Best Performance - ever!!!!


tMP Founder
Staff member
OK, I've jumped on the bandwagon of Mr beard_4b in his best ever series, and thought about starting another interesting topic... - apologies if I have missed this elsewhere.

It'a all a matter of personal opinion and personal liking, and of what one has actually heard, but for me it is a choice of two.

Both Grimey....

1st playing New Jerusalem in National Finals in the RAH - and Alan knows about what I thought of his performance up in the rafters of the RAH as I have had the pleasure of talking to him about it.

2nd playing one of the best competition pieces ever written for brass band in my opinion - Harmony Music - at the Barbican in the year in which they did not qualify for the Finals. For me, a fantastic performance. I also believe the composer - Philip Sparke - was at that performance.

I'm sure you all have other opinions...let's hear them then... :)


I know its late and I'm off to bed in a sec, but I think this is a really good thread that could cover a few decades and many many contests.
Could I ask politely if you want to nominate a performance, then please go into a few details about the piece, circumstances, players, solos etc. It makes much more interesting reading for eveyone!
Thanks. Mark.


Active Member
I'll always remember YBS Dances and Arias at the Masters some five years ago. There was so much concern for light and shade and so much precision in the ensemble. But this year's Open on the Planets was up there with the great performances too.

My other favourite was Faireys on Devil and the Deep Blue Sea at the Albert Hall. The flugel solo was simply magical.

And I agree with MM about Grimley's New Jerusalem - from Alan Morrison's first notes from on high, that one was alwasy going to be a winner. And Aidan's choice as also pretty spectacular - the last movement of Dragon in Cardiff was so fast yet crystal clear - so exciting.



Active Member
For me it has to be Desford's performance at the areas when Variation on an Enigma was the test piece. Simply mind blowing.


Active Member
ok ive got 2 too!! Both Black Dyke. from what ive seen (cos i only go to concerts in manchester)

1. was a open rehearsal they had at the RNCM playing Albion before the nationals twas amazing!!!

2. i think it was the premier of call of the cossacks at the plaza theatre in stockport we played two pices with them then they did the rest of the concert peter graham conducted call of the cossacks and it was brilliant!


Perfect performances

I know I'd be slightly biased but my favourite or perfect performances were:-

Pagentry at the Masters when we won. Phillip McCann was playing top man and I've never heard anyone else get anywhere near his solo playing in the second movement. As for the rest of the piece it was tight, light and shade everywhere and got a buzz about the performance from about half way through. Its my favourite recording of the piece.

On Alderley Edge in 1997 when the band won its first National for many years. I remember Jim Davies playing fantastic stuff on top man and I'll never forget Matthew Gledhill standing up and playing from memory the rep bit near the end. It was another performance which was absolutely electric.

As for non B&R I think the performance of Devil and the Deep Blue Sea by Faireys is absolutely fantastic, the breadth of the band sound and fantastic technique everywhere. Its a shame that it hasn't been used as a test piece more often.


Staff member
Can't limit it to one "best ever", I'm afraid, but here goes with some notable experiences:

1. Black Dyke under James Watson (his last concert with them, at the Royal Academy of Music). Two outstanding performances - Bob Childs playing the Horowitz concerto, and a magical Dove Descending - fantastic soprano playing on a very emotional evening.

2. Eikanger playing the Bourgeois Concerto Grosso at the Europeans in Birmingham. For me, even more exciting than the YBS performances of the last two years.

3. More of a magical moment, this one: Peter Roberts, with YBS at the Open on Les Preludes, finshing one of his runs with a beautifully clear top E.

4. Almost forgot this one: Melbourne Staff Band in Swansea, 1978 or 9, playing Bob Redhead's Quintessence - first time I'd heard it, and made a deep impression, particularly the quiet central section.


Well I can't beleive that no-one has mentioned Williams Fairey's performance of Devil And The Deep Blue Sea at the National Finals in 1993. Quite simply the best live performance from a brass band ever.

It was the right musicians in the right band at the right time and I can't see there being a band to match it in the near future. The balance, the wholesome sound and technical ability of that band just took your breath away. Mind blowing!!!

