RNCM Festival of Brass 2011

Discussion in 'The Rehearsal Room' started by jockinafrock, Jan 30, 2011.

  1. jockinafrock

    jockinafrock Active Member

    Haven't been to listen to any of the other featured bands, but as a staunch follower of Fodens I thought their concert was awesome! :clap:
    From the opening march 'Cossack' to the finishing 'William Tell' encore it was stunning. Glyn Williams' playing and singing in Andy Scott's new Euphonium concerto was mind-blowing - what a fiendishly difficult piece! I loved Peter Meechan's piece written in tribute to the Hillsborough disaster - Here are 2 young composers whose compositions I can't wait to hear featured more as test pieces
    Pooley was on fire on Sop who I'm sure will soon be a brass-banding household name :clap: and Wilky once again showed why he is one of the most rock-solid principal cornets around.
    Jim Gourlay's interpretations were a breath of fresh air, and Epic Symphony was my piece of the night - thank you Fodens and Jim, and also Paul Hindmarsh for another great evening!
  2. protrumpet

    protrumpet New Member

    Yeah, totally agree! Fodens were totally ace!
  3. Anno Draconis

    Anno Draconis Well-Known Member

    I've been a proper BOC this weekend :oops:

    Leyland, Faireys and Cory yesterday: Well done to Lucy Pankhurst, who won the John Golland award for Alchemists Fire, and commiserations to forum members David, Benn and Huw for missing out. Leyland's two Dobson pieces were great and their reprise of Midnight from Brass in Concert was impressive. From Cory's programme I thought Chris Thomas's performance of Derek Bourgeois' Concerto was great, and I also enjoyed Men of Stone.

    This morning I saw the RNCM band and ensemble - enjoyed Gary Carpernter's ensemble piece, and Ben Tubb's Blizzard was awesome.

    However, the best concert for me, not just this weekend but possibly ever, was the Venezualan brass ensemble. Truly awesome. And here's the thing...

    Unlike some of the brass band players this weekend, they looked as if they genuinely loved every single minute of their concert. I'm afraid that some of the brass band members this weekend didn't brim with visible enthusiasm - faces like Easter Island statues. This afternoon's concert was a genuinely emotional experience. Having lost my musical faith a bit, today was one of those road-to-Damascus moments. Astonishingly good. If you weren't there, find an opportunity to see them somehow.
  4. PeterBale

    PeterBale Moderator Staff Member

    Off to the Royal Festival Hall on Tuesday night - looking forward to it ;)
  5. Dave Payn

    Dave Payn Active Member

    Heard VBE at the Proms a few years ago - they stepped in as last minute replacements. Awesome then, so no surprise they're getting the plaudits today. It's just a shame I can't get to see them :-( Still, they have a DVD out (which I believe, has many of the pieces they played today) called Gran Fanfaria. Well worth getting for their performance of Pictures at an Exhibition alone in which they even manage to surpass the PJBE's recording, IMO.
    Last edited: Jan 30, 2011
  6. nigeb12

    nigeb12 Member

    Have to agree. VBE were tremendous. What a trumpet section!
  7. Brassbones

    Brassbones Member

    This is a very well made point, and I have to confess I am one of the worst offenders if pictures of our band in action are anything to go by! I don't know how others feel but personally it's not that I'm miserable or not enjoying myself (usually!). It's just that I see it as very important to get my contribution right and am often too busy concentrating to remember that I'm being watched! Unfortunately I also have the natural expression of being impaled with a hot iron whenever I'm actually blowing!!! Ah well ...

    We should all make great efforts to remember our stage presence and try to crack the occasional grin. I dont know if we'll ever match the joie de vivre of your average Venezuelan but any improvement can only be a good thing.
  8. However, the best concert for me, not just this weekend but possibly ever, was the Venezualan brass ensemble. Truly awesome.

    Totally agree. It was inspiring. The only problem is..........I never want to hear an ordinary brass band concert again.
    This is a real benchmark.
  9. Bob Sherunkle

    Bob Sherunkle Active Member

    Dear Paul

    We will certainly have our work cut out trying to emulate our South American chums.

    This is the saddest venezualan I could find on a quick Google images search.

    View attachment sad.doc


  10. Did anyone hear Grimethorpe?
  11. Red Elvis

    Red Elvis Active Member

    The VBE , like the Simon Bolivar orchestra ( which are currently touring the UK as well I believe ) are products of a very enlightened and progressive programme of musical education that has flourished under the presidency of Hugo Chavez in Venezuela , although in the interests of impartiality this was in place prior to his election.

