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CD review: Timeless

Sheona White
Brighouse & Rastrick Band
Conductors: Prof David King; David Thornton
Pianist: Ruth Webb
CD: WOS 131


They say good things come to those who wait.  

For ‘Timeless’, read timely then. Hopefully though, it won’t be anywhere near as long as 17 years before we hear Sheona White’s next offering.  

Recorded in the studio and from the Brass in Concert Championship late last year, it doesn’t disappoint; with a spectacular array of repertoire performed to the highest possible standard by a player of genuine artistic gifts. 

Musical tone

The musical tone is set with the autumnal ‘September Fantasy’, one Eric Ball’s last rhapsodic works, and is maintained to the close with the wicked impressionism of the Derek Bourgeois ‘Concerto’. 

White is an intuitive performer - displaying complete understanding of the music under her fingertips; effortlessly shifting between the drama and expressivity of the scores with subtle nuance.  Her renowned tonality has also matured over the past two decades – now even deeper in richness and body, but still supple, viscous and silky smooth. 

This dark purity is heard on Philip Sparke’s dreamy, languidly beautiful ‘Aria’, as well as the spacious sensitivity of the operatic ‘Ballade’ by John Golland, whilst the ‘easy listening’ feel and shapely cadenza work in Sparke’s ‘Sunday in the Park’ provides a sense of engaging fragility.  

Her renowned tonality has also matured over the past two decades – now even deeper in richness and body, but still supple, 

Crowning glory

There is a lovely dollop of humour with Bramwell Tovey’s ‘Chiquita Dances’ - an imagined back story of a transient cameo character played by Audrey Hepburn’s in the 1951 Ealing comedy film, ‘The Lavender Hill Mob’. Snapshots of waspish teasing contrast with sensitivity and seductiveness, each exquisitely crafted variation a delight.

The crowning glory though is the first studio recording of the Bourgeois ‘Concerto’. The simple, yet beautiful opening lyrical passages immediately ensnare the ear before the soloist navigates the spritely dancing passages and witty pyrotechnic writing with ease. It’s definitive playing. 

The bonus track is like a present from a favourite aunty for being so patient for waiting so long for something so good to finally arrive. 

Thomas Dunne

To purchase: http://https://www.sheonawhite.co.uk/shop

1. September Fantasy (Eric Ball)
2. Aria (Philip Sparke)
3. Chiquita Dances (Bramwell Tovey)
4. Ballade (John Golland)
5. Sunday in the Park (Philip Sparke)
6-8. Concerto for E flat Horn and Brass Band (Derek Bourgeios)
9. Ave Maria (S Bach/Gounod arr. Andrew Baker)

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