A stunning array of many of the top brass bands in the country will make up the Royal Northern College of Music’s Festival of Brass at the end of January 2016.
Top bands Cory, Black Dyke, Grimethorpe, Fairey, Fodens and Tredegar, led by starry conductors, will be joined by the RNCM’s own brass band, to celebrate, among other works, the outstanding contribution to the brass band repertoire made by John McCabe. Five of his works will be performed. The iconic Cloudcatcher Fells (Saturday 30th 11.30am – Fairey Band) will be followed at 3pm by Tredegar (Desert II: Horizon). On Sunday 31st, at 11.30am the RNCM Brass Band will perform The Maunsell Forts, followed at 3pm by Images (Cory) and at 6.30pm by Salamander, opening the final concert, by Grimethorpe. Other brass band composers to be celebrated will include the nearly 90 year-old Joseph Horovitz, and Michael Ball, at 70.
For lovers of brass band music, and admirers of the extraordinary skills of these remarkable players, this will be the extravaganza of the year, and will bring some much-needed brilliance to the otherwise dismal winter of 2015/16. Cloudcatcher Fells was written in the Lake District, and John said that the area around Patterdale, at the end of Ullswater, was his favourite place on earth. He would have been so sad to see the devastation wrought by this winter’s floods, and I hope that this Festival will help to make the sun shine for the locals, and for brass-lovers everywhere.
© Monica McCabe, January 6th 2016