(CD) Highlights from the European Brass Band Championships 2019

(CD) Highlights from the European Brass Band Championships 2019

Featured bands include: 

Eikhanger-Bjorsvik Musiklag. Cory Band, Brass Band Burgermusik Luzern,  Paris Brass Band,  Brighouse & Rastrick, Valaisia Brass Band, Brass Band Regensburg, Wardle Academy Youth Band, Catch Basin Brass Band, BMI Talents and the European Youth Brass Band.

World of Brass Recording: DOY  CD394

This double album of highlights from the European Brass Band Championships features performances by ten bands. CD1 opens in a celebratory fashion by Valaisia Brass Band, conducted by Arsene Duc, with a bracing premiere performance of Damien Lagger’s Euroflash.

In contrast, the set test Dear Cassandra, composed by Ludovic Neurohr, follows. Performed by Eikanger -Bjorsvik Musikklag, conducted by Bertrand Moren, the three-movement work, played continuously has an unusual style and along with a fearsome technical test makes the work a tour-de-force. But, will the lack of melodic phrase and a change of musical direction be accepted, or will the score and parts be put on the top shelf of libraries and forgotten? What is clear, with excellent soloists, control of dynamics and stamina throughout, the band delivered a very fine performance that won the set test section.

The European Youth Brass Band convened one week before the contest itself and under the direction of Bertrand Moren, is featured three times on the album. Firstly, we hear Bertrand Moren’s arrangement of Adam Hudec’s Virtuoso Kumpane, a delightful toe-tapping piece which is lots of fun. Secondly, they entertain with Jack Cortner’s arrangement of Duke Ellington’s It Don’t Mean a Thing, along with trumpet player Patrick Ottiger, who wowed the audience with his rendition of this popular item. Thirdly, the band appropriately produce a spirited account of Relaxation from Gilbert Vinter’s Salute to Youth.

Germany’s Brass Band Regensburg under English MD Dave Lea took the Challenge Section title with a quality performance of the set test, Mario Burki’s Terezin. The music paints a vivid picture of a fortress that became a prison and later a Nazi concentration camp, and their performance captures the drama and emotional core of the music.

In the own choice section, Paul McGhee’s King Kong on Rue Igor Stravinsky was the choice pf Brass Band Burgermusik Luzern. The work is an exercise in colour, texture and sonority and conducted by Michael Bach. Their virtuosic performance earned them second place in this section of the contest.

In the own choice section, Cory was the only band to unveil a brand-new piece with Explorers on the Moon by Paul Raphael (aka Philip Harper). A sequel to his earlier composition Destination Moon, the work is clearly written to Cory’s strengths with the atmosphere, technique, flair and solo work being particularly outstanding. Cory finished fourth in the set test, but the stunning performance propelled them to overall victory.

Nine bands participated in the European Youth contest, each presenting a programme of music including a set test. The Development Section set test, Stephen Hodel’s Argos is full of dynamic contrasts and varying styles which Wardle Academy Youth Band directed by Lee Rigg, accomplished with ease. Producing an excellent performance that secured them the Development Section title for the second consecutive year.

In the Youth Premier Section Austria’s Catch Basin Brass Band conducted by Andreas Lackner won its first-ever contest victory courtesy of an impressive and mature performance of the set test, Daniel Hall’s, Sanctuary.

Swiss representative, BML Talents under the baton of Patrick Ottiger, chose their trombone soloist Manuel Zemp who delivered an outstanding and mature performance of Arthur Pryor’s Thoughts of Love, that earned him the best solo prize in the Youth Premier Section.

Philip Sparke’s Music of the Spheres was a game-changer when written. The difficulties are still there but Paris Brass Band, directed by Florent Didier surmounted them with consummate ease to produce a virtuosi account. Full of impressive ensemble work along with quality soloists that fully deserved their second place overall.

Completing these highlights are three further contributions by Valaisia Brass Band conducted by Arsene Duc. Firstly, Ray Farr’s arrangement of the Finale of Stravinsky’s The Firebird, next we have the premiere performance of Tom Davoren’s Valaisia Variants and thirdly Arsene Duc leads the mass bands of the Finale of Gregor Grant’s arrangement of Rossini’s William Tell Overture. Needless to say, these three items featured in the Gala Concert and were performed to a high standard. The audience appreciation brought this excellent album to a fitting close.

Tracks: 

This double album of highlights from the European Brass Band Championships features performances by ten bands. CD1 opens in a celebratory fashion by Valaisia Brass Band, conducted by Arsene Duc, with a bracing premiere performance of Damien Lagger’s Euroflash.

In contrast, the set test Dear Cassandra, composed by Ludovic Neurohr, follows. Performed by Eikanger -Bjorsvik Musikklag, conducted by Bertrand Moren, the three-movement work, played continuously has an unusual style and along with a fearsome technical test makes the work a tour-de-force. But, will the lack of melodic phrase and a change of musical direction be accepted, or will the score and parts be put on the top shelf of libraries and forgotten? What is clear, with excellent soloists, control of dynamics and stamina throughout, the band delivered a very fine performance that won the set test section.

