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Salford University Brass Band

Regent Hall
Conductor: Tom Davoren
Featuring Les Neish (tuba)
Friday 3rd November

Salford University Band opened in fine style with the march 'Ravenswood', with the five basses and four trombones providing a solid foundation, and continued with the first performance of 'Aftershock', introduced by the composer, Martin Cordner. 

Reflective manner

Likening the experiences of the early church to the aftershock which follows an earthquake, it made use of the contemporary worship songs 'Build Your Kingdom Here' and 'I Will Offer Up My Life in Spirit and in Truth'.

There was also a reference to Len Ballantine's 'You Will Be My Witnesses' and the work ended with the old Salvation Army song 'Tell the World', but presented in a more reflective manner than is customary.

'Hymn for Diana' provided a quiet interlude, with telling contributions from glockenspiel and soprano at the climax, before Les Neish delighted the audience with his rendition of 'Quicksilver' -  genuinely mercurial in nature, as he displayed lyricism and athleticism in equal measure across the whole range of the instrument.

Les Neish delighted the audience with his rendition of 'Quicksilver' -  genuinely mercurial in nature, as he displayed lyricism and athleticism in equal measure across the whole range of the instrument.

Rhapsodic heart

At the heart of their programme was Dean Goffin's 'Rhapsody in Brass'. The opening had a light touch, if marred by a little untidiness in some of the runs, whilst the horns produced a gorgeous sound in the second movement, although there were a couple of intonation issues in the lower brass later on. 

The final section got off to a brisk start, aided by some crisp side drum paying, impressive unison runs and some powerful bass sounds, whilst the soprano was clean and precise and excellently restrained.

Quirky

Derek Bourgeois' quirky 'Serenade' flowed smoothly, despite its unusual time signature, before Les returned with a smoothly sustained reading of 'Yorkshire Ballad'. 

With a nod to Tom Davoren's Welsh roots, 'Sospan Fach' (arranged Gareth Wood) provided a suitably upbeat ending to a nicely balanced programme from a band that has only been together for a few weeks so far, but shows much promise.

Peter Bale



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Howard J Evans

MA (Dist), Mus.B (hons), ARCM (hons), LRAM, LTCL, PGCE
Conductor, composer, arranger, tutor and pianist