"Bramley and Little London Music Festival
Fine Arts Brass
St James’s Church, Bramley
THE audience was treated to much more than brass music at the opening night of the Bramley and Little London Music Festival – including the first performance of a new piece.
While the audience was still welcoming the five-piece Fine Arts Brass, the musicians began their energetic and fierce opening number, complete with rhythmic clapping and shouting, entitled Haka, by Philip Wilby.
There to make an impression the five talented musicians – consisting of two trumpeters, a trombone player who was seven-months pregnant, a horn and a tuba player – played music ranging from Handel’s Queen of Sheba to Gershwin’s Porgy and Bess.
They stuck to British composers in the first half, branching out to European and American in the second, and before each piece, the packed-out audience was treated to an informal and humorous insight into the music by Simon Lenton, on the trumpet.
All the pieces, that is, except for Arthur Butterworth’s Sligo Fair, which was commissioned especially for this year’s festival.
Lenton quipped: “You should never talk to an audience about a new piece before you play it, but you should tell them how long it is.” His colleagues then gave a great performance of the joyful piece of music, inspired by the words of WB Yeats’ poem The Fiddler of Dooney.
Before the interval, Frank Renton, presenter of BBC Radio Two’s Listen to the Band, spoke about his first meeting with Butterworth – who taught him how to transpose music – and presented a copy of the transcript to the wife of Ian Mason Hill, to whom the evening’s concert was dedicated.
The repertoire, which included William Mathias’ Summer Dances, Leonard Bernstein’s Candide, and a beautifully played Farewell to Stromness by Peter Maxwell Davies, among many others, was full of variety, consisting of many short pieces so that the audience was kept enraptured.
Talented entertainers as well as first-class musicians, Fine Arts Brass closed the concert with The Tiger Rag, getting the audience to clap and sing along, before a stunning encore performance of the notoriously difficult Flight of The Bumblebee.
The three-day festival also featured Romanian pianist Madalina Rusu, award-winning choral octet Voces8 and harpist Vicky Lester." - Basingstoke Gazette