At the minute I’m immersed in the quite wonderful playing of the then Yorkshire Building Society Brass Band on their triple CD ‘Kings of Europe.’
You’re probably aware by now that I’m a huge ‘bander’ and my in car playlist very rarely fails to feature a brass band CD of some sort. In the past 18 months or so I’ve gained more of a taste for the more serious side of the movements repertoire, in particularly enjoying the annual European Championship highlights CD, full of live performances. Kings of Europe is music taken from YBS’s performances at the this contest where, in the late 90’s and early 00’s, they won the championships seven times in eight years. A staggering achievement.
When you listen to this CD it’s easy to see why; Blitz (somehow only placed 8th, however), Montage, Concerto Grosso and many more get stellar performances. My own favourite is Tallis Variations, a quite wonderful reading with the most delicate of finales and Pageantry. Pageantry is by no means a great performance, in all fairness. However, sometime you need some luck and it seems like YBS got it on that performance. To me though, Pageantry is just a great piece, hence why it’s up there on my favourite track listings.
In short, this is a quite wonderful CD and, sadly, is now rather a commemorative work as the band is, although still a top level band, no longer reaching the great heights it did under the baton of Professor David King.
However, what a legacy to leave.