Best Recording by an SA Band???

Discussion in 'The Rehearsal Room' started by johnflugel, Feb 24, 2004.

  1. johnflugel

    johnflugel Active Member

    A recent thread has got my thinking about my favourite SA Band recordings. I stress, SA Band releases as I am sure that the 'Essays' series by YBS would be on the top of many peoples lists.


    Kaleidascope by Enfield Citadel (early 1980s) - Maybe a great band at their peak? The band is just fantastic and with pieces like Resurgam, Call of the Righteous and Brian Bowens title track, I only wish it was available on CD. If anyone has a Cd copy of it, let me know.

    Sounds of Joy by the Canadian Staff Band (1990) - A super super band. Tight, slick, exciting and some great players amongst them (Derick 'Golden Slippers' Dyffey, Clarence White, Ivor Snell plus the present BM on 2nd bone!). At 10 years old this is the first band I remember hearing and just could not believe how good they sounded. I still listen to the Cd - there are many highlights on the disc but the best one for me is Downie's 'He can break every fetter' which leaves me speachless (no mean feat!). I gather one previous head of sa music did not publish this initially because it was too short...if this is true, then the world was denied a wonderful devotional piece until it eventually came to print in the 90's.

    A Christmas Festival in Brass by ISB 1970(?) - I love hearing the Bernard Adams ISB - they were so so musical and everything sounds so choral like - I am led to believe that Choral music was his real passion. There are some great arrangements of carols by RSA which unfortunately have not found their way into print (come on World of your stuff!). Players in the band (although I was -10 years old at the time so relying on my fathers memory) - Roland Cobb, Ray Bowes, Brian Bowen, Ron Harrison, Robert Redhead, Ian Hankey, Josh Walford.

    Heaton Collection by the ISB (2002?) - This CD is not about the playing (although very good as usual) but WH's music is just something else for me.

    1965 Lp from the RAH with the ISB (not sure of the title) - Two major premieres performed by the Adams ISB. Holy War, which is one of my favourite pieces ever: cannot imagine the atmosphere that set that night. It was controversal stuff for the time I guess but the applause at the end is massive indicating what most people thought! Also RSA is pianist in his own Fantasia on 'Christ is the Answer' - again really exciting - seems to become a Rach piano concerto at the end....great , historical recording.

    Any thoughts?
  2. Rootus Maximus

    Rootus Maximus New Member

    Personally I haven't been listening to S music for that long but one that sticks out is the CD Milestone by Enfield. Super playing and great selection of music.

    Rootus Maximus
  3. BreadOfHeaven

    BreadOfHeaven Member

    I'll second Maximus! I think as a disc taken as a whole, Milestone is the best release by any SA band ever. My seniors inform me that the Enfield LP for going to Australia (late 70's :?: ) was the best but I've only heard tapes of it.
  4. Razor

    Razor Member

    For me it has to be 'Kaleidascope'.

    I agree too that 'Milestone' is a great recording and probably the best of recent years. Another from Enfield that merits inclusion is 'Toccata', released @1990.

    I've heard varying opinions as to what was the the 'best' Enfield Band and it seems to boil down to 2 particular era's.

    The band of 64 - The band that toured North America in 64 as the first SA corps band to do so. After the tour almost half the band ended up emigrating to live in Canada/USA. As far as I know that included Derick Diffey, Ivor Snell and Bram Gregson, not sure who else.

    The 79/80 band (The 'Australian' band) - The band that travelled to Australia and New Zealand on a month long tour in 1980. This is the band whose recordings in the late 70's, BreadofHeaven refers to. Many say that this was the finest band and that the recordings and live performances around that period demonstrated that.

    Being of an age too young to remember either I can't say which I think was the best but both must have been something special, in that people still rave about them today.
  5. johnflugel

    johnflugel Active Member

    Bread of Heaven and Razor have mentioned a good CD there, the Enfield tour Cd to Australia. I know it very well:

    Laudate Dominum is on it, Euphony (with Peter Wise as soloist) Guardian of our Way, Word of Grace (Mike Savage), Invincible Army and Spirit of joy.

