In this first episode of a new decade, and just for you, Frank is going through the flames, he drops in on a certain lady called Ruby, on the bright side we can all enjoy one of the loveliest trombone sounds you’ll ever hear. There’s a bit of tradition of course, like starting the new year off in Scotland plus Frank features 4 of the current crop of great soloists.
We’re off to the races, to the Deep South and heading north of the border down the Highland way. Frank recalls the long lamented Royal Doulton Band and Paul Muff plays a little gem of a solo with Brass Band Burgermusik Luzern. Our next Episode is an hour of brilliant brass music to boil the sprouts to, take with you wherever you’re heading or simply sit down and enjoy.
Whether you’re doing some last-minute wrapping, preparing the sprouts or jetting off on a festive holiday this hour of brilliant brass music is just the thing to have with you. Frank recalls conducting Sleigh Bells and Brass, a Brass Band of Battle Creek CD which has the band at the top of its game. We have two classic arrangements from The International Staff Band of the Salvation Army and The North Carolina Brass Band unwrap a musical adaptation of the famous poem A Visit from Santa better known to us as ‘Twas the Night Before Christmas. Matt Ford and Fodens go carolling and Manger Mussikklag provide that quite moment of contemplation in their gorgeous recording of O Magnum Mysterium. It’s the best hour of brass music you’ll find anywhere this Christmas.
Top C’s and Tiara’s
There is a great tradition of the brass band playing arrangements of music from the opera house, and many a music lover, including people like Frank himself, got their first experience of the music from playing it in a band. Of course, not all opera works in arrangements for band especially some of the more contemporary works but this episode if full of what can happen when it does. There are famous arias, full blooded choruses and the powerful sounds of music which has become more famous than the opera it’s taken from.
Brass in Concert is one of the blue ribband events in the UK brass calendar. Some of the best bands in the country are regularly joined by some brilliant visitors from both Europe and the USA. It takes place in the opulent surrounding of the Sage Gateshead now having moved from its sports hall original home. Frank has been intimately involved throughout its history and he recalls some of his best memories along with prize winning music and performances.
Siddis is one of the great entertainment events in the band world. With competitions in several sections over the weekend it’s a real test of a bands programme building ingenuity and technical skill. Frank features some winning performances and recalls some highlights of his times there. He also dips into the latest recording by Black Dyke and guides us through one of the most popular test pieces of all-time pieces Philip Wilby’s Paganini Variations, a piece that he conducted to Open Championships victory with Grimethorpe.
The whole of the Siddis competition will be available to live stream on brasspass.tv
Rhapsody in Brass by Dean Goffin was written for the British Open Brass Band Championships 70 years ago and it’s the first piece in Frank’s new feature celebrating significant band pieces which have really impressed and moved him over the years. Equally underplayed these days but heard here is A Country scene by Goff Richards and the Dawn of Freedom March which was recorded back in the 1970’s by the successful and fondly remembered Mirrlees Band. In the next Episode Frank talks Siddis which is almost on us again and will be available to stream live on brasspass.tv.
Frank thinks that Wilfred Heaton is one of the most innovative and exciting writers for brass band of the last century, and can’t think why his brilliance was not recognised and nurtured at the time. He even signed one of his masterpieces in the name of Paul Krask; it was never performed. Hear how Howard Snell brought Heaton’s wonderful Partita for band to its rightful place in the banding repertoire. We also have an early warning of ghosts and spooks and take this opportunity to celebrate the conferring by Huddersfield University of an Honorary Doctorate of Music on one of our greatest cornet players and educators; Philip McCann.
Frank celebrates the talents of Richard Scott, one of our most respected and popular recording engineers who sadly died a few weeks ago. Let’s enjoy these wonderful recordings which demonstrate how, with his peerless skill, sensitivity and musicality, Richard encouraged and captured some of the very best music making of his generation.
Frank has the final episode in his summer series highlighting the various places that the brass band gets much of its repertoire from. This one is all about arrangements of, for want of a better term, classical music. There’s everything from music originally for solo flute to several parts of a Wagner opera woven together by Howard Snell creating one of the all-time master pieces of band music along the way. There are some really famous tunes used as just a starting point for new music or how about the brilliance of Liszt’s piano writing brought to the band world by Roy Newsome.
It’s a rich seam of music to mine and of course Frank accompanies the music with his own personal memories and anecdotes gained from a life time in music.
In his next episode (36) Frank has music recorded by one of our most talented and respected engineers Richard Scott who has sadly just lost his brave battle with cancer.