Review: ‘Celebrating Remembrance Sunday’ Aireborough Rotary’s Brass Band Concert with the Hepworth Band conducted by Frank Renton at Yeadon Town Hall

There was a good start to the concert with a selection of Great British Marches which included the British Grenadiers, Lilliburlero, Donkey Riding and Rule Britannia.

The Concerto for Cornet and Band featured the first of Jamie Smith’s solos. There were three contrasting movements and the applause from the band showed how much they respected their soloist.

Shepherds Hey was a familiar country dance.

The second lengthy piece was Salvationist Eric Ball’s ‘Resurgam’ translated as ‘I will rise again’. Frank Renton’s introduction to the audience included ‘to stay with it’. Described as a tone poem with several sections and themes, solos for both cornets and euphonium were intertwined with ensemble playing in a continuous movement that was both relentless and restless.

The second half got off to a jolly start with March Praise.

A poignant story about George Butterworth, who studied at The Royal College of Music and was already a talented composer, enlisted in the local regiment and was sadly killed in France in 1916 at the age of 31. His famous idyll, Banks of Green Willow, had a dreamy quality and the lilting melody was skilfully passed around the band by various soloists.

Jamie’s next solo unfairly entitled Charivari [meaning “bits and pieces that amount to nothing”] was firstly based on the tune “Granada”. There followed a slower section in which there was a duologue with the euphonium playing “Dark Eyes” and rounding off with “Granada “ again.

The Little Fugue in G minor by Bach, originally written for the organ, started off with a solo cornet ,closely followed by different sections of the band and ended majestically with the aid of the timps.

Jamie’s final appearance showed his beautiful legato playing of My Love is Like a Red, Red Rose.

Irving Berlin’s Let’s Face the Music and Dance, followed by Sweet Georgia Brown showed the band’s versatility with Razzmatazz and included glockenspiel, drum kit and timps.

The Pines of the Appian Way by Respighi was a real showstopper with which to end the concert. It started with muted bass instruments and plodding timps representing the Roman army marching. The dynamics gradually built up and eventually the mutes came off. The whole thing ended with an enormous crescendo which almost shook the Town Hall foundations.

As an antidote the encore was the serene La Fille aux Cheveux de Lin by Debussy which sent the audience home happy and relaxed.