Wed. Aug 10th, 2022

Artistic director Paul Hindmarsh offers a curator’s perspective on what will be offered at the British banding movement’s main repertoire festival in January.


RNCM is hosting the festival

Six excellent brass bands, leading international guest soloists and student participation will celebrate major anniversaries as well as see a new look at famous music at the RNCM Brass Band Festival this weekend 28.-30. January.

And as the banding movement slowly emerges from its Covid-19 break, it’s a combination that feels like the catalyst for an artistic revival, according to artistic director Paul Hindmarsh, as he gave an early example of what lies ahead for 4BR.

Great performances

The festival will feature major performances from Black Dyke, Brighouse & Rastrick, Cory, Foden’s, Grimethorpe and Tredegar, as well as guest soloists Peter Moore and Rex Richardson and other major musical attractions.

“After eighteen months of music that was limited to socially distant or online activity, it feels a lot like a new and exciting beginning,” he said.

“I have been hugely impressed with the commitment and collaboration between the bands that took part in a very busy start to the year – including the rearranged British Open Championship in 2021.

After eighteen months of music limited to socially distant or online activity, this feels very much like a new and exciting beginning

However, it has made it possible for me to approach the curation of the festival in 2022 in such a tempting way – especially to be able to link with artistic projects that the bands are currently recording or planning to create exciting musical connections. ”


Artistic Director Paul Hindmarsh

Associations

Paul highlights an example of this with Black Dyke’s longstanding associations with composer Bruce Broughton, Philip Wilby and Peter Graham, which have enabled the programming of three recent commissions.

‘Heroes’, used at the National Championship of Great Britain will be with Wilby’s ‘Beethoven and the light fantastic’.

In addition, Peter Grahams ‘Master of Suspense’, commissioned by American trumpet virtuoso Rex Richardson, will have its world premiere when he returns as a guest soloist at the gala concert on Saturday night thanks to support from Yamaha.


Welcome Homecoming – Prof David King appears with the Brighouse & Rastrick Band

Returnee

Another welcome festival returning to the festival is Brighouse & Rastrick chief conductor, Prof. David King, who is only making his second appearance in 20 years.

Paul added: “To close the festival, Prof King has chosen a program that summarizes one of the threads that runs through the weekend – music based on folk songs and hymn songs, loved by both brass bands and so many British composers in the 20th century. . ”

This will see Brighouse perform Imogen Holst’s lively folk dance-based suite from 1929, ‘The Unfortunate Traveler’, Wilfred Heaton’s early meditation on Joseph Parry’s hymn ‘Aberystwyth’ and end with Philip Wilby’s ‘classic’ score ‘Paganini variations’.

This will see Brighouse perform Imogen Holst’s lively folk dance-based suite from 1929, ‘The Unfortunate Traveler’, Wilfred Heaton’s early meditation on Joseph Parry’s hymn ‘Aberystwyth’ and end with Philip Wilby’s ‘classic’ score ‘Paganini variations’.

Celebrating RVW150 and RSA100

In 1960, the Salvation Army released an exquisite but rare game ‘Prelude to Randolph’ by Ray Steadman -Allen (1922 – 2014).

2022 marks the centenary of his birth as well as the 150th anniversary of the birth of the composer of the hymn song, Ralph Vaughan Williams (1872 – 1958), one of the great figures of English music in the 20th century.


The festival will celebrate the music of Vaughan Williams

Different threads

Paul continued: “The celebration of the RSA100 and RVW150 has given me a rich inventive stitch to tie the various parts of the weekend’s music production together.

The festival has actually been designated as one of the major events of a festival year supported by the Vaughan Williams Charitable Trust – RVW150.

Items from Tredegar Band’s project ‘Vaughan Williams on Brass’ for Albion Records offer fresh perspectives on some familiar pieces with new releases and arrangements. ”

Paul explained that RVW based its hugely influential creative voice on folk singing, traditional dance, and hymn singing, which he and others, including Holst and Cecil Sharp, saved from likely extinction in the early part of the last century.

Variations

‘Variations for brass orchestra’ (1957) and the wind orchestras ‘Martial Touch’ (1924) are the only band works by RVW that are not based on traditional material.

‘Variations for brass orchestra’ will be in Cory’s Sunday afternoon concert, where Philip Harper will also conduct other notable examples of brass band variations from their acclaimed ‘Cornerstones’ project.

“I have long wondered if Edmund Rubbra’s wonderful 1958 national final test piece ‘Variations on The Shining River’ (1958) was inspired by RVW’s example, ”he said.

