The playing is again shared between Black Dyke and the ISB and is another worthy addition to the Heaton anthology (SP&S 198 CD). The most remarkable pieces are those performed by Dyke, who do so quite magnificently. With this level of concentration the performances lift one to a realm not normally associated with brass bands. The “Five Little Pieces” and Trombone Concerto (superbly played by Brett Baker) are what used to be called third programme music and I think these are the only performances I’m likely to hear. While they are tremendous contributions to the band repertoire, the orchestral originals might have given them wider acceptance — if only Heaton had had the support of a good publisher’s promotion department. The ISB’s contributions are somewhat lighter with the chorale prelude “French”, the cornet solo “Annie Laurie”, and “Beulah Land”. All are unmistakably Heaton in more SA mode. Kevin Ashman nails the difficult solo but the piece is a bit of a curate’s egg. (Did I hear a little desperation in the upper cornet accompaniment a couple of times?) The final piece is entertaining and quite classy. These are both distinctly fine bands that sound different from one another, as might be expected. I found them mercifully free of the frenzied vibrato that mars so many good bands these days. Paul Hindmarsh’s informative booklet notes are well worth reading. The Doyen recording team produces a much better balance than one sometimes hears from Morley Town Hall. As usual, B&H Sound have recorded the ISB in London’s Henry Wood Hall. Is it my imagination, or has the hall’s acoustic been altered (more reverberant) to match the Dyke tracks? If you want an introduction to Heaton’s music, I’d recommend starting with volumes 1 & 2 (a double album) in the series. Now I’m looking forward to vol. 4, which I hope will include the highly-praised Variations for Band, which I’ve yet to hear, and the extraordinary cornet Sinfonia Concertante.