    Two strange things though:in Heatons Toccata they used timps for to beats at the end when percussion is written tacet. Also they add a major chord final note at the end of Keith Hutch' and Richard Martins duet (awesome) 'To set the people free' - obviously the percusion got itchy fingers and the cornets required a big clap at the end of their duet during the seventies (not that these guys would not have got one anyway!). Great recording though and all without the aid of the latest digital cut & paste technology :wink:

  6. Maestro

    Maestro Active Member

    I can't remember the name of the Lp, but it is by the ISB, and has a blue cover with the SA flag, and , if I remember correctly, a couple of instruments.
    I was the first time I had ever heard Eric Ball's 'Kingdom Triumphant', and it blew me away.
    The other SA Lp, that I have a fondness for, is the 1963 Bandmaster's councils (I think it was). Just to hear Massed bands playing George Marshall's 'Soldiers of Christ' sends a chill down my spine, especially hearing those wonderful G trombones giving it some.
  7. drummerboy

    drummerboy Member

    I have a CD called 'The Enfield Collection' which has some tracks of the above mentioned recording, if that helps?

    Milestone is a fantastic CD. I also think 'Trumpet Call' by the ISB (about 1995 I think) is fantastic, haven't heard the Heaton Toccata played better.
  8. John Brooks

    John Brooks Well-Known Member

    I agree with others that the 1965 live recordings of the ISB - The Holy War and Fantasia for Piano and Band should be on this list. Others in my collection: ISB Live in Southern California 1957 - Some great performances by a band right on top of its game; Summer Festival - 1970 -live again particularly for the ISB rendition of My Comfort and Strength but it also includes a rare performance of Challenge and Response by Box Hill Band conducted by Eric Ball - historical if not great; New Jersey Youth Band - date unknown (60's?) - what a band and well recorded too; Autumn Leaves - a 1993 live recording from Roy Thomson Hall because it includes a stunning performance of Concertino for Band and Trombone (Erik Leidzen) by Ian Bousfield; Blazon - the ISB Centennial double CD - well played and 23 tracks of some of the best of the newer and older repertoire - David Daws plays the published version of Clear Skies; Blazon by Peter Graham; Andrew Justice plays New Horizons; Derick Kane - Journey Into Peace; A Pastoral Symphony; Army of the Brave; Exodus; The Holy War; The Present Age; Sword and Shield - all conducted by Robert Redhead - 145 mins and 16 secs of great SA brass band music.
  9. Gorgie boy

    Gorgie boy Member

    Kaleidoscope - got to be the very best recording by an SA band. I always thought that from the very first bars of 'In the Firing Line' it stands out as a band a class apart. The bass line solo in that march is totally awesome.

    I always thought that the recording quality on that LP was superb as well, but Keith Loxley once told me that if you listen very, very carefully, during 'Clear Skies' I think it is, you can hear a bus go past outside! Of course he might have been at the wind-up!

    I also enjoyed their 'Quintessence' LP, released for the 1980's tour of USA/Canada. They recorded 'For Our Transgressions' and it was excellent. 'Hope Variations' is one that as well - my favourite piece at the moment.

    Something a bit different, I enjoy 2 New York Staff Band CD's in particular, 'Principals', and 'Blazing Brass', mainly for the outstanding quality of the soloists, Philip Smith and Dudley Bright on the first and Patrick Sheridan on the second. His 'Grandfather's Clock' is pure class!

    Paul Drury
    Edinburgh Gorgie Band
  10. Gorgie boy

    Gorgie boy Member

    Forgot one! 1966 Bandmasters' Councils Festival. Norwich Citadel Band play 'Song of Courage'. The ending, particularly that really wicked solo cornet figure in the last few bars, is played so ferociously, with a death knell like 'thud' from the bass drum at the end. Great recording from a band playing out of its skin and totally on the edge.

    Paul Drury
  11. Kernewek Den

    Kernewek Den Member

    I've never heard a good SA band, not saying that they aren't but don't get them down here and have always been adverse to buying a CD for a fear of them breaking into song (with tambourine backing).

    Sorry for the stereotype - I'll endeavour to get hold of a CD. :lol:
  12. bagpuss

    bagpuss Active Member

    Jessop Smythe has (or had) a recording of the International Staff Band (playing at the Royal Albert Hall I think). On this recording was Procession to the Minster. Has to be the very best I have EVER heard it played. Jessop Smythe, if you still have it I want to know what it was called. Ta

  13. GJG

    GJG Well-Known Member

    Two that have already been mentioned that stick out in my mind:

    The Norwich Citadel Band's live recording of "Song of Courage" - 1966 - 4 or 5 (poss.?) solo cornets going for that top 'D' - presumably on "Imperials" ??? Sheer 'guts', or what?

    The 1970's recording ("Summer Festival") of Brian Bowen's "My Comfort and Strength" - Ron Harrison's sop. playing towards the end (again, presumably on an old, narrow-bore "Imperial" ?) just, "jaw-dropping" ... !

    I've got both of those on vinyl, needless to say, they're both getting bit worn by now ........

