Grimethorpe/Howarth tHoBBM, 2

Discussion in ' User Reviews' started by Brian Bowen, Oct 28, 2004.

  1. Brian Bowen

    Brian Bowen Active Member

    Mention of “The History of Brass Band Music — The Salvation Army Connection” cd has been made a number of times on tMP and I would like to add my endorsement. The accompanying booklet contains very informative and scholarly notes by Dr Ron Holz that help to place each piece in context. As Peter Bale said in his excellent review on 4barsrest, Elgar Howarth gives the music room to breathe. No attempt is made to show off the band at the expense of the music, as may sometimes be the case on recordings, yet the playing of Grimethorpe is truly impressive. Thank goodness the SA relaxed it’s old rules prohibiting non-SA bands from playing its music. As clearly evidenced here, such music benefits from the insights of those who bring a fresh approach.

    I thought “The Holy War” (Steadman-Allen) was not as exciting as some recordings, but it has the integrity that shines through all of Howarth’s direction on this CD. The Concertino for Band and Trombone (Leidzen) brings out aspects sometimes overlooked: take, e.g., the band’s production of the forte-pianos at the beginning — they’re very classy, as is Dudley Bright throughout.

    The one piece that sits at a different angle from the others is “Covenant”, where apparently composer Bruce Broughton wants to play down its gospel connection. It is, however, definitely an American treatment of an American gospel song and this performance is the finest I’ve heard.

    The engineering is excellent, especially for taming the acoustic of Morley Town Hall, though in the Concertino the band sounds rather spread out.

    Having played in the first performances (and live RAH commercial recordings) of “The Holy War” and “The Present Age” I feel privileged to have participated in what is now acknowledged as part of the history of brass band music.
  2. brassneck

    brassneck Active Member

    ... I will be buying this CD in the near future with a couple of other band ones. Mate who bought this when released enjoyed the music expressed by Elgar Howarth through Grimey but thought the standard of recording wasn't nearly as good as the SA have produced in the past. That I can't make much comment about because I haven't bought SA albums regularly over the years as he has. :-?