Anyone agree?
Best performance - ever

In 1992, Grimethorpe did a Friday evening concert in the Queen Elizabeth Hall, London.
It was a kind of fund-raising, publicity concert due to the closure of the pit.
I guess that band were fighting for survival then.

The programme they chose was huge!
Interspersed with the main items were new, short compositions by composers who had been associated with the band over the years.
The first half featured several different conductors but the second half was conducted by Elgar Howarth.

The final piece was Alexander Owens selection from Wagners' Die Walkure.
I've always been a fan of Wagners music but this was something else.
The selection lasts 30 minutes which, although short in Wagnerian terms, is pretty lengthy for a band piece. Anyway, Grimethorpes performance was utterly incredible especially at the end of such a big concert. I could not believe that a band could play like that! The intensity, passion, energy and stamina was something I'd not experienced before from a brass band. This performance literally brought me to tears and I can even feel them now as I type this!
If you haven't heard this particular selection, I urge you to get a copy of 'A Night at the Opera' by Grimethorpe although I'd pay big money for a recording of that concert!

I would be interested to know if there were any other tMP'ers at this concert. Hopefully they agree with me!


I have three

1. Masquerade - Faireys and Peter Parkes - British Open 1993
2. Contest Music - Black Dyke and Peter Parkes - European 1986
3. Cloudcatcher Fells - Black Dyke and Peter Parkes - Nationals 1985 (I think)


Active Member
A few, in no particular order:

- Year of the Dragon: Faireys under Sian Edwards @ the RNCM 2002
Never heard this in a contest environment before and because it was a concert rather than contest, the pressure was off Faireys. Nick Hudson was awesome in the 2nd movement

- Heatons Concertante for Cornet: soloist Martin Winter with Faireys @ the RNCM 2001
Unbelievable player - 25 minute concerto and for about ten minutes, the cornet did not leave his lips. Amazing stamina and technique

- Les Preludes: YBS @ the Open 2001
Wow! Not flawless but the slips did not matter because the whole approach was mind blowing. You could feel the buzz around the hall, particularly during the last movement.

- Pageantry: YBS @ the Masters 2001
Drawn last and it was just fantastic - they came 2nd! Some people didn't like it because a euph played baritone part at the start of the 2nd movement ?!?! How trivial is that!!! I was more interested in the other 15 amazing minutes!

- Laudate Dominum: Dyke at the RNCM 2001
Grew up hearing this piece played by both lousy and half decent SA bands, then hearing Dyke play it was something else. Really suited their tuba section! Edward Gregson wrote it for his brother and his band...both brothers were there..which give it that little bit of edge.

Rothwell Temps


Brussels Euro Champs 2002

The atmosphere in the Palais Deux Arts was fantastic and YBS performance of Chain was just amazing the whole audience was riveted by it.

Follow that if you can well YBS did with another riveting 20 odd minutes with Concerto Grosso

Two of the greatest performances ever in the space of one day



Active Member
I wasn't there at that particular concert Carl, but I did have the pleasure of hearing Grimethorpe play a very similar programme in Suffolk. The Wagner was just out of this world, and I agree with you totally about the cd. It was well worth nicking off my dad :twisted: :twisted:


Active Member
Here's just a few for me;

Fairey's Devil and the Deep Blue Sea
Grimey's New Jerusalem
Foden's Year of the Dragon
Black Dyke:- Bartered Bride Overture in Blackpool, about 1983, never heard any band manage to get it perfect live since. (although Faireys do on their Berlioz CD)
YBS Blitz the year they didn't win the Europeans (how?)
Leyland and the Royal Marines "The Gael"
YBS playing the Symphonic Dances from 'West Side Story' at the Guild hall in Preston, the loud bits were excellent, but the 'Somewhere' at ppp, whole band playing at a perfect whisper, balance spot on, unbelievable. Doesn't have to be loud to be impressive!
NYBB+organ - Suite Gothique
and - Fairey's basses doing the "Dance of the Sugar-Plum Fairy" at Spennymoor, in tutu's! Deserves a mention just for having the sheer balls to do it!

Product tMP members are discussing