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CD Review: Of Gods and Kings

Foden's Band
Conductor: Michael Fowles
Doyen Recordings: DOY CD367

of gods and kings

The relationship between Godly omnipotence and human mortality has always been a complex one. 

A mistaken self-belief in a blessed consecration between the realms invariably leads to trouble - especially for those (royalty chief amongst them) who all too readily assume anointment directly from the Gods themselves: Heaps of it in fact.    
As Prometheus found to his cost; ‘Whom the gods would destroy, they first make mad’: He ended up going bonkers, bound to a rock for all eternity with his liver pecked out by an eagle.


It also goes a considerable way to explaining the polytheistic subtext to this impressive Foden’s release; one which explores some notably colourful interpretations about the subject matter by different composers, and which in turn are given performances rich in character and style under the baton of Michael Fowles.


As a result Foden’s ‘Odin’ is a deliciously malevolent, impetuous spirit of wisdom and poetry as well as a throat-gripping Berserker of war and death in Arthur Butterworth’s splendid triptych portrait. Meanwhile, Lalo’s famous operatic take on the ménage a trios absurdities of regal betrothal ends in a well-paced watery Wagnerian Gotterdammerung. 

The equally catastrophic results of fickle royal deceit are also revealed with verve and kaleidoscopic colour in ‘A King’s Lie’ by Stan Nieuwenhuis, although in contrast, Benjamin Britten’s sympathetic Arthurian portrait is explored in more subtle, pastel shades in a descriptive suite expertly arranged by Paul Hindmarsh.  Granville Bantock’s complex Prometheus is played out as a compound, troubled soul, uneasy in the knowledge of his impending fate.

Tonal mood

Foden’s is on fine form throughout; with the soloists taking artful command of the lead lines and the ensemble able to change tonal mood from the icy wastelands of Nordic legend to the furnaces of Greek mythology via a dip into the Breton flood waters.

It ends, appropriately enough, with a warning to anyone with misplaced deific aspirations in Howard Snell’s glorious arrangement of Wagner’s ‘Entry of the Gods into Valhalla’ - a prodigious piece of brass and thunder drama. 

Iwan Fox

Available from: http://www.worldofbrass.com
1. Le Roi d'Ys (Edourd Lalo arr. Frank Wright)
2-4. Odin - from the Land of Fire and Ice Op.76 (Arthur Butterworth)
i. Allegro Molto
ii. Largo Assai
iii. Presto
5. A King's Lie (Stan Nieuwenhuis)
6. Prometheus Unbound (Granville Bantock)
7-10. King Arthur - Scenes from a Radio Drama (Benjamin Britten arr. Paul Hindmarsh)
i. Overture
ii. Galahad and the Holy Grail
iii. Lancelot and Arthur
iv. The Death of Arthur
11. Entry of the Gods into Valhalla (Richard Wagner arr. Howard Snell)

Foden's Band - St Michaels & All Angels Church

Saturday 25 May • Egerton Road, Ashton on Ribble, Preston PR2 1AJ

St Pinnock Brass Band - Rock Choir Cornwall

Sunday 26 May • Sterts Theatre, . Sterts, . Liskeard, . PL14 5AZ PL14 5AZ

Contest: All England International Masters

Sunday 26 May • The Lighthouse Theatre, Kettering Conference Centre, Thurston Drive NN15 6PB

Lewes, Glynde and Beddingham Brass Band - Eastbourne Bandstand - 1812 concert

Wednesday 29 May • Bandstand, Grand Parade, Eastbourne BN21 3AD

Black Dyke Band - George Lawton Hall, Mossley

Thursday 30 May • George Lawton Hall, Stamford St, Mossley, Ashton-under-Lyne OL5 0HR

Horbury Victoria Band

May 22 • Horbury Victoria Band.. Preparing in good time for section one next year require Solo Euphonium and Front Row Cornet.. A not too busy, friendly and happy band. Rehearsal Wednesday 8pm

Hathersage Band

May 22 • BBb Bass to join in our music making under MD Andy Furmidge. Hathersage Brass Band is a non-contesting band whose friendly members enjoy performing at Village Galas and Fetes as well as several Christmas concerts.

Hathersage Band

May 22 • Back Row Cornet to join in our music making under MD Andy Furmidge. Hathersage Brass Band is a non-contesting band whose friendly members enjoy performing at Village Galas and Fetes as well as several Christmas concerts.

Steve Pritchard-Jones

Conductor, Adjudicator, Teacher