CD: Regionals 2019Various Artists
Desford Colliery Band
Virtuosi GUS Band
Black Dyke Band
With this year’s contest season now underway, this release will not disappoint those UK bands looking to make an early start on their ‘Regional’ preparations and features an engaging set of recordings from some of the country’s best bands.
The bands of the Championship Section will be tasked with Ray Steadman-Allen’s Seascapes. Taking inspiration from the poem Cargoes by John Masefield, the initial gentle lyrical theme and lively dance passages precede a sarabande-inspired central movement leading to an animated finale. Desford’s masterful winning and live performance from the 1988 National Final draws a wealth of colour and detail from the stimulating score.
The welcome selection of Symphony of Marches offers Section 1 bands the chance to delve into Gilbert Vinter’s remarkable craftsmanship in creating unique textural colour, ranging from memorably bold fanfares, to the strikingly dark soundworld of the second movement. Sure to prove a popular choice, Cory Band’s utterly committed recording offers a helpful insight into this often underplayed work.
In a fine tribute to the late Darrol Barry, Section 2 will perform his Rise of the Phoenix, given a stylistic reading here from Virtuosi GUS. Originally composed for Clifton and Lightcliffe Band to depict the highs and lows of the band’s history, an attractive, finely balanced work awaits. The blend of challenging, yet manageable technical demands and rich melodic writing seem perfectly suited to this level of banding.
Section 3, meanwhile, is treated to Gustav Holst’s First Suite in E Flat. Widely considered a cornerstone of the wind band repertoire, Sydney Herbert’s markedly skilful brass band arrangement effectively tests the basics, while giving considerable scope for shape and tonal colour when exploring the folk-inspired movements, as demonstrated by Black Dyke Band.
Ray Steadman-Allen is also featured in Section Four with his Stantonbury Festival. Foden’s Band leads the listener through the composer’s pleasantly stylistic writing, which employs the full band to good effect throughout, making for accessible performing and listening.
Presented smartly with helpful sleeve notes, this disc provides bands and musical directors with an invaluable starting point as work begins around Britain on this set of realistic, well-gauged choices across the board.
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This review appeared in the September 2018 edition of BBW. For more reviews, articles and news subscribe to BBW Digital, available to read online (annual subscription: £30), or subscribe to BBW's printed magazine delivered by post: £40 (UK); £68 (Europe); £81 (Rest of the World). Alternatively, receive both the Digital and printed editions combined: £55 (UK); £83 (Europe); £96 (rest of the world) - saving 50% on the Digital edition! Click here to subscribe!