Reviews - CDs and DVDs

Symphony - The Music of Edward Gregson Volume V

Symphony aSymphony - The Music of Edward Gregson Vol V

Black Dyke Band

Brett  Baker - Trombone

Conductors: Drs. Nicholas & Robert Childs



The disc covers more than three decades of Edward Gregson's music, though three of the pieces were written in the current century.

The most recent being Of Distant Memories (Music in an Olden Style). The work opens with a lovely nostalgic melody that progresses to a youthful sparkle in the faster passages and a depth of sound in slower reflective music that is of the highest quality. Throughout there are stylistic allusions to composers who have provided the brass band repertoire with many memorable and well loved works. An excellent performance that captures the style perfectly. The piece is dedicated to Nicholas and Robert Childs.

Composed in 1979, the Trombone Concerto was originally conceived to be performed with an orchestra, but following numerous requests by Brett Baker, Edward Gregson agreed to re-score the piece to suit the brass band medium. Brett Baker's stylish and artistic playing makes light of the musical and technical demands of the three movement work. So too does the band, who are also sensitive to give the finest support, resulting in a first class performance throughout.

Early in 2008 Rococo Variations was completed, the title referring to the stately style of the theme. Unlike the stylistic allusions to composers in Of Distant Memories, a direct quotation of much admired composer's closely associated with brass band music is added to each of the six variations as a tribute. The composers referred to are Elgar Howarth, Ray Steadman-Allen, Eric Ball, John McCabe, Wilfred Heaton and Philip Wilby. The work is dedicated to the composer's brother, Bramwell Gregson, is given a committed performance.

Following a joint commission from the National Youth Brass Bands of Great Britain and Wales for a major work to celebrate their respective 60th and 30th anniversaries, Symphony in Two Movements was composed. The National Youth Brass Band of Great Britain, conducted by Bramwell Tovey, gave the premiere performance of this fine work during their 60th celebration concert held at the Winter Gardens in Weston-Super-Mare in April 2012. The movements are entitled Toccata and Variations in which a theme and four contrasting variations are played without a break. The work, which is dedicated to Paul Hindmarsh, received a detailed and exciting performance.

Completing the disc is a conversation between Edward Gregson and Paul Hindmarsh that reveals the composers perspective of the music on this recording.

The stunning technical and musical performances are of breathtaking quality and the disc is highly recommended.


1. Of Distant Memories (Music in an Olden Style), Edward Gregson, Black Dyke Band, [15.17]
Trombone Concerto, Edward Gregson, Brett Baker (Trombone)
2. I. Lento tranquillo, [6.17]
3. II. Andante cantabile, [5.04]
4. III. Allegro, [4.12]
5. Rococo Variations, Edward Gregson, [16.45]
6. In conversation, Edward Gregson and Paul Hindmarsh, [12.06]
Symphony in two movements, Edward Gregson
7. I. Toccata, [5.29]
8. II. Variations, [13.24]

Sydney Swancott