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CD review: Bolero

Brighouse & Rastrick
Concert Series Vol. 1
Conductor: Dr David Thornton
Soloist: Kathleen Gaspoz, Sheona White, Philippe Schwartz
Doyen Recordings: CD DOY CD381


These are interesting musical times at Brighouse & Rastrick. 

Prof David King continues to instil a sense of title winning adventure on the contest stage, whilst the appointment of David Thornton as MD has given stimulating impetus to their concert repertoire: They are an invigorating band to hear in action. 

That’s shown with this release; one that although featuring just one original composition, still retains a defined sense of crisp freshness to complement the familiar substance. 

Masterful scoring

It’s helped by the choice and quality of the music making, and especially by the arrangements themselves: Howard Snell’s masterful scoring of ensemble balance and texture in Bach’s ‘Passacaglia in C Minor’ is mirrored by the sinuous dance movements evoked in the playing on Ravel’s iconic ‘Bolero’. 

There is fitting imperial bombast to Wagner’s ‘The Entry of the King’, and a sultry atmosphere to Gordon Langford’s expertly segued ‘Carmen’ highlights that has the persuasiveness of a ripe Cohiba on the lips. ‘The Long Day Closes’ never wallows in its sensitive sentimentality. 

A trio of soloists are first class; Kathleen Gaspoz displays a melancholic sensuality with Piazzolla’s ‘Oblivion’ and Sheona White a cultured elegance with ‘Ave Maria’. Philippe Schwartz is admirably diabolical with his virtuosic interplay on ‘Devil’s Duel’.

A trio of soloists are first class; Kathleen Gaspoz displays a melancholic sensuality with Piazzolla’s ‘Oblivion’ and Sheona White a cultured elegance with ‘Ave Maria’. Philippe Schwartz is admirably diabolical with his virtuosic interplay on ‘Devil’s Duel’.  

Superb adaptation

The pick however is Paul Hindmarsh’s superb adaptation of Walton’s, ‘A Wartime Sketchbook’; six miniature portraits of character so redolent of time and place that it could have been conducted by Churchill with a baton instead of a cigar in his hand. 

The undefeatable communal spirit of the ‘Prologue’ followed by a sprightly ‘Bicycle Ride’ leads into a haunting snapshot of departing ‘Refugees’ and the carefree sense of immortality of the Luftwaffe’s ‘Young Seigfrieds’. The tenderness of ‘The Lovers’ has a noble affection before the closing ‘Epilogue’ draws things to a triumphant close - signalling the long awaited victory and future optimism.

With playing of this character and quality these are sentiments also shared by many fans of the current band from West Riding.

Iwan Fox 

To purchase: http://www.worldofbrass.com/cds/british-bands/brighouse-rastrick-band/100159-group.html

Play list:

1. The Entry of the King (Wagner arr. Bertrand Moren)
2. Passacaglia in C Minor (J.S. Bach arr. Howard Snell)
3. Oblivion (Piazzolla arr. Rick Mizell)
Soloist: Kathleen Gaspoz
4. A Wartime Sketchbook (Walton arr. Paul Hindmarsh)
i. Prologue
ii. Bicycle Chase
iii. Refugees
iv. Scherzo: Young Seigfrieds
v. Romance: The Lovers
vi. Epilogue
10. Ave Maria (Gounod arr. Andrew Baker)
Soloist: Sheona White
11. A Carmen Fantasy (Bizet arr. Gordon Langford)
12. The Long Day Closes (Sullivan arr. Eric Ball)
13. Devil's Duel (Peter Meechan)
Soloist: Philippe Schwartz
14. Bolero (Ravel arr. Howard Snell)

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