Thursday, July 2, 2009

Review of the Corn Exchange concert - 20 June 2009

Bravo Beenham

Beenham Band’s first decade was celebrated by a large and appreciative Corn Exchange audience. Beginning with a ‘Flourish’, a fanfare written by Vaughan Williams, this set the tone for the commissioned work ‘Jubilation’ by the 16 year old Lloyd Coleman, a student at Chetham’s School of Music. This young clarinettist is a member of NYO and winner of the BBC Proms Young Composers’ Competition. The band rose to the technical demands of the swift style changes and complex metre.

Now came the turn of their principal conductor, Robert Roscoe. ‘Gallimaufry’ as its name suggests is a ‘jumble’ of musical material put together from Henry IV plays by Guy Woolfenden, RSC Director of Music for many years. It had the feel of early music featuring double reeds, percussion ostinatos and a lively xylophone display.

In the same vein, ‘New Baroque Suite’ was baroque in structure but with a jazzy twist. Particularly enjoyable were solos from the trumpet and soprano saxophone.

The ‘tour de force’ came in the performance from Swedish born Torbjorn Hultmark, a local professional musician, teacher and composer. ‘Variations sur Le Carnaval de Venise’ was composed in the mid 19th century by Jean Baptiste Arban and this wind band version was arranged by Torbjorn himself. Arban was a virtuoso cornet player and wrote this as a technical display. To begin we were treated to a sensitively and lyrically moulded melody. Each variation built increasing displays of musical athleticism executed with accuracy and style. A stunning performance.

From Venice we move to Paris for ‘Sketches’ by Martin Ellerby. Notable was the 3rd movement reminiscent of Satie’s ‘Gymnopedie’. Then across the Atlantic to New York with Bernstein’s ‘West Side Story ‘Selection. Gloriously self-indulgent with luscious tunes like ‘Maria’ and ‘Tonight’.

The evening ended dramatically with a Wind Band version of Orff’s ‘Carmina Burana’ arranged by Krance. The brassy drive in ‘O Fortuna’ contrasted the delicately phrased solo oboe in ‘Dulcissime’. The strain of this demanding work showed in some rhythmic instability despite Roscoe’s clear beat and cues.

What a credit to all those responsible for Beenham Band’s first 10 years.

Judith Cooper June 20,2009

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