wednesday, 21 december 2016

Across the decades of brass band history, the finest music composed with contest performance in mind has often become estalbished in the concert repertory of brass bands. However,  music conceived primarily for concert performance has rarely found its way onto the contest stage at the elite level. Imagine my surprise, then, when some months ago I received an email from the Norwegian Band Federation to inform me that a work which I devised as a pièce d'occasion - the centenary of the birth of composer Michael Tippett in 2005 - for performance by Foden's Band and Bramwell Tovey at the annual RNCM Brass Band Festival in Manchester had been selected by the Norwegian Band Federation as the set work for the Norwegian Brass Band Championships (3 February, Grieg Hall, Bergen). With five composers each contributing a variation on a little processional march from Michael Tippett's opera The Midsummer Marriage  - Bramwell Tovey, Edward Gregson, Michael Ball, Elgar Howarth and Philip Wilby - Variations on a Theme of Michael Tippett must be one of the most unusual test-pieces ever set. It's going to be fascinating to hear how this unique collaborative work will be approached by the ten bands in the Elite Division. 

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