The four young people of The Rosamund Brass Quartet are Seb Williman cornet, Adam Hofland-Ward cornet, Georgia Woodhead tenor horn and Alex Barron euphonium. They are all students at the Royal Northern College of Music and appeared by the kind permission of that College.
This was the third concert in our series and what a concert this was, full of interesting music, some familiar and some new to the audience.
The concert began with Joel Kirk’s Scherzo Piccolo, this was originally a work for brass sextet before being arranged by the composer for Rosamund Brass, in many ways this piece is a homage to the late great Derek Bourgeois.running as one continuous movement, the piece is primarily comprised of both ‘Tango-’ and ‘March-’ influenced themes and also a ‘romanza’ theme (described by Alex as “cheesy!”) infused into one another.
I wouldn’t normally build a review around one piece of music, but in this case, I must really single out Jonathan Bates “This Is the Place”. It is in four parts I Sisterhood Pride, Moss Side evokes the Suffragette movement, II From the Sea, a rush wind blowing, Hulme ; this sounded very Pentecostal and I loved the lyricism of this section. III was Thunderdome, Miles Platting; with Acid House Music backing from the laptop, this was very exciting. But the most moving section was IV In Memoriam. This is the Place …Albert Square. The backing for this section was part of Tony Walsh’s wonderful poem This is the Place. I make no apology for quoting bits of it here:
“This is the place in the North West of England
It’s ace, it’s the best and the songs that we sing
From the stands, from our bands set the whole planet shaking
Our inventions are legends! There’s nowt we can’t make and
So we make brilliant music. We make brilliant bands
We make goals that make souls leap from seats in the stands
And we make things from steel and we make things from cotton
And we make people laugh, take the mick summat rotten”
The music was really an elegy for things past and in particular I thought of the 2017 Manchester Bombing and thinking of that was moved to tears.
“Because this is a place that has been through some hard times
Oppressions, recessions, depressions and dark times
But we keep fighting back with Greater Manchester spirit
Northern grit, northern wit in Greater Manchester’s lyrics
And there’s hard times again in these streets of our city
But we won’t take defeat and we don’t want your pity
Because this a place where we stand strong together
With a smile on our face, Mancunians Forever”
Discussing this at the interval with one of our members, his opinion was that this was the best piece of modern music that he has heard this year. I wholeheartedly agreed with him.
This was followed by Eric Ball’s “Jewels” and had a more traditional feel to it and then Karl Jenkins’ Hymn & Palladio, this was beautifully played and brought me down to earth again.
During the interval the audience enjoyed mince pies, wine and soft drinks and really entering into the Christmas spirit.
The second half opened with Blue by Thomas Ganach followed in swift succession by Mozart’s Andante from the Sonata for bassoon and cello arranged by Alex and played by Alex on the euphonium and Georgia on the tenor horn. Then Peter Graham’s A Capella Duets played by Seb and Adam on cornets, first “Energico”, then “Scoot” with euphonium and cornet. These short duets were written during lockdown in the 2020 pandemic and feature music from some of Peter Graham’s most famous works for brass band: and then a “Time for Love” with cornet and tenor horn. The duos ended with William Alwyn’s splendid Fugue on an Indian Scale, arranged by Alex.
This was followed by Joseph Horowitz’s Variations on a Theme of Paganini, being a set of variations on Paganini’s famous Caprice 24. The concert then became very Christmassy with Leroy Anderson’s Sleigh Ride, arranged by Alex, Robert Wells’ The Christmas Song arranged by Seb. The concert ended with Alex’s arrangement of Bizet’s Farandole, the 4th movement of the L’Arlesienne Suite and this was very much in keeping with the Christmas spirit.
The Rosamunds are to be congratulated on a thoughtful, interesting and moving programme of music. Their playing throughout was superb and I found them to be engaging and delightful personalities