Top Ten Brass Band CDs of All Time

Discussion in 'The Rehearsal Room' started by pagliacci, Jun 30, 2009.

  1. pagliacci

    pagliacci Member

    What are your top ten favourite brass band CDs that you find yourself coming back to again and again?

    My first attempt (I reserve the right to change my list as you remind about appalling omissions/oversights in my list!):

    1. Blitz, Black Dyke (Chandos) (wasn't this the one of the very first brass band cds? Blitz, Tam O'Shanter, Journey into Freedom, Pageantry etc., a tough act to follow!);
    2. Classic Brass, Grimethorpe (EMI) (fantastic over all programme, breathtaking playing and tempi, opens with the Florentiner and gets better; was as toss up between this and Let's Face the Music & Dance on GCB label);
    3. Classic Brass, Black Dyke (Chandos) (the Plantagenets!);
    4. The Essence of Time, Black Dyke (Polyphonic) (Pondashers, Essence of Time, Toccata - Oh The Blessed Lord etc.);
    5. Europeans 2004, YBS & Various (Doyen) (inc. the awesome live Flowerdale with Peter Roberts);
    6. The Complete Champions, Black Dyke (Chandos) (Contest Music & Royal Parks on one disc!; difficult to choose this vs. the many other cracking Dyke/Chandos CDs);
    7. Brass Band Classics Vol 2, BAYV (Doyen) (Epic Symphony, Roi D'Ys, Les Preludes etc.; I love this series, almost put all four volumes in my list and wish there were more to come);
    8. Wagner, Grimethorpe (Doyen) (Wagner and Brass Bands, what more could you ask for?!);
    9. Paganini Variations, Grimethorpe (Doyen) (Ravenswood, Ruby Tuesday, Paganini Variations etc.);
    10. National Brass Band Festival 1988, Various (Polyphonic) (starts with Candide Overture which won me over and I keep coming back to it).

    Not necessarily in that order. Criticising my own list (i) if it's got the words 'Classic' and 'Brass' in it, it seems to be a winner, (ii) other bands deserve to be represented - too much Dyke and Grimey (Sun Life, Fodens, Brighouse will make an appearance when I think again I'm sure!); (iii) should be more polyphonic recordings represented, and finally, (iv) I should have one of the History of Brass Band Music or Master Brass series on here, but just couldn't choose between them!

    But the great thing is that I'm going to have to listen again to some great recordings in my collection to see where I went wrong. And I had good fun putting this together.

    Enjoy pulling it to pieces!
  2. westoe_horn

    westoe_horn Member

    Difficult to choose 10 but some of my favourites are.....

    Music for Battle Creek - fantastic BD recording of some of Philip Sparke's recent music
    Music of the Spheres - YBS, with a great recording of the title track and Tristan Encounters
    Essays for Brass series - YBS
    Complete Champions - BD
    A Golden Year - BD, 5 great test pieces, and finally......
    Voice of the Tenor Horn - amazing!!

    I'm sure to have missed some of my favourites but but that will do for time being!!
  3. HornMaster

    HornMaster Member

    I would have to go with (not necessarily in order):

    Double Champions - Faireys
    Music of the Spheres - YBS
    Patrons Choice II - Fodens
    The Essence of Time - Black Dyke
    Diamond Jubilee - Faireys
    Tour of Sweden - Faireys
    The Year of The Dragon - Fodens (then Britannia BS)
    Untold Stories - Owen Farr & Cory
    Walking With Heroes - Black Dyke
    Europeans 1995 - Both the contest highlights and the Gala Concert are fantastic

    Some of my newer CD's haven't been listened to enough yet for me to be able to include them on my list and I'm sure I may have forgotten one or two as well.
  4. Jan H

    Jan H Moderator Staff Member

    My 5 all-time favorites are:

    The Essence of Time (BD)
    Double Champions (Faireys)
    Cry of the Celts (YBS)
    Tales & Stories (Eikanger-Bjorsvik)
    The Year of the Dragon (Fodens/BBS)

    To complete the top 10:

    Live & Light (Stavanger)
    Enigma (Faireys)
    Pictures at an Exhibition (Fodens/BBS)
    From Sonnets to Jazz (Grimethorpe)
    Brassed Off! (Grimethorpe)

    I also seem to like a lot of the late 80's/early 90s recordings (Desford, Rigid Containers, Sun Life, ...)
  5. KMJ Recordings

    KMJ Recordings Supporting Member

    Don't listen to 'em ;)
  6. FlugelD

    FlugelD Member

    Haven't got 10....:biggrin:

    But 'Brass from the Masters II' by Grimey is up there...

    (Just behind CDs by Deep Purple, Jethro Tull, and the Beatles...:clap: )
  7. James Yelland

    James Yelland Active Member


    Worth a shout purely for Seascapes, a criminally neglected work - but spoiled by a less than impressive performance of Wright's Cornet Concerto.

    But you have missed the best- From Sonnets to Jazz (Grimethorpe on Chandos). Peter Parkes at his finest, the most sensitive reading of what I think is Philip Wilby's best work for band (Unholy Sonnets), a reading of Epic Symphony which transformed my view of the piece from Brown Music to Great Old Classic - and fabulous renditions of four other contemporary pieces (John McCabe, Thomas Wilson, Howard Snell and more Wilby) which make up a just fantastic CD. Superb sound quality, and last time I looked it was available for a knockdown price of about five quid.

    I think I may have said all this before in other threads, ad infinitum.
  8. ghost

    ghost Member

    You and I share exactly the same tastes in Brass Band Music. The glove compartment in my car is full of these very CD's - even my staff at work have ended up liking some of it when they use my car!!!

