Aureole etc.

Golden Age singers

Nimbus on-line

Faure songs
Charlotte de Rothschild (soprano);

  Founder: Len Mullenger
Classical Editor: Rob Barnett


Some items
to consider


paid for

3 for 2 Offer

All Forgotten Records Reviews


100th birthday of Mieczyslaw Weinberg on December 8, 2019.
Renate Eggbrecht has recorded all 3 violin Sonatas
All Troubadisc reviews

FOGHORN Classics

Mozart Brahms
Clarinet Quintets
All Foghorn Reviews

Puertas de Madrid
All EMEC reviews
All EMEC reviews

All Reference Recordings

Eugène Ysaÿe: Violin Discoveries
All Divine Art Reviews

Debussy Complete Preludes



Follow us on Twitter

Subscribe to our free weekly review listing

Sample: See what you will get

Editorial Board
MusicWeb International
Founding Editor
Rob Barnett
Editor in Chief
John Quinn
Seen & Heard
Editor Emeritus
   Bill Kenny
MusicWeb Webmaster
   David Barker
Jonathan Woolf
MusicWeb Founder
   Len Mullenger


Discs for review may be sent to:
Jonathan Woolf
76 Lushes Road
Essex IG10 3QB
United Kingdom
Ph. 020 8418 0616


World of Brass


Regionals 2008
Eric BALL (1903-1989)
Festival Music [15:22]
Gilbert VINTER (1909-1969)
James Cook – Circumnavigator [10:45]
Kenneth DOWNIE (b. 1946)
Three Part Invention [11:21]
The Dark Side of the Moon [12:46]
Rodney NEWTON (b. 1945)
Four Cities Symphony [11:25]
Black Dyke Band/Dr. Nicholas Childs
Cory Band/Dr. Robert Childs
Whitburn Band/Duncan Beckley
rec. Morley Town Hall, 12 July 2007 (Festival Music and The Dark Side of the Moon); Ysgol Gyfun Rhydywaun, Aberdare, 3 June 2007 (James Cook – Circumnavigator and Four Cities Symphony); The Regal Theatre, Whitburn, 1 July 2007 (Three Part Invention). DDD
DOYEN DOYCD238 [62:07]
Experience Classicsonline

Every year five test pieces are played by the competing bands in the annual round of Regional Brass Band Championships. If there is one thing that is virtually guaranteed for specialist brass band label Doyen, it is that its year on year release of the five pieces will be one of its most successful CDs of the year in terms of sales.
Every competitive band in the country is eager to gain a regional qualification spot for the finals of the National Brass Band Championships of Great Britain later in the year. It is a sure bet that bandsmen and women up and down the country will be keen to hear what is in store for them as rehearsals for the March “regionals” begin in earnest following the customary Christmas sabbatical.
A quick glance at the website of Doyen’s parent company, World of Brass, confirms that for some time after its release, this year’s Regionals 2008 topped its sales chart both in terms of the CD itself as well as downloads from the recently launched World of Brass download site.
A good part of the attraction is the opportunity to hear the pieces played (including those for the lower sections) by bands of world class repute. This year is no exception with politically correct three nation representatives from England, Wales and Scotland in the form of Black Dyke, Cory and Whitburn respectively.
The Championship Section work, Eric Ball’s Festival Music, was written as the test piece for the National Championship Finals in 1956. For a Salvationist composer whose somewhat backward-looking language was generally steeped in Elgar, it is Mozart that Ball here turned to for his inspiration, in what was the bicentennial year of Mozart’s birth. Cast in three movements, Overture, Romance and Impromptu, the work is not entirely pastiche, still retaining Ball’s trademark Elgarian harmonic palette. In keeping with Ball’s almost legendary skill in scoring for band, the work is beautifully crafted. Over fifty years after its composition it will still prove a stern test to bands in its expressive and musical demands, despite its oddly quaint aura. Black Dyke here gives a characterful reading that emphasises the exceptional quality of the band’s soloists.     
Outside the world of brass bands Gilbert Vinter was closely linked with the BBC, where he was employed as a conductor with the BBC Light Orchestra for many years. Throughout this period he wrote a steady stream of works for brass band including numerous test pieces as well as a number of appealing, shorter concert pieces. James Cook – Circumnavigator was the last of his pieces for band, written in celebration of the Captain Cook Bicentenary and completed just months before his death. Of all Vinter’s major band works this is arguably his most overtly pictorial in its imaginative, seafaring scene painting. Robert Childs and the Cory Band are certainly the masters of the seas in the excellent performance committed to disc here. As a work for First Section bands, James Cook could well prove to be a very tough proposition indeed. The piece is still capable of testing bands at the very highest level.
Like Eric Ball, Kenneth Downie is a composer whose roots lie within the Salvation Army. Also like Ball, his “traditional” language has broad appeal within the brass band movement. His output includes a large amount of devotional music in addition to his expanding catalogue for brass band. In comparison to several of Downie’s recent major works for band including St. Magnus, Visions of Gerontius and The Promised Land, Three Part Invention is a somewhat quirky, light-hearted affair. It should prove to be an enjoyable test to prepare for the Second Section bands involved, albeit with relatively little for the respective band’s solo instrumentalists to get their teeth into. Duncan Beckley and Whitburn Band capture the spirit of the music well, in particular the affecting central Romance that is very much the heart of the work.
Paul Lovatt-Cooper is a member of the Black Dyke percussion section, as well as being a composer with a fast growing reputation in the brass band world. The Dark Side of the Moon is the only work amongst this year’s regional test pieces that was not written specifically for contest performance. It draws heavily on the influence of film music, notably John Williams, with melodies that recollect the big tunes from scores such as Jurassic Park frequently coming to the fore. The big-boned style of the piece will appeal to the Third Section bands preparing it. This could well be the first of other Lovatt-Cooper scores to appear in contest performance in the near future. Appropriately it is the composer’s own band, Black Dyke that gives the stirring performance here.   
Commissioned from Rodney Newton specifically for this year’s Regional Fourth Section contests, Four Cities Symphony paints musical impressions of London, Paris, Rome and Moscow. Its “bespoke” approach has enabled the composer to create a piece that effectively tests the basics of intonation, ensemble and musicality in a way that should give the competing bands plenty to think about as well as enjoy. Newton is a composer capable of producing music of far greater sophistication than this, although writing for bands at this level of ability is an art that not all possess by any means. Cory and Robert Childs enjoy a close working relationship with Rodney Newton and the competing bands should learn much from listening to the stylistic elements of Cory’s recording.
If there is a disconcerting element to this recording it is the stark contrast between the acoustic qualities of the various recording venues. It would be a task beyond practicality to bring the various bands together in one venue although it must be said that the option remains to record just one band, in one venue playing all of the pieces. The most startling contrast is between Black Dyke, in the acoustically spacious surroundings of Morley Town Hall and Cory, whose bright opening bars of James Cook – Circumnavigator will have many reaching for the remote in shock immediately after the distant strains of Festival Music.
It will not however dampen the enthusiasm of the many brass players nationwide that will be keen to hear the five top-drawer performances of the “regional” test pieces as their own band’s rehearsals gather momentum in the run up to the contest day.
Christopher Thomas


