian Church in the heart of Birmingham.
A historic taster came with the opening ‘Knight Templar’ by a confident Conservatoire Brass Band - bold and purposeful in execution, before Tredegar’s Chris Davies delivered a commanding rendition of the Gareth Wood ‘Concerto for Tenor Horn’; his refined ability to project as well as blend making for a performance of rich, satisfying musicality.
Liz Lane’s evocative ‘Silver Rose’, with narration by the talented Conservatoire graduate Harrison Williams, balanced tasteful pathos with a timeless sense of raw emotion: Isaac Rosenburg’s poetic lines aching with loss, the music providing an eerie layer of immediacy, despite a hundred years of passing time.
In contrast, conflict of a different historical kind closed the first half: Oliver Waespi’s ‘The Raid’ pulsating with a restless mixture of 14th cattle stealing mischief and 21st century bucolic beauty.
Ryan Richards provided a classy take on Gordon Langford’s beautifully crafted ‘Rhapsody for Trombone’; the clarity and wit of the writing neatly captured by a young soloist who continues to grow in impressive musical maturity.
Tredegar took centre stage after the break on what was a humid night for audience and performers alike - opening with the bubbling fizz of ‘Enter the Galaxies’ by Paul Lovatt-Cooper, before Ryan Richards provided a classy take on Gordon Langford’s beautifully crafted ‘Rhapsody for Trombone’; the clarity and wit of the writing neatly captured by a young soloist who continues to grow in impressive musical maturity.
It was followed by the timeless quality of Herbert Howells’ ‘Pageantry’ in a performance led by the MD of considered acoustic appreciation. The neatly defined detail shown in the opening ‘King’s Herald’ led into a flowing tread to the processional ‘Cortege’ before ‘Jousts’ was heralded by a call to arms by Dewi Griffiths that would have got the gander up of any emboldened Knight Templar.
To close, a deeply affecting work inspired by an era of warfare denuded of any sense of pageantry: ‘Hope’ by Dorothy Gates providing a searching rhetorical musical question mark over the purpose and morality of modern day conflict.