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CD Review: Regionals 2018

Featuring: Brighouse & Rastrick, Soli Brass, Foden's, Cory, Black Dyke
Conductors: Allan Withington, Jan de Haan, Michael Fowles, Philip Harper, Prof Nicholas Childs
Doyen Recordings: DOY CD377

It all kicks off again soon enough. Blackpool then Huddersfield followed by Perth, Torquay and Bedworth, Durham, Stevenage and Swansea.  Over 500 contest performances all with one aim in mind: National qualification. 

To reach London or Cheltenham the bands will have to tackle five rather generously chosen set-works by the Kapitol Music Panel. Just about every contender taking to the various stages around the country in the next couple of months has certainly been given a fighting chance of winning through.


Take Kevin Norbury’s top-flight ‘Odyssey’: Inspired by the spiritual dichotomies of light and darkness, it was first heard almost 20 years ago at the 1999 European Championships in Munich and has lain dormant just about ever since. 

At around 12 minutes in duration and traditionally structured, it presents a rather munificent opportunity for bands with Albert Hall aspirations. 

So too James Curnow’s ‘Brass Metamorphosis’, which gives First Section contenders ample chance to match technical security to interpretive endeavor, whilst ‘Ex Terra Lucem’ by Jonathan Bates displays it’s obvious Second Section challenges with neatly packaged transparency.  

Austerlitz not Waterloo

MDs with a desire for conquest should enjoy Philip Harper’s colourful Napoleonic mountain romp in the Third Section - with the best hopefully claiming a Battle of Austerlitz rather than Waterloo outcome in the process, whilst a trip to faraway climes of a different kind lies behind Rodney Newton’s enjoyable ‘World Tour’ in the Fourth - written to mark the centenary of Besses o’ th’ Barn’s first such epic undertaking in 1906. 

MDs with a desire for conquest should enjoy Philip Harper’s colourful Napoleonic mountain romp in the Third Section - with the best hopefully claiming a Battle of Austerlitz rather than Waterloo outcome in the process 

Progressive thinking

As an essential reference marker for listeners (but surely not conductors), the Regional CD once again does its job, although a bit of progressive thinking is now long overdue to enable the previous year’s National champion in each section to be given the chance to record the works as part of winning the title?

Delving into the archives for some pretty dated recordings (the links only found in the small print of the booklet inside the CD cover), or having the likes of Foden’s, Cory and Black Dyke provide performances that hold little relevance to what will actually be heard on contest day seems to have one eye on the ledger lines of the profit and loss sheet rather than the featured scores themselves.

Iwan Fox



Play List:

1. Odyssey (Kevin Norbury) - (11.24)
Brighouse & Rastrick
Conductor: Allan Withington

2. Brass Metamorphosis (James Curnow) - (12.38)
Soli Brass 
Conductor: Jan de Haan

3. Ex Terra Lucem (Jonathan Bates) - (11.00)
Foden’s Band
Conductor: Michael Fowles

4. Napoleon on the Alps (Philip Harper) - (10.59)
Cory Band
Conductor: Philip Harper

5. World Tour (Rodney Newton)
Black Dyke Band
Conductor: Prof Nicholas Childs

i) The Leaving of Liverpool - (2.47)
ii) Chicago Rag - (1.47)
iii) Pacific Paradise - (2.49)
iv) Australian Walkabout & Homeward Bound - (2.20)

Kettering Citadel S A Band -

Tuesday 17 July • 66, Rockingham Road,. Kettering,. NN16 8JU

Roberts Bakery Band - Bluedot Festival

Saturday 21 July • Jodrell Bank Discovery Centre. . The University of Manchester. . Macclesfield, Cheshire SK11 9DL

Medway Band - Higham Church Annual Prom

Saturday 21 July • St. Marys Church. 1 Abbey Farm Cottages . Church Street. Higham. Rochester . ME3 7LS

Lofthouse Brass Band - Oxenhope Railway Station

Sunday 22 July • Oxenhope Railway Station, The Railway Station, Station Road, Haworth BD22 8NJ BD22 8NJ

Tendring Brass - Opening Night Concert of the Frinton Mission 2018

Saturday 28 July • Greensward,. Frinton on Sea,. Essex CO13 9DN

Worthing Silver Band

July 17 • Worthing Silver Band are a lively band looking to increase their numbers. We are looking for back row cornets, 2nd horn, 2nd baritone, Eb + Bb bass. We perform a selection of concerts and we are the organisers of Brassbandathon. Look us up for more info.

Witney Town Band

July 17 • A friendly 4th section band based in West Oxfordshire require Front row cornet, percussion and second Horn. We rehearse from 7:30 - 9.30pm every Tuesday at Witney Methodist Church, High Street, Witney, Oxfordshire, OX28 6HG. . .

West Somerset Brass Band

July 17 • We have vacancies for a 1st baritone player and front row cornet although we would be delighted to hear from any brass player or those wishing to learn an instrument. We are based in Watchet, West Somerset but players come from a wide radius to us

Chris Wormald

B.Mus (Hons), LTCL, PGCE
Conductor, adjudicator, arranger