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OF THE MONTH
Ritchie Symphony 4
OF THE MONTH
By Arrangement 1946-2006
The Goat [2:35]
Jerry GOLDSMITH (arr.
The Sand Volcano from The Mummy [4:24]
George BIZET (arr.
Adagietto from L'Arlesienne [2:00] #
Grigoras DINICU/Jascha HEIFETZ (arr.
Hora Staccato [2:21]
Bill CONTI (arr.
For Your Eyes Only [4:49]*
Mini Fantasia on a London Theme [3:41]
November Moods [7:47]^
Dmitri SHOSTAKOVICH (arr.
Galop from Cheryomushki [2:04]
A Spin through Moscow [2:46]
Carl Maria von WEBER (arr.
Ruler of the Spirits [7:12]
Franz SCHUBERT (arr.
Moment Musical [2:11]
Camille SAINT-SAËNS (arr.
The Fossils from Carnival of the Animals [1:24]
Sigvart DAGSLAND (arr.
Harry WARREN (arr.
Peter Il’yich TCHAIKOVSKY (arr.
Dance of the Buffoons [4:00]
Royal Tiger [2:40]
(soprano cornet)#; Lucy Pankhurst (tenor horn)*; Brendan
Leyland Band/Russell Gray
rec. 4-5 March 2006, Aspull Civic Hall, Wigan, UK. DDD
EGON CDSFZ135 [64:16]
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.
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.
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.
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?
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.
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.
the programme appeals, this is worth a listen.
Gerard Hoffnung CDs
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