    See more here:http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/El_Sistema
  12. E flat fred

    E flat fred Member

    yes they were just brilliant.
    I would say the best Brass Band of the weekend.
    Very emotional
  13. Coverhead

    Coverhead Member

    Having heard every concert (except the VBE :() I thought that Fodens put on the best programme. As jockinafrock has already mentioned, Peter Meechan's 'Epitaph for Hillsborough' was a particular highlight... a very emotive and well written piece :clap:
  14. James Yelland

    James Yelland Active Member

    Another fine weekend of music making indeed. Foden's were indeed very good - Peter Meechan's Epitaph for Hillsborough was very moving, and the performance of Sea Pictures sublime. I just love that enigmatic ending.

    Elsewhere, I much enjoyed Andrew Ford's short work in Dyke's performance, although I thought their rendition of Blitz a bit below par in places. The artist known as My Son David was tip-top as usual during Cory's programme; I'm sure Chris Thomas was also first class in the Bourgeois concerto, and I could see he was working hard, but despite being in his firing line much of what he was playing was drowned out by over-loud accompaniment.

    The two youth bands gave an assured performance of 5 substantial works on the Sunday morning (130 players, all in tune - fantastic!). Grimethorpe's rendition of the Concerto No. 1 and John Golland's Aria were both excellent, although Peter Meechan's new concert work for tuba didn't excite me as much as I was hoping. And I really could have done without the late changes to the programme.

    The RNCM band and ensembles were, I thought, a bit below par this time, which was unusual. Still difficult, that Bourgeois Concerto Grosso. Mark Harrison as trumpet soloist was top class though.

    Which brings me to the Leyland Band - in my book, the best overall band programme for the third year running. Some gorgeous quiet playing, and three highly original works in "..and when the river told..", Macbeth, and Lucy Pankhurst's Midnight. If there is anyone from Leyland reading this - is there any chance of you getting some of this repertoire committed to a commercial recording? It really does need to be done.

    And the there was the VBE. Wow, wow and thrice wow, as Frankie Howerd might have said. What a sound. What virtuosity. What FUN!! And if anyone saw Caracas brass open the festival on the Friday evening, what was that funny little instrument they were playing that looked like a toy French horn?

    I thought the speed with which the winner of the John Golland prize was announced was a bit rum. Paul Hindmarsh, one of the three judges, admitted that he had not heard all the pieces before their performance that morning. So for the panel to come up with a winner within about 3 minutes of the last note being played seemed unduly hasty. I thought the five entrants deserved better than that - especially after having heard the pieces.

    The interview with Derek Bourgeois was not as informative as it could have been. The question I really wanted to ask was "why are you wearing those strange stripey trousers?" but I thought it might seem rude.

    Also, I notice that the festival programme is continuing the tradition of providing misleading information about his Concerto Grosso. It was the programme notes on the Royal Concertgebouw Brass's CD which first said that this piece was premiered at the PJBE's farewell concert in 1989. Alternatively, according to the festival programme, it was first performed at the farewell concert in October 1981, conducted by the composer. I was at the PJBE farewell concert. It was on 8th June 1986. They didn't perform the Concerto Grosso and Mr B wasn't on stage. Even if Dr Alzheimer had intervened in the 25 years since then, I 've still got the concert programme to prove it!
    Last edited: Jan 31, 2011
  15. Brassbones

    Brassbones Member

    Not much different than us in the band then!!! lol
  16. Dave Payn

    Dave Payn Active Member

    I can vouch for this. I wasn't at the farewell PJBE concert but it was broadcast on the radio - and I still have the tape I made (oops) lurking about somewhere - there was no Concerto Grosso and it was on 8th June 1986 (perhaps someone, somewhere could commemorate the fact that this year is the 25th anniversary of the PJBE's last concert and the 60th anniversary of their formation)
  17. Bob Sherunkle

    Bob Sherunkle Active Member

    Grimethorpe's rendition of the Concerto No. 1 and John Golland's Aria were both excellent, although Peter Meechan's new concert work for tuba didn't excite me as much as I was hoping. And I really could have done without the late changes to the programme.

    I trust that they didn't remove Clog Dance
  18. E flat fred

    E flat fred Member

    I did not notice any changes to the programme I purchased for the whole weekend. £3-00p very good value
  19. James Yelland

    James Yelland Active Member

    When I say late, I mean after I bought my ticket for the concert (although not too late for the festival brochure to be altered). We were to have heard a dance suite from Prokofiev's Romeo and Juliet.
  20. QAD

    QAD Member

    Just having the exposure of 10 minutes in front of such a large and experienced audience was enough of a prize for me James. But well done to Lucy and the other shortlisted composers, what a great forum. Huge thanks to the band as well!
    After a long period away from writing for Brass Bands it's certainly rekindled my enthusiam, mind you if something like this had been around for Brass Band music ten years ago I probably wouldn't have stopped for so long. Hope you enjoyed the piece.

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