Reviews - CDs and DVDs

European Brass Band Championships 2013

European 2013


European Brass Band Championships Highlights - 2013

Various Bands




Having been a keen follower of the European Championships, the innovation, the excitement, the virtuosity, I was very eager to listen to this latest recording from the championships, most recently held in Oslo, Norway.

Every Europeans recording is first and foremost for the test piece connoisseur, there is always an intriguing new commission in the set work as well as a positive cornucopia of exciting and ever increasingly difficult set works, this CD is no different and we are treated to four new commissions no less.

The set work this year was from the pen of Stig Nordhagen, the descriptive Myth Forest a dark descriptive piece is given an astonishing reading from Philip Harper as he guides the musical juggernaut that is the Cory Band to a quite stunning performance. PerihelionCloser to the Sun by Philip Sparke was commissioned by the Cory band for this contest and it is a piece that shows how closely the composer worked with the band on this project. The piece is one that sticks clearly to a brief that shows what a fantastic outfit the band are and on top form are nigh on unbeatable.

Other new commissions come in the form of Symphony in Two Movements by Edward Gregson and Fragile Oasis by Peter Meechan, performed by the Black Dyke and Leyland bands. Symphony in Two movements is typically Gregson, there are little nuances of his stylistic composing throughout and it is given a fantastic performance by the Queensberry outfit whilst the performance from Leyland shows the Peter Meechan is a man that clearly understands the brass band medium as well as the areas is can be tested and stretch, I am confident that we will hear more from this young composer at many major events in the future.

The final test piece offering is the winning performance from the own choice selection, Spiriti by Thomas Doss is simply a stunning piece that became a classic since its inception as the set work for the Euro’s in 2010. Here the piece is given the “King’s Treatment” in a performance oozing with emotion and class.

Other offerings on the disc are highlights from the events surrounding the contest event, Black Dyke tip their cap to Norway’s most famous composer Edvard Grieg with performances of Morning and In the Hall of the Mountain King.

We hear the young charges of the European Youth band give fine performances and it must be said how well this group performs with such a mix of nationalities and languages with such a short space of rehearsal time.

There is also a simply beautiful performance form the pen of Kennth Downie with In Perfect Piece performed by the Norwegian National Brass Band.

Whilst the contest may not go down in the history books as one of the best Europeans, this selection gives the listener a window into some of the goings on in Oslo and provides some fine performances of some fantastic repertoire old and new. 


Disc 1 of 2
1. Myth Forest, Stig Nordhagen, Cory Band, [18.00]
2. In Perfect Peace, Kenneth Downie, Norwegian National Brass Band, [4.27]
3. Mikkel, Ole Edvard Antonsen, Ole Edvard Antonsen (Trumpet) with Norwegian National Brass Band, [4.24]
4. Morning from Peer Gyn, Edvard Grieg, arr. Howard Lorriman, Black Dyke Band, [4.00]
5. In the Hall of the Mountain King, Edvard Grieg, arr. Howard Lorriman, Black Dyke Band, [2.10]
6. Seabird Mob, Fly On! (3rd movement), Idar Torskangerpoll, European Youth Brass Band, [2.57]
7. One Voice, Barry Manilow, arr. Ray Farr, European Youth Brass Band, [3.42]
8. Fragile Oasis, Peter Meechan, Leyland Band, [15.48]
9. When Thunder Calls, Paul Lovatt-Cooper, Black Dyke Band, [4.52]

Disc 2 of 2
1. Perihelion - Closer to the Sun, Philip Sparke, Cory Band, [19.08], 
2. Cavanquino, Ernesto Nazareth, arr. Howard Snell, European Youth Brass Band, [2.34]
3. Andantino, Jean Sibelius, arr. Laaksonen, Aura Brass Band, 3.36
4. Symphony in two movements, Edward Gregson, Black Dyke Band, [18.53]
5. Salute to Youth - III. Relaxation, Gilbert Vinter, European Youth Brass Band, [4.52]
6. Finale from Symphony No. 3 (Organ), Camille Saint-Saens, arr. Philip Wilby, Massed bands, [5.23]
7. Spiriti, Thomas Doss, Eikanger-Bjorsvik Musikklag, [16.35]

James Holt

Musical Director - Besses Boys Band
Music Advisor Stockport Schools Senior Brass Band