    I would also add that great Brian Evans solo CD (Dedication - I think it is called), and the Famous Manchester CWS CD Volume 1 (I think) - the one where Derek Garside plays Cleopatra and they do the Force of Destiny.

    We are lucky Frank Wright arranged so many great works for Brass Band - otherwise Cory would have been missing loads of their choices in that great Classics series!
  9. Kjata

    Kjata Member

    All of richard marshall's!!!
    Most of dykes in any order but with complete champions at the front!!
  10. pagliacci

    pagliacci Member

    Well at least my choices haven't been shot down and thanks for the endorsement Ghost, you obviously have great taste too!

    Not sure about the Deep Purple being Brass Band FlugelD, though I guess Deep Purple and a BBb bass could both be classed as 'heavy metal'. How about an arrangement of 'Smoke on the Water' for brass band though, with the bass section doing the opening chords, hmmmm........(oh, no, I've just seen there are two wind band arrangements!)

    Complete Champions seems to be the least controversial so far; it's a great cd indeed.

    And thanks for the two suggestions of from "From Sonnets to Jazz", I already have it, but will make sure it's on the portable player so I can give it a proper audition a few times on the way to work to see if it bumps any of the others off my top ten.
  11. brassbandmaestro

    brassbandmaestro Active Member

    McCabe is on brilliant cd by Briittania BS Band, as it was then known as.
  12. Tam O Shanter

    Tam O Shanter Member

    1. Fairey - Works of Berlioz (the playing is phenomenal)
    2 & 3. Fairey - Vinter Vol 1 and 2 (fantastic to get all these pieces recorded and so well played)
    4. BBC Festival of Brass 1991 - (the first time I'd heard Sounds by Golland and still my favourite version of it)
    5. Dyke - Complete Champions ("Contest Music" - grand).
    6. YBS - Essays for Brass Vol 1 ("Just as I am" is beautiful)
    7. Fairey - Brass from the Masters Vol 1 (lovely playing, lovely pieces!).
    8. Dyke - George Lloyd Music for Brass
    9. Grimethorpe - Paganini Variations (very fine playing and a varied selection of music)
    10. ISB - Blazon (slipped a double CD in at No. 10! Sometimes you just can't beat the ISB).
  13. brassbandmaestro

    brassbandmaestro Active Member

    I don't think that anyone has mentioned the brilliant recordings that Dyke and the ISB have done of Wilfred Heaton's music.
  14. Tam O Shanter

    Tam O Shanter Member

    I did consider them, but I couldn't fit them into my top 10 unless I treated them all as 1. I think the fact that the series is a complete recording of all his works is fantastic, but I prefer other versions of some of the tracks.

    All in all, a fantastic contribution though - well overdue.
  15. brassneck

    brassneck Active Member

    This is always going to be a difficult choice to make (as it is so subjective) but the way I would approach it would be to ask myself which 10 CDs would I use to introduce banding to someone? I would definitely include Dyke's The Planets, Britannia's Pines Of Rome & Battle Creeks' Brazzmatazz offerings. I could play those at any time and still personally enjoy them without too much fuss!
  16. simonium

    simonium Member

    My favourites in no particular order...

    This was difficult, but the idea of it convinced me to register...

    Here goes...

    Legacy - Sun Life Stanshawe - only the Spectrum CD because of Lyndon Baglin in his pomp - majestic euphonium playing.

    Complete Champions - Black Dyke - astonishing playing especially when you consider the whole album was recorded in 2 days. It seems to me most modern CDs are recorded over a period of months, so to record an album of this consistent brilliance in a weekend - breathtaking.

    Double Champions - Williams Fairey - again sublime playing and my first CD featuring substantial works. The first hearing of Masquerade will stay with me a long time.

    Music Of The Spheres - YBS - unadulterated excellence.

    The Essence Of Time - Black Dyke - phenomenal sounding band and oustanding track listing. Worth buying for the title track and Morgan Griffiths' Carnival Of Venice alone.

    Audacious - Steven Mead - gobsmacking modern euphonium playing.

    Gregson Volume One - Desford - 3 substantial works conducted by the composer and played superbly.

    Le Roi d'Ys - Sun Life - Another Baglin CD - a masterclass in euphonium sound and a substantial but not unpalatable track list.

    Festival Of Brass 1991 - Various - A brilliant recording of Sounds.

    Those are my clear favourites but the next tier down will need some sorting!
  17. Bayerd

    Bayerd Active Member

    Where did you get the idea that CDs took months to record? AFAIK all the brass band ones are done over the course of a weekend. It's the only way they can make money.

    Secondly, you guys have over 10 brass band CDs? Wow.....
  18. PeterBale

    PeterBale Moderator Staff Member

    It does seem to vary, with some issues containing tracks laid down over a period. I believe that when David King and YBS were together, they had a number of recording projects going on at the same time, rather than a couple of days earmarked for a particular release.
  19. simonium

    simonium Member

    I entertained the notion that some CDs take months to record by looking at the sleeve notes actually. For example Music Of The Spheres by YBS says "19-21st March 2004, 2-4th July 2004 and 12th September". Vienna Nights by Black Dyke says "recorded at Morley Town Hall during November and December 2006". Blitz by contrast was recorded on 27 and 28 February 1982. Admittedly there is probably 20 minutes more material on the newer CDs to take advantage of the format so there is that to take into account.
  20. brass_master99

    brass_master99 New Member

    My absoloute favourite 2 have to be these:

    An Evening with Brighouse and Rastrick Band Brighouse and Rastrick
    Introduction Yorkshire Building Society Band

    Then some other good ones are:
    Paganini Variations Grimethorpe Colliery Band
    The Complete Champions Black Dyke Band