SATURDAY 20TH OCTOBER 2018
St Peter’s Church
Kensington Park Road
London W11 2PN
TICKETS £10/£5 on the door or online https://www.wegottickets.com/event/451920
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Elgar Howarth Music from an Elizabethan Court
Erik Leidzen Happy Day (soloist: Paul Archibald)
Richard Rodney Bennett The Flowers of the Forest
Dean Goffin Light of the World
Peter Yarde Martin Fabulous Gecko (soloist: Adrian Parker)
John McCabe Cloudcatcher Fells
It’s exciting times for Regent Brass at the moment. Based in Wembley the band are now part of the top-tier of brass banding in the UK having been promoted to the Championship section for 2019. This means, of course, the players need to be right on top of their game to maintain consistency at the highest level of contesting but, it also gives us the opportunity to reflect on the direction the band should take in the coming years.
Brass bands are not all about contesting of course. Since the early 19C brass bands have been a vibrant part of the community beginning as part of the effort to provide working class men, primarily in the northern industrial provinces of England, a social and cultural outlet. From these very humble beginnings many of today’s top class bands consist of highly skilled musicians of professional calibre.
As part of the artistic development of Regent Brass the band is focussing on original music by well-established composers and introducing and commissioning new works from young composers who are making their mark as professional writers.
The programme begins with Elgar Howarth’s treatment of three pieces taken from the Fitzwilliam Virginal Book, the primary source of keyboard music from the late Elizabethan and early Jacobean periods in England, Music From an Elizabetheh Court. Erik Leidzen’s cornet solo, Happy Day, is a real classic and one of the composer’s most well known works. Originally born in Sweden, Leidzen emigrated to the US where he influenced the next generation of American brass composers including Stephen Bulla and Bruce Broughton.
Richard Rodney Bennett’s The Flowers of the Forest, was commissioned by the BBC for performance by the National Youth Brass Band at the 1989 BBC Promenade concerts at the Royal Albert Hall, conducted by Sir Charles Groves. The work is based on a folksong, The Flowers of the Forest, believed to date from 1513, the time of the Battle of Flodden, in the course of which the archers of the Forest (a part of Scotland) were killed almost to a man.
Dean Goffin was one of New Zealand’s most prolific Salvation Army composers and spent much of his life working as Salvation Army officer, holding the positions of National Bandmaster and National Secretary for Bands and Songster Brigades, eventually returning to New Zealand as Territorial Commander. He was knighted in the 1983 Queens Birthday Honours List. Light of the World, based on Holman Hunt’s painting of the figure of Jesus preparing to knock on an overgrown and long-unopened door, is perhaps one of the most moving and emotional pieces in the Salvation Army canon.
Peter Yarde Martin is a super-talented young composer whose music has been played by orchestras such as London Philharmonic Orchestra, BBC Symphony Orchestra and Britten Sinfonia. His compostions explore spaces connecting the disparate musical world in which he works: experimental and familiar, old and new, sacred and secular. Fabulous Gecko for solo tuba and brass band (2016) was premiered by Barnet Youth Band with Jonathan Beresford at Moss Hall in 2016 and shows the lighter side of Peter’s writing.
The final work in the programme is perhaps one of the greatest pieces written for brass band, John McCabe’s Cloudcatcher Fells. Commissioned by Boosey & Hawkes as the test piece for the 1985 National Brass Band Championships the work comprises four movements played continuously. Each movement consists of sections associated with mountainous places, mostly in the area of Patterdale in the English Lake District.