“The variation form certainly offers rich and varied choices for any ‘curator’ of brass band concerts, and Fodens and Michael Fowles will include Rubbra as a tribute to former Band Manager, Alan Littlemore.”

‘Variations for brass orchestra’ will be in Cory’s Sunday afternoon concert, where Philip Harper will also conduct other notable examples of brass band variations from their acclaimed ‘Cornerstones’ project.


The festival will also celebrate the music of Ray Steadman-Allen

Exploration

In a welcome exploration, Paul Hindmarsh has highlighted Ray Steadman-Allen’s productive output, which has not previously traveled far beyond the Salvation Army.

He added: “After retiring, his creative abilities were enjoyed by the wider brass band community through commissioned competition and concert works.

Within SA circles, the RSA was seen as a musical adventurer pushing the boundaries of hymn-based music to the boundaries of contemporary tonal style.

Within SA circles, the RSA was seen as a musical adventurer pushing the boundaries of hymn-based music to the boundaries of contemporary tonal style.

He was an eclectic stylist, very skilled and versatile, whose music always aimed to convey a Christian message.

‘Hymn at sunrise’ (to be played by Fodens) is without a doubt his finest non-SA work, while his sinfonietta ‘On the edge of time’ (Grimethorpe Colliery Band) is perhaps his most experimental poly-stylist work.

Ahead

No RNCM Brass Band Festival would be complete without something more topical or with a cutting edge in style.

On Sunday morning, Grimethorpe under David Thornton presents Composer in Association, Liz Lane, as well as the distinguished American composer Jack Stamp.


Peter Moore will be one of the festival’s featured soloists

Moore shift

Meanwhile, trombone star and Yamaha artist Peter Moore will join the Tredegar Band on Saturday afternoon to re-emerge ‘Move’, a 20-minute concert commissioned by Paul Hindmarsh ten years ago by Cornish composer Simon Dobson.

Paul added: “I am also pleased that student ensembles from RNCM are presenting the final of the fifth John Golland Prize for Young Composers.

Meanwhile, trombone star and Yamaha artist Peter Moore will join the Tredegar Band on Saturday afternoon to re-emerge ‘Move’, a 20-minute concert commissioned by Paul Hindmarsh ten years ago by Cornish composer Simon Dobson.

Resuscitation

On Saturday morning, the RNCM Brass Band revives two significant concert works; an engaging, colorful ‘Piano Concerto’ by Bill Connor, who I well remember recording with soloist Kathryn Stott, and Sellars International Band with Phillip McCann 30 years ago.

This performance marks a new beginning for this understated work. ”


Errollyn Wallen’s ‘Chrome’ will be shown

Paul is especially pleased that Errollyn Wallen’s jazz bent the work Chrome, originally commissioned by the National Youth Brass Band of Great Britain and first performed during the relay by Elgar Howarth, also makes a welcome revival.

Reassessment and restoration

Other important works are also welcomed – including Judith Bingham’s BBC Commission from 1995 ‘Prague’ in celebration of the composer’s 70th birthday, as well ‘This is our footprint’.


Fusion composer Howard Blake

Rare opportunity

There will also be a rare opportunity to remember ‘Mergers’, 1986 Commission for the British Open Championship by composer Howard Blake, as Paul explained.

“To be completely honest, apart from a glorious flugelhorn solo, ‘Fusions’ left many players and listeners overwhelmed. When Michael Fowles stated that he would like to include it in Foden’s festival opener, I got in touch with the composer, now in his mid – 80s, to ask him about it.

I knew that ‘Mergers’ had been reworked from a Sinfonietta to the symphonic brass deed, but was completely unaware that Bram Gay, had based his brass band preparation on a cut version, which the composer was never satisfied with.

I knew that ‘Mergers’ had been reworked from a Sinfonietta for the symphonic brass cover, but was completely unaware that Bram Gay, had based his brass band preparation on a cut version that the composer was never happy with.

So better than playing ‘Mergers’, I volunteered to reshape the score as ‘Sinfonietta for brass orchestra’ (without percussion), the elimination of competitive developments and the restoration of significant cutting material. The footers are excited to give the work a ‘new beginning’. ”

Catalyst

With a retrospective centenary appreciation of Malcolm Arnold, workshops discussions and a presentation by festival partners, Brass Bands England, Paul hopes that the RNCM Brass Band Festival in 2022 will provide a wonderful opportunity to enjoy larger brass band repertoire that includes various stylistic genres and time frames.

It is important as a catalyst for the banding movement in the UK has never been more significant.

Iwan Fox

.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.