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AVAILABILITY Leyland Band

By Arrangement 1946-2006
Iain MCKNIGHT
The Goat [2:35]
Jerry GOLDSMITH (arr. Goff Richards)
The Sand Volcano from The Mummy [4:24]
George BIZET (arr. Gary Westwood)
Adagietto from L'Arlesienne [2:00] #
Goff RICHARDS
Doyen [6:07]
Grigoras DINICU/Jascha HEIFETZ (arr. Goff Richards)
Hora Staccato [2:21]
Bill CONTI (arr. Lucy Pankhurst)
For Your Eyes Only [4:49]*
Trad (arr. Robert Collinson)
Mini Fantasia on a London Theme [3:41]
Darrol BARRY
November Moods [7:47]^
Dmitri SHOSTAKOVICH (arr. Gary Westwood)
Galop from Cheryomushki [2:04]
A Spin through Moscow [2:46]
Carl Maria von WEBER (arr. Harold Moss)
Ruler of the Spirits [7:12]
Franz SCHUBERT (arr. Iain McKnight)
Moment Musical [2:11]
Camille SAINT-SAËNS (arr. Iain McKnight)
The Fossils from Carnival of the Animals [1:24]
Sigvart DAGSLAND (arr. Fride Rydland)
Michelangelo [4:47]^
Harry WARREN (arr. Goff Richards)
Pasadena [2:31]
Peter Il’yich TCHAIKOVSKY (arr. Dave Timmins)
Dance of the Buffoons [4:00]
Harold MOSS
Royal Tiger [2:40]
Ian Twiss (soprano cornet)#; Lucy Pankhurst (tenor horn)*; Brendan Wheeler (euphonium)^;
Leyland Band/Russell Gray
rec. 4-5 March 2006, Aspull Civic Hall, Wigan, UK. DDD
EGON CDSFZ135 [64:16]



A decent brass album, this, and a worthy souvenir of one of the world’s great brass bands – as of October 2007 they come in at No.9 in the rankings. It celebrates the Leyland Band’s 60th anniversary and features music from across the band’s repertoire, including a number of pieces and arrangements by composers closely associated with the band.
 
The disc opens and closes with catchy marches. The Goat was written by one of Leyland's two Eb bass players, Iain McKnight, and is named after the pub where the band celebrated their victory in the 2005 British National Brass Band Championships. Bringing the disc to a close is a march by the band’s founding music director, Harold Moss.
 
Moss, McKnight and third cornet player Gary Westwood also contribute colourful arrangements of classical pieces, which all work quite well. Moss' transcription of Ruler of the Spirits, the overture to Weber's unfinished opera Rubezahl, is quite old-fashioned in its scoring, recalling to mind the transcriptions of Percy Fletcher, but no less enjoyable for that. The hectic A Spin through Moscow comes off brilliantly too.
 
Four of the tracks come from veteran composer Goff Richards. Three of these are arrangements and one in particular, Hora Staccato, is a lot of fun. Goff’s original contribution is a bright occasional piece entitled Doyen. While the name of the piece may suggest an association with a different record label, it was actually written for the band to a commission from Leyland Vehicles to celebrate the launch of the company's new Doyen coach. The piece is typical of Richards' style. It is generous in showcasing the players' individual voices and collaborative skills, full of plush harmonies and artlessly tuneful. Is there a deliberate reference to Abba's Mamma Mia at about 1:30, or is this merely coincidence?
 
The solo vehicles in the program also come across well. Lucy Pankhurst plays her own arrangement of the title song from a Roger Moore Bond movie, For Your Eyes Only, with feeling and a glowing tone. ‘Euphist’ Brenden Wheeler plays with sensitivity, a distinctive, light tone and dependable technique in both of his solo numbers. Of the two pieces, Michelangelo endures longer in the memory, floating a melody of simple beauty above a subtly scored accompaniment. November Moods begins in autumnal chill and veers into more light-weight upbeat territory around half way through, reprising the moody tune of its opening before the final flourish.
 
The playing of the band is very fine throughout. Perhaps they could make the Royal Tiger roar a little more, given the energy with which they play The Goat. They also sound a bit underpowered in The Sand Volcano and a little foursquare in the Shostakovich Galop. However, there are certainly no serious reservations. The recorded sound is clear and warm, if a little distant. The booklet is of high quality, comprising Gary Westwood's intelligent commentary on the music, together with biographies of the Leyland Band and current Musical Director Russell Gray, and photographs of the current band, all set against background photographs of the band as it was in 1946.
 
If the programme appeals, this is worth a listen.
 
Tim Perry



 


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