Concert: Nidaros Brass BandGuest Conductor: Robert Childs
Solo Euphonium: Steven Mead
The Stars align for Nidaros!
Nidaros Brass Band
Guest Conductor: Robert Childs
Solo Euphonium: Steven Mead
The non-contesting Nidaros Band, formed in 2003 by former top elite players from the region, invited two of the most significant people of UK brass history in the past 40 years, Robert (Bob) Childs and Steven Mead, to a real gala concert. The concert (also a tribute to the band’s solo euphonium player, Steinar Mørkved, to celebrate his 70th birthday this year) turned out to be very special.
Philip Sparke had written a new solo for the occasion - a fantastic, lyrical piece entitled Dreamsong, which received its world première on this night, performed very nicely by the ‘birthday boy’ himself.
In January, Robert Childs was invited to give a master class in one of the biggest band and conductors’ conferences in Norway, held in a place just outside Trondheim called Hell. The night after the conference, Robert enjoyed the first meeting and rehearsal with Nidaros, at which there was a good chemistry from the first moment and a musical approach from both sides, confirmed at this concert. The concert audience was stunned from the first tune - the band’s signature march, Nidaros, composed by Paul Sharman. Bob then led the first-half programme featuring Eric Ball’s Songs of the Morning, Kenneth Downie’s In Perfect Peace and Elegy from A Downland Suite. Steinar’s daughter, Mari, also performed the trombone solo, Blessed Assurance by William Himes.
After the interval, Bob and the band created magic with Philip Sparke’s Partita before the audience was taken almost to heaven in Karl Jenkins’s arrangement of Eventide. The band was then led in Mack the Knife after which magician, Steven Mead, gave the first live and very special performance of La Corrida de Toros by David Bandman. Vibrance and brilliance were in abundance from both the band and the soloist.
Steven Mead’s appearance at the concert was kept secret from Steinar until just before Christmas and, as Robert Childs summed up: “Steven played at his very best and Sparke's Pantomime was very special and a memorable moment!”
It’s hard to believe that, after years of rivalry as competitors in UK banding, this was the first time that Steven and Robert had performed together on the same stage - it was a super match for the two superstars and, hopefully, the first in a long row of concerts. The audience cried, laughed and shouted; it was a truly memorable night in Trondheim and Nidaros was honoured to work with two of the best brass band experts available - a magic moment in the life of every bandsman and woman.
As a special birthday gift, Steven and Steinar closed the concert with the famous The Pearl Fishers duet. What a fantastic birthday present for Steinar - a true bandsman and a former professional euphonium player.
Next year Cory MD, Philip Harper, will guest conduct Nidaros’s Jubilee Concert. First though, the band is set to embark upon a four-day concert tour of the Liverpool area of England at the beginning of June - a follow-up to its Welsh tour of two years ago. This time, one of Nidaros’s tour concerts will be performed with Fairey Band and feature along some special Norwegian music.
RUNE ANDREAS WOLD