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CD review: Black Dyke Gold: Volume IX

Conductor: Prof Nicholas Childs
Soloists: Daniel Thomas; Gavin Saynor; Richard Marshall; Jon Hammonds; Tim Hammond; Matt Rigg
Doyen Recordings: DOY CD405


One of the major problems inflicted by the Covid-19 pandemic was the disruption caused to recording opportunities and ambitions for bands. For Black Dyke, particularly so. 

Volume IX of their popular ‘Gold’ series illustrates the point. Almost two years in the making it also tells us a great deal about the post Covid future of the brass band CD market place.

As heartening as it would be to see the Queensbury band produce a series of bespoke major test-piece releases (and the finely judged premiere performance recordings of ‘Dynasty’ and ‘Heroes’ here stand with musical authority), the commercial reality is that even their continued commitment to the genre cannot overcome the diminishing trend in the overall demand for brass band CDs.

Not lost

As a result, as curious a juxtaposition as it may seem to shoehorn the 2019 British Open and 2021 National Championship works next to somewhat lightweight concert items, Prof Nicholas Childs should be congratulated for ensuring that they are not lost from recorded posterity.

Where else would you have got to hear the leviathan-sized ‘The God Particle’, ‘Odyssey’ or ‘Symphony of Scarlet & Gold’ - all released through the series in the past few years?

As a result, as curious a juxtaposition as it may seem to shoehorn the 2019 British Open and 2021 National Championship works next to somewhat lightweight concert items, Prof Nicholas Childs should be congratulated for ensuring that they are not lost from recorded posterity.

The decision has enabled flexibility of consumer choice in the increasingly important download market platform. Now the serious curator can simply add the Graham and Broughton test-pieces to their collections whilst occasional listeners can boost their ‘pick ‘n mix’ playlists - all for as little as a pound a pop.

Realistic option

And with little prospect of brass bands being part of the renaissance in the niche vinyl LP market place, this deliberately eclectic approach is perhaps the only realistic option left to make the format commercially viable: Buy the CD, sit back and use the ‘skip’ button, or save a few quid and purchase individual tracks. 

It may well amount to a curious alchemy of repertoire, but Black Dyke and Dr Nicholas Childs have produced a ‘Gold’ standard well worth investing in to protect its future viability.

The polished test-piece renditions aside, Daniel Thomas and Gavin Saynor are on sparkling form, there is the familiar fun of the ‘Big Band Suite’ and ‘Cornet Roundabout’, the driving complexities of Andy Wareham’s ‘God from the Machine’, the fizz of Broughton’s colourful ‘Harlequin’ and the tender warmth of remembrance of ‘For the Beauty of the Earth’ by John Rutter. 

It may well amount to a curious alchemy of repertoire, but Black Dyke and Dr Nicholas Childs have produced a ‘Gold’ standard well worth investing in to protect its future viability.

Iwan Fox 


To purchase: 

CD direct from Black Dyke: https://www.blackdykeband.co.uk/shop/shop/cds/black-dyke-gold/black-dyke-gold-vol-ix-2/

CD: https://www.worldofbrass.com/101143

Download: https://www.worldofbrass.com/101143-download

Play list:

1. Harlequin (Bruce Broughton)
2. Dynasty (Peter Graham)
i. Harry
ii. War
iii. Theatre
iv. Journey
v. Together
vi. Farewell
vii. Amen
9. The Dragon's Den (Andy Scott)
Soloist: Daniel Thomas
10. God from the Machine (Andy Wareham)
11. Cornet Roundabout (Robert Eaves)
Soloists: Richard Marshall, Jon Hammond, Tim Hammond
12. Big Band Suite 
i. Sweet Georgia Brown (Pinkard, Casey & Bernie arr. Goff Richards
ii. Li'l Darlin' (Neal Hefti arr. Philip Sparke)
iii. Ol' Man River (Kern arr. Mark Freeh)
Soloist: Matt Rigg
15. Bass in the Ballroom (Roy Newsome)
Soloist: Gavin Saynor
16. For the Beauty of the Earth (John Rutter arr. Luc Vertommen)
17. Heroes
i. Ignition
ii. Tranquility
iii. Return

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