Regent Brass ODBBA Winter Contest 2020
22 February 2020 - 23 February 2020  
Marlborough School (MEC) Shipton Road Woodstock, Oxfordshire, OX20 1LP
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Regent Brass ODBBA Winter Contest 2020

Regent Brass will be participating in both the Championship section and the First sections competitions during the ODBBA Winer Contest 2020

The own choice test piece for the Championship section will be Elgar Howarth's Fireworks and the own voice test piece for the First section will be Tom Davoren Legacy

Notes about the repertoire

Fireworks was published in 1975 and performed at the British Open Band Contest in 1976. Such was the furore amongst the brass band community (many conductors thought it 'undesirable') the following years saw the Open revert touch more conservative fayre such as Percy Fletcher's Epic Symphony, G. Bailey are Frank Wright Diadem of Gold and Berlioz Benvenuto Cellini.

It was around the mid-1970’s that Elgar Howarth was perhaps at his most radical in the way in which he brought to the brass band a new and almost revolutionary change in musical perspective. The conservative elements that even today hold back the movement were even stronger then and pieces such as Grimethorpe Aria were considered so way out that they had no place in the brass band movement's development. For all the success and innovation he brought to contests such as Granada Band of the Year Howarth has been poorly treated by those who still believe that brass banding should still reflect a rather more traditional approach to music making.

Tom Davoren Legacy

The idea for Legacy was originally conceived in 2018 as a short work celebrating the life and achievements of Welsh politician Aneurin Bevan and the 70th Anniversary of the British National Health Service. The work was commissioned by Tredegar Town Band, supported by funding from Ty Cerdd, and premiered in the Speaker's Room of the Houses of Parliament featuring their soprano cornet soloist, Ian Roberts. This test piece version, created for the 2020 Regional Brass Band Championships of Great Britain, was born from my desire to tell a more complete version of Bevan's story.

In three continuous sections Legacy is not only symbolic of Bevan's aspirational politics and character, but also of the experience of anyone whose life has been impacted by our NHS; something of which I can speak of personally. The primary goal of the piece is to present bands with music that offers them the opportunity to create a performance with feeling as its driver. Whilst a sound foundation in technique is obviously required to achieve this convincingly, creating a complete emotional picture should be the primary concern of bands and conductors.

The opening represents a need waiting to be filled. Whilst the pace, rhythmic content, colour and dynamic layout of the music seeks to create an atmosphere of foreboding, the choice of interval, style and phrase length of the melody is designed to offer a constant sense of underlying assurance. The central section is very much the core of the piece, representing the balance of hope and adversity as experienced by anyone who has been touched directly by our NHS. Again, it's a pacing of tension through dynamic, orchestration and in intensity of execution, that seeks to create this feeling. The final section is a march to progress, representing Bevan's relentless championing of social justice. Hopefully fittingly, the music here is generated entirely from material born in the earlier sections of the piece.

No society can legitimately call itself civilised if a sick person is denied medical aid because of lack of means. (Aneurin Bevan, 1952)

Tom Davoren (Cardiff / Brooklyn, 2019)
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