    Additionally, agree with everything that's been said about the Enfield "Kaleidoscope" recording; don't know who was playing Bass 'bone on it, but I do remember the first time I listened to it, got to the 'ff' block chords just after the start of the final 'allegro' section: had the hi-fi on a bit too loud - nearly jumped out of my skin! Unfortunately, it was around 2:00am, and the neighbours weren't too impressed ............

    Aaaahhh! Happy days........

  14. PeterBale

    PeterBale Moderator Staff Member

    Good thread, this one, that has sent me back to my collection to see if my memories match the reality of a more dispassionate listening!

    I would definitely endorse the Holy War/Christ is the Answer - doesn't it also have Eric Ball's "Magnificat" on it? Also the Enfield Australia lp.

    One or two that made an impact on me, partly due to the playing and, in retrospect, partly because of the repertoire:

    The Melbourne Staff Band centenary cd (1990). Two fine compositions by Brenton Broadstock ("Rutherford Variations" and "Meditation on Rapture"), Kenneth Downie's "Intrada on Regent Square", "Majesty" and the march "Choose Freedom" referred to in the other thread on SA pieces. Two first class solos ("Variants on St Francis" and Robert Redhead's "Life Abundant" - maybe not played with quite the panache Derrick Diffey brought to it, but a worthy effort none the less, with a first class side drum butting in). Two contrasting pieces by RSA - "O take me as I am" and "Chorale".

    All in all a thought-provoking programme played by a band on the peak of its form. Better I think than the band which visited for the congress in 1978 (memorably introducing Bob Redhead's "Quintessence") and a different band entirely to that which was a little disappointing in its tour in 2001.

    I also particularly liked the NYSB's "Hemispheres" (1996), largely because of the attractive programming, although many of the pieces are not really known this side of the Atlantic. The soloists play very well ("Longings" by Gordon Ward, "The Better World" by Aaron Vanderweele, and "The Guardian" by Vanda Spence) and the band show their versatility, moving between such repertoire as the big band style "England Swings", to Curnow's "The Great Salvation War" and Dean Goffin's majestic "Arise my soul, arise".

    I must say I've also got a soft spot for the two Canadian Staff Band lp recordings "Golden Slippers" and "The Gospel Train", possibly because they were just about the first recordings I bought after joining the Army, together with the ISB/Upper Norwood Songsters' "Sounds Triumphant".
  15. Razor

    Razor Member

    The Bass Trombone player on Kalaidascope was Stuart Horton. IMO, the master of bass bone playing within the SA. As far as I know the band at that time played a 3 man bone section - Mick Savage, Carl Sheperd and Stuart Horton.
  16. timjones

    timjones Member

    Best SA Band Recording

    While not actually a single recording, the compilation "New York Snapshots" by the NYSB makes for good listening
  17. Razor

    Razor Member

    In terms of 'live' solo performances captured on LP/TAPE/CD, I would put forward the following -

    Enfield - Song of the Eternal - 1977 - BM/SL Councils Festival(RAH)

    An absolute spine tingling performance of Les Condon's magnificent tone poem. So atmospheric and again, 'a band playing out it's skin'.

    ISB - Finale from Tchaikovsky 4 - 1992 - BM/SL Councils Festival(RAH)

    ISB under Robert Redhead when they were probably still fairly large in number. Very tight ensemble playing and dare I say it again a band playing out it's skin. Every section excels but particularly the bass section in their semi quaver work.

    Enfield - At the Edge of Time - 1993 - BM/SL Councils Festival(RAH)

    Another 'special' top drawer performance from Enfield. A reading of the highest standard. Huge sound in the latter part of the 1st movement. Unfortunately not all of the work made it on to the recording for some reason.

    ISB - Corpus Christi - 1994 - International Brass Spectacular(Toronto)

    For me 'the' definitive recording of Robert Redheads composition. Such a balanced, warm sound from the band. The opening solo line from solo horn, the wonderful sounds created by the tubas, David Daws gorgeous solo and the emotive conclusion to the piece - all top class. You can just feel the atmosphere the performance created that day.
  18. PeterBale

    PeterBale Moderator Staff Member

    It must have been just about the first recording Stuart did with the band, as prior to that he was playing euphonium (very well!) in the band with me at Cambridge Heath.

    Another one to add to the list of live performances for me would have to be Chalk Farm's Song of Courage from the 1990 congress, also released on their cd "Terra Beata". It really seems to capture the excitement and challenge of the piece better than any other version I've heard.
  19. Razor

    Razor Member

    And captured on video too! The sound quality of the video is a bit iffy though, unlike the latest WOB videos and DVD's which are excellent.
  20. Pondasher

    Pondasher Member

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