Regent Brass and Regent Community Brass presented a joint concert at our rehearsal venue, Chalk Farm Salvation Army hall, last night where we shared each other’s preparations for the upcoming London and Southern Counties regional finals (the ‘Areas’). We were invited by the Salvation Army to put on the event, which was free and attended by members of the community, including some of the homeless from the surrounding area, which the Army does so much to support.
Our sister band, Regent Community Brass – under their new Musical Director, Simon Tong – were first to present their programme. The musical offering opened with the popular march ‘Ravenswood’, followed by a beautiful arrangement of Eric Whitacre’s ‘Lux Aurumque’ from the pen of Sandy Smith. The program continued with Goff Richards’ perennial ‘Trailblaze’ and concluded with their set Regional Test Piece, Gordon Langford’s ‘Facets of Glass’.
A well deserved break followed, during which members of both bands enjoyed cake and refreshments which were offered by the Salvation Army – and an associated cash collection raised a useful £220 contribution to the Army’s current appeal for the people of Ukraine, supporting them during the current crisis.
The second part of the concert program was devoted to Regent Brass. The band opened their program with a lesser known piece from the pen of Gilbert Vinter, ‘Challenging Brass’ which was commissioned for the BBC in 1967. Following this, Regent’s featured soloist was our Flugel horn player, Peter Desmond. Peter chose to perform Astor Piazzolla’s dramatic work ‘Oblivion’ which is a highly demanding solo item, featuring a huge dynamic range and very sustained playing at extreme range. Driven by style, panache and care, this was playing of the utmost class.
The third item in Regent’s program was the performance of our contest piece, Gilbert Vinter’s ‘Spectrum’. Written to depict the colours of the spectrum, the music offers everything from an ascending shaft of white light, into a dramatic and pacy ‘Red’, and then a variety of other colours and styles, finally concluding in a dramatic ‘Purple’ which was included by Vinter at the time of the composition in place of his planned ‘Violet’ conclusion (which was never completed) after he received a terminal cancer diagnosis. After it’s composition, ‘Spectrum’ was then used at the subsequent British Open contest of 1969 at Belle Vue, which Vinter was unable to attend due to his illness – he died on 10th October 1969, just over one month after the contest where his work was premiered. Regent performed the work confidently and the effort in rehearsals and personal practice is clearly showing as the performance was coherent and well judged.
The band then featured an arrangement from the pen of Harry Weir, one of Regent’s euphonium players, of the Florence Price work ‘Adoration’. Harry’s special arrangement is exclusive to Regent Brass and this performance was the world premiere of his work. We concluded the main band set with a trip through ‘Dance of the Tumblers’ from the opera ‘The Snow Maiden’ by Rimsky-Korskov.
With the current situation in Ukraine high in the thoughts of everyone, the evening concluded with a benediction from Major Michael Kinnear remembering the people of Ukraine, after which the massed bands performed an arrangement the Ukrainian national anthem.