CD: The Alchymist's Journal, Leyland Band


Staff member
I've received my copy of Leyland's latest recording this week, and have to say it is well up to expectations, even if it didn't quite have the impact on me that East Coast Pictures had.

Knowing the works by Nigel Hess in their wind orchestra versions, it is interesting to hear how Philip Littlemore (who is responsible for many of the arrangements) has dealt with the different tone colours available. For those who don't know the music of Nigel Hess, he is best known for his TV theme tunes and incidental music, and his music is very approachable.

The disc is ful of good stuff, not least James Gourlay's rendition of the Vaughan Williams tuba concerto - this version seems even more sprightly and relaxed than his recent version with Grimethorpe, and the accompaniment is very idiomatically scored. As for his sound in the Romanza it makes me wonder why I bother!

The programme is wide-ranging, including a number of items recorded for the first time, particularly Simon Dobson's prize-winning "Four Sketches - Homage to Benjamin Britten". The band has also shown a willingness to explore different genres, with "RPM" and "Headbanger" both being quite unusual, but well worth exploring.

I recommend this to anyone interested in new music that is entertaining as well as challenging in its own way, and congratulate all those tMPers involved!

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