Dimensions of brilliance on display in Birmingham
Another thrilling year begins
Black Dyke Band has launched into its busy itinerary for 2024 in grand style with two spectacular Town Hall concerts, firstly in Morley on the 13th January and then in Birmingham on the 21st. The word “brilliance” perfectly encapsulates the experience of listening to the band’s performances in both of these wonderful venues.
Soloists to the fore
As expected from the reigning National Champions, the playing and musical standards in evidence in Birmingham were exceptional. However, the brilliance extended well beyond that. Firstly, the band showcased their talented soloists, each of whom demonstrated world-class technique and sound. One standout performance was from Michael Cavanagh, the band’s Principal Baritone, who presented the 3rd movement of the Baritone Concerto by Martin Ellerby. Michael’s mature sound and dextrous technique was a joy to behold. This was a remarkable contribution to the programme and it was a rare treat to hear the Baritone featured as a solo instrument. Other soloistic contributions included Richard Marshall (Cornet), Siobhan Bates (Tenor Horn), Adam Bokaris (Euphonium) and Gareth Hands (Xylophone), all of whom were in sparkling form!
So much to enjoy
There was something for everyone in Birmingham, with a diverse range of musical styles presented. Personal highlights included the intricate and effective composition “Antiphonies” by Oliver Waespi, the thrilling “Above and Beyond” by Paul Lovett-Cooper, and the classic “Finale to the New World Symphony” by Dvorak.
Another dimension of brilliance was demonstrated through the band’s stagecraft. Despite the abundance of movement during the concert, everything was so well thought through, organised and disciplined. It was akin to a Swiss watch, where all the moving parts work in perfect collaboration and harmony with each other.
A fitting conclusion
Music Director Professor Nicholas Childs chose to bring the afternoon to a close with the most moving rendition of “I’ll Walk with God”, by Nicholas Brodzsky and featured in the film ‘The Student Prince’. This arrangement is by Goff Richards and my goodness, what a glorious sound, enjoyed by an appreciative audience in the splendid acoustic and majestic grandeur of the Birmingham Town Hall.
The next opportunity to hear the band is on 27th January, as it participates in the Royal Northern College of Music’s International Brass Band Festival.