Fresh horizons for soprano cornet

Cory’s ace soprano, Steve Stewart, will release a CD at the 2017 British Open – possibly the first containing substantial, but appealing repertoire for soprano that pushes the boundaries of his instrument ‘over the horizon’ – Nicola Bland brings the detail.

Steve Stewart is a long-established performer, having started playing with the Kirkintilloch Band in Scotland before playing trumpet freelance in London for many years. After relocating to Wales in 2011, it was almost inevitable that he would find himself on that high-wire instrument for Cory Band - soprano cornet!

In 2015, Cory MD Philip Harper invited Steve to cut a solo CD following the ‘In Principal’ CD release that year by the band’s principal cornet, Tom Hutchinson. Tasked with the not inconsequential project of creating a solo CD for the instrumental beast of a brass band, Steve took the view “let’s go for broke!” By that he meant that he didn’t want to produce a CD of soprano lollipop tunes in the vein of recordings of the past, but a full-blooded account of his instrument’s capabilities; one that pushed boundaries - hence the recording’s title, Over the Horizon.

To help him, Steve approached composers Dan Price, Darrol Barry, Ken Ferguson and Christopher Bond to compose wholly original repertoire for the CD, recorded by World of Sound across the time span of a year.

He also turned to his three and four-valve Stomvi soprano instruments, which together gave him the advantage of a much wider range. Steve elaborated: “I used the Stomvi three-valve all the way through Cory’s recent Grand Slam. Stomvi had also developed a four-valve instrument for Pacho Flores and made one for me, which I loved! I played it at the recent Welsh ‘Regional’ because it blended beautifully with the rest of the cornet section on a traditional test-piece like Pageantry. As a solo instrument, it just opens up a lot of doors in terms of range and tone, which gave me the ability to explore the instrument more - hence the CD’s title, Over the Horizon. The recording was about taking the instrument beyond what had gone before. You might ask ‘why did I want to do that?’ The answer is…

Read this article in full, featured in July/August 2017’s BBW, by subscribing to BBW Digital. Alternatively, subscribe to the printed magazine delivered by post: £40 (UK); £68 (Europe); £81 (Rest of the World)



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