The European Youth Brass Band convened one week before the contest itself and under the direction of Bertrand Moren, is featured three times on the album. Firstly, we hear Bertrand Moren’s arrangement of Adam Hudec’s Virtuoso Kumpane, a delightful toe-tapping piece which is lots of fun. Secondly, they entertain with Jack Cortner’s arrangement of Duke Ellington’s It Don’t Mean a Thing, along with trumpet player Patrick Ottiger, who wowed the audience with his rendition of this popular item.   Thirdly, the band appropriately produce a spirited account of Relaxation from Gilbert Vinter’s Salute to Youth.

Germany’s Brass Band Regensburg under English MD Dave Lea took the Challenge Section title with a quality performance of the set test, Mario Burki’s Terezin. The music paints a vivid picture of a fortress that became a prison and later a Nazi concentration camp, and their performance captures the drama and emotional core of the music.

In the own choice section, Paul McGhee’s King Kong on Rue Igor Stravinsky was the choice pf Brass Band Burgermusik Luzern. The work is an exercise in colour, texture and sonority and conducted by Michael Bach. Their virtuosic performance earned them second place in this section of the contest.

In the own choice section, Cory was the only band to unveil a brand-new piece with Explorers on the Moon by Paul Raphael (aka Philip Harper). A sequel to his earlier composition Destination Moon, the work is clearly written to Cory’s strengths with the atmosphere, technique, flair and solo work being particularly outstanding. Cory finished fourth in the set test, but the stunning performance propelled them to overall victory.

 Nine bands participated in the European Youth contest, each presenting a programme of music including a set test. The Development Section set test, Stephen Hodel’s Argos is full of dynamic contrasts and varying styles which Wardle Academy Youth Band directed by Lee Rigg, accomplished with ease. Producing an excellent performance that secured them the Development Section title for the second consecutive year.

In the Youth Premier Section Austria’s Catch Basin Brass Band conducted by Andreas Lackner won its first-ever contest victory courtesy of an impressive and mature performance of the set test, Daniel Hall’s, Sanctuary.

Swiss representative, BML Talents under the baton of Patrick Ottiger, chose their trombone soloist Manuel Zemp who delivered an outstanding and mature performance of Arthur Pryor’s Thoughts of Love, that earned him the best solo prize in the Youth Premier Section.        

Philip Sparke’s Music of the Spheres was a game-changer when written. The difficulties are still there but Paris Brass Band, directed by Florent Didier surmounted them with consummate ease to produce a virtuosi account. Full of impressive ensemble work along with quality soloists that fully deserved their second place overall.

Completing these highlights are three further contributions by Valaisia Brass Band conducted by Arsene Duc. Firstly, Ray Farr’s arrangement of the Finale of Stravinsky’s The Firebird, next we have the premiere performance of Tom Davoren’s Valaisia Variants and thirdly Arsene Duc leads the mass bands of the Finale of Gregor Grant’s arrangement of Rossini’s William Tell Overture. Needless to say, these three items featured in the Gala Concert and were performed to a high standard. The audience appreciation brought this excellent album to a fitting close.           

Tracks:

CD 1

1. Euroflash - Damien Lagger - Valaisia Brass Band MD: Arsene Duc - [3.18]

2. Dear Cassandra - Ludovic Neuohr - Eikanger-Bjorsvik Musikklag MD: Ingar H. Bergby - [19.00]

3. Virtuose Kumpane - Adam Hudec arr: Bertrand Moren - Eurpean Youth Brass Band MD: Bertrand Moren - [2.24]

4. Terezin - Mario Burki - Brass Band Regensburg MD: Dave Lea - [11.28]

5. It don't mean a Thing - Ellington arr: Jack Cortner - Cornet Soloist Patrick Ottiger with the European Brass Band MD: Bertrand Moren - [3.02]

6. The Firebird (Excerpts) - Stravinsky arr: Ray Farr - Valaisia Brass Band MD: Arsene Duc - [6.13]

7. King Kong on Rue Igor Stravinsky - Paul McGhee - Brass Band Burgermusik Luzern MD: Michael Bach - [17.34]

CD 2

1. Explorers on the Moon - Paul Raphael - Cory Band MD: Philip Harper - [20.25]

2. Valaisia Variants - Tom Davoren - Valaisia Brass Band MD: Arsene Duc [4.11]

3. Argos - Stephan Hodel - Wardle Academy Youth Brass Band MD: Lee Rigg - [8.43]

4. Music of the Spheres - Philip Sparke - Paris Brass Band MD: Florent Didier - [18.12]

5. Thoughts of Love - Arthur Pryor - Trombone Soloist Manuel Zemp with the BML Talents Band MD: Patrick Ottiger - [5.44]

6. Relaxation from Salute to Youth - Gilbert Vinter - European Youth Brass Band MD: Bertrand Moren - [4.44]

7. Sanctuary - Daniel Hall - Catch Basin Brass Band MD: Andreas Lackner - [10.26]

8. Finale from William Tell Overture - Rossini arr: Gregor Grant - Valaisia Brass Band and the European Youth Brass Band MD: Arsene Duc [3.27]

 

Sydney Swancott

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