ROCHDALE MUSIC SOCIETY CONCERT 24.06.2023 PRINCE BISHOP’S BRASS
A REVIEW by GRAHAM MARSHALL
For the last in the Music Society’s 2022-23 Concert Series in Heywood Civic Centre Rochdale Music Society welcomed the five members of the County Palatine Durham’s Prince Bishop’s Brass. They brought with them a range of brass instruments - from the clear sounding top notes of the Soprano Trumpet to the rich bottom notes of the Bass Tuba - and in a varied programme of music from the early Baroque to the twenty-first century, they offered a colourful mixture of sonorities which kept the ears and brains of the large audience alert and satisfied.Beginning with the brilliant a colourful Fanfare written by Paul Dukas for a performance of his ballet, le Peri, in 1912, a suitably festive flourish with which to set the tone for an evening of resounding success, the five players - Chris Lewis and Anthony Thompson (Trumpets), Chris Senior (French Horn), Stuart Gray (Trombone) and Stephen Boyd (Tuba) - quickly established themselves as seriously accomplished performers. Dances from the set of over 300 published in the 17th century by Michael Praetorius, a spaced out Canzona by 16th century Gabrieli and a transcribed Prelude in G for Organ by J. S. Bach followed. The first half of the concert ended with one of the several Brass Quintets written by Viktor Ewald (1860-1935), a Russian engineer, architect and composer whose music is decidedly tuneful, warm hearted, and well worth being included in a concert such as this.
The second half of the concert began with an arrangement of Mozart’s Overture to the Marriage of Figaro. Its alluring musical mischief was finely displayed in virtuoso performances all round, the trumpets being particularly challenged by having to play passages as fast as the upper strings of a symphony orchestra. Then came the five movements of Joseph Horowitz’s Music Hall Suite from 1964. This very good humoured music, which encompasses all the tricks of the mid-20th century trade, again provided the players with opportunities to shine, which they did apparently effortlessly. Next, and in marked contrast, came Fauré’s Pavane, providing a suitable moment of emotional repose before the spectacular deep feeling and tragic feeling of the final work in the concert, Four Episodes from West Side Story (1960) by Leonard Bernstein, which produced the very fine display of Brass Quintet playing indeed.
To the delight of the audience the Prince Bishop’s Brass ensemble added a short Dizzie Gillespie piece as an encore.
The Rochdale Music Society’s next Season will begin with a concert at 7.30pm on Saturday, 23 September in St. Michael’s Parish Church, Bamford given by The CLS TRIO, Michael Shiu (piano), Johanna Leung (Clarinet) and Wai Sing Chang (cello). This will include Mussorgsky’s Pictures at an Exhibition and Clarinet Trios by Beethoven and Brahms. Further information about the Season and Ticketing matters can be found on the website www.rochdalemusicsociety.org .