What’s on my iPod No. 4

With the Regional contesting season back with us – starting today in Blackpool with the North West Areas – I’ve been listening to what, for me, is one of the best years for regional test pieces. 

In 2008 I dropped for the Band of the Cheshire Constabulary in the 4th section where the piece was the charming Four Cities Symphony. It was fun, tuneful and playable; a great choice for band and audience alike. In contrast, the 3rd section item, The Dark Side of the Moon, was an audience friendly price but, at twelve minutes long, was not quite so playable by bands of that section. 

I’m not a huge fan of the second section piece from that year so, in all honesty, I skip through it but the top two sections… wow! Firstly, James Cook Circumnavigator is a great piece for first section bands, full of challenge and melodies that once more poses interest for players and watchers. There’s also a bit that reminds me of Legend of Zelda too!

The highlight of the disc though is music from the master; Eric Ball. His Festival Music is something else. Brass Band contest pieces the way they should be – none of these modern ‘blastathons’ that just reward big sounds. There is music to be found, music to be made. 

What a treat it must have been to hear the best bands play at the various regional contests across the country. 

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