BrassPass.tv UK Band of the Year Gala Concert

Black Dyke
Conductor: Prof Nicholas Childs
Soloist: David Childs
Stoller Hall, Manchester
Saturday 22nd June


After the thrilling heavyweight action enjoyed by a packed audience at the inaugural BrassPass.tv UK Band of the Year contest, it was perhaps a little surprising that this Gala Concert only managed to fill half the seats at Stoller Hall.

Those who decided not to add an enjoyable coda to their day in Manchester missed out (although the event was live-broadcast) on a relaxed Black Dyke and breathtaking David Childs.

Timely reminder

Earlier the band had given a timely reminder of their inherent competitive qualities with a contest set of world premieres from the pens Philip Wilby, Peter Graham and Bruce Broughton. After that display of high class brilliance on high class compositions it was perhaps understandable that a lightweight programme of well worn familiarity didn’t quite hold as much appeal.

That said, any lingering disappointment was quickly erased by the sound of ‘Queensbury’ played with crisp precision, whilst an energetic ‘Ruslan & Ludmilla’ overture retained a Cyrillic sparkle. The concert standards of ‘Black Dyke at the Movies’ and ‘Big Band Suite’ were played with easy ingrained style, whilst ‘Fire in the Blood’, ‘Bacchanale’ and ‘Shine As the Light’ were driven on classy auto-pilot.

Perhaps David Childs also wanted to reinforce his reputation for being a class apart from rivals as he delivered a masterclass in solo artistry and professionalism. 

Class apart

Perhaps David Childs also wanted to reinforce his reputation for being a class apart from rivals as he delivered a masterclass in solo artistry and professionalism.

It was faultless playing - the Romany flamboyance of ‘Zigeunerweisen’ balanced by the tasteful lyricism of ‘Danny Boy’ in the first half, the refined virtuosity of ‘Endearing Young Charms’ added to by the tender beauty of ‘A Little Prayer’ in the second.

It had been a pleasing musical sorbet (Walking with Heroes’ was the added encore) after the hefty main courses of earlier in the day.  

Malcolm Wood

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