New music on show at RWCMD

Cory Band is preparing for its annual concert celebrating new composition for brass band at the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama in Cardiff this weekend (Sat 26th May, 7.45pm).

The three shortlisted pieces for the RWCMD Cory Composition Prize will all be performed in the first half of the concert, and judged by John Wallace, Liz Lane and Nigel Seaman. The prize money is provided again by a generous donation from Kapitol Promotions. Bop! has been composed by Matthew Shaw, a RNCM graduate who now plays with the Eccles Band, as well as conducting the Goldborne Band. He describes his piece as “A lively funk opener, infused with catchy dance rhythms, a soulful bluesy solo section, a passionate Argentine tango, finished off with a ferocious funk-off between soprano cornet and solo trombone, all powered along by driving percussion and some seriously infectious bass lines!”

Stephen Wood is the composer of Autumn Hill, a “pastoral type composition featuring themes on cornet and euphonium.” Stephen is currently Head of Brass at Wakefield Music Service.

The third piece is called The Spirit of St Louis by Andrew Wainwright, who is the Deputy Divisional Music Director for the Salvation Army in Texas. The music has a specific programme relating to the first solo non-stop Transatlantic flight, undertaken by Charles Lindbergh in 1927.

Cory Band Musical Director Philip Harper commented: “We certainly have a very varied shortlist – almost a concert within a concert. As the standard was very high this year, I could easily have chosen double this number, but the rules are the rules! Whichever of these three pieces wins will be an excellent addition to our concert programmes, and then for all bands to play for many years.”

Philip continued: “As well as the competition part of the evening, we have in recent years also aimed to feature a major original piece for band during the evening. This year is no exception, and there is bound to be a lot of interest surrounding our performance of Scottish composer Jay Capperauld’s new piece As Above, So Below during which we will be joined by the work’s commissioning group, The Wallace Collection, and its dedicatee John Wallace.

“The piece is interesting on all levels – a 20-minute magnum opus based on the cryptic text of the Emerald Tablet, written by a mysterious character from the dawn of civilisation, Hermes Trismegistus. The brass quintet plays in elevated positions (as above – in the heavens) and the band plays on the stage (so below – on earth). The text of the Emerald Tablet is frequently brought to life by the musicians, who alternately whisper, speak and shout it throughout the piece, and the sound-world is further augmented with the use of handbells and chains. Rehearsals have been very engaging and, after a fine world premiere with the Dalmellington Band conducted by Martyn Brabbins last year, I think our audience is in for a performance which will provide much to discuss during the interval!”

“As well as all of the new pieces, we will also be performing some concert favourites, such as the overture to Verdi’s La Forza del Destino, William German’s march The President and The Pines of the Appian Way by Respighi, as well as solos from RWCMD graduate Ailsa Russell (tenor horn) and Chris Thomas (trombone).”

Tickets are available from the RWCMD box office on 029 2039 1391 or online.

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