Advertising on

Donate and keep us afloat


New Releases

Naxos Classical
All Naxos reviews

All Chandos reviews

All Hyperion reviews

All Foghorn reviews

All Troubadisc reviews

Click to see New Releases
Get 10% off using code musicweb10
All Divine Art reviews

All Eloquence reviews

All Lyrita Reviews


Obtain 10% discount

Recordings of the Month


Donizetti - Le Convenienze ed Inconvenienze Teatrali

Chamber Symphonies 2 & 4

French Cello Concertos







Making a Donation to MusicWeb

Writing CD reviews for MWI

About MWI
Who we are, where we have come from and how we do it.

Site Map

How to find a review

How to find articles on MusicWeb
Listed in date order

Review Indexes
   By Label
      Select a label and all reviews are listed in Catalogue order
   By Masterwork
            Links from composer names (eg Sibelius) are to resource pages with links to the review indexes for the individual works as well as other resources.

Themed Review pages

Jazz reviews


      Composer surveys
      Unique to MusicWeb -
a comprehensive listing of all LP and CD recordings of given works
Prepared by Michael Herman

The Collector’s Guide to Gramophone Company Record Labels 1898 - 1925
Howard Friedman

Book Reviews

Complete Books
We have a number of out of print complete books on-line

With Composers, Conductors, Singers, Instumentalists and others
Includes those on the Seen and Heard site


Nostalgia CD reviews

Records Of The Year
Each reviewer is given the opportunity to select the best of the releases

Monthly Best Buys
Recordings of the Month and Bargains of the Month

Arthur Butterworth Writes

An occasional column

Phil Scowcroft's Garlands
British Light Music articles

Classical blogs
A listing of Classical Music Blogs external to MusicWeb International

Reviewers Logs
What they have been listening to for pleasure



Bulletin Board

Give your opinions or seek answers

Pat and present

Helpers invited!

How Did I Miss That?

Currently suspended but there are a lot there with sound clips

Composer Resources

British Composers

British Light Music Composers

Other composers

Film Music (Archive)
Film Music on the Web (Closed in December 2006)

Programme Notes
For concert organizers

External sites
British Music Society
The BBC Proms
Orchestra Sites
Recording Companies & Retailers
Online Music
Agents & Marketing
Other links
Web News sites etc

A pot-pourri of articles

MW Listening Room
MW Office

Advice to Windows Vista users  
Site History  
What they say about us
What we say about us!
Where to get help on the Internet
CD orders By Special Request
Graphics archive
Currency Converter
Web Ring
Translation Service

Rules for potential reviewers :-)
Do Not Go Here!
April Fools

Return to Review Index

Untitled Document

Reviews from previous months
Join the mailing list and receive a hyperlinked weekly update on the discs reviewed. details
We welcome feedback on our reviews. Please use the Bulletin Board
Please paste in the first line of your comments the URL of the review to which you refer.