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Guards Brass

Conductor: WO1 Andrew Porter
Soloist: Philip Cobb
Regent Hall
Friday 29th September

Under the baton of WO1 Andrew Porter (Bandmaster, Irish Guards), Guards Brass presented a varied programme for this Regent Hall lunch-time concert. 

They opened with the 'March of the Resistance' from the latest film in the Star Wars franchise; John Williams' music adapting well to the 10-piece format, whilst there was a decidedly Spanish flavour in the next items.

'Los Canaris' having originated as a guitar piece, maintained its underlying pulse set by tuba and tambourine, whilst Queen's 'Innuendo' also had touches of the bullring - this time with castanets and flamenco-style clapping.

Atmospheric

The jazz-influenced 'Dulcinea' featured a sustained trumpet solo against an atmospheric accompaniment, with gently pulsating tuba and percussion. Driving rhythms led into a more lively passage with some impressive trombone playing.

Making a welcome guest appearance with the ensemble was Philip Cobb, who was conducting a masterclass with lucky Guards brass players after the concert. Ian Shepherd's setting of 'Scarborough Fair' was an excellent vehicle for his pure sound as he effortlessly dominated the texture.

Prokofiev's 'Dance of the Knights' had been arranged by trumpeter Adam Rapa when recently working with the group, and its angular, powerful lines came across well, particularly from the trombones and tuba.

Prokofiev's 'Dance of the Knights' had been arranged by trumpeter Adam Rapa when recently working with the group, and its angular, powerful lines came across well, particularly from the trombones and tuba.

Delicacy

'Greensleeves' was full of delicacy and subtlety before the bounding energy of the Balkan piece, 'Tu Romnie', whilst Philip Cobb returned with his cornet for 'Don't Doubt Him Now', with the flugel effective in the accompaniment. The flugel also took the lead in 'A Gaelic Blessing', with the piccolo trumpet floating effortlessly up to the final note.

The most assured playing of the afternoon was heard in an idiomatic rendition of 'Children of Sanchez', with excellent support from the two percussionists, whilst the enjoyable concert closed with 'Red Shield'. 

And although the four trumpets and one horn could not expect to make up for full cornet and horn sections it still had a splendid sense of pomp.

Peter Bale



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Dr. Stephen Arthur Allen

D. Phil. (Oxon) [Ph.D Oxford University], GBSM, LTCL, ABSM, ALCM, Cert. Ed.