BASBWE London Festival - Saturday 24th March 2012
The Band of the Grenadier Guards (Jens Lindemann - trumpet, Captain Michael Smith and Major Darren Wolfendale - cond.)
The Band of the Grenadier Guards, assisted by members of the Coldstream Guards with Captain Michael Smith and Major Darren Wolfendale offered a leaner, more powerful sound which was an interesting contrast to Bromley Youth Concert Band, who had performed in the first half of the gala concert.
Rob Wiffin's Grenadiers, derived from a variety of familiar military tunes, provided a stylish opener, followed by a meticulously prepared Comedy Overture by John Ireland, 50 years since his death. The band was carefully balanced with excellent clarity of presentation, the music really does work as well for wind band as for brass band or orchestra.
Earthrise by Nigel Clark was reviewed in March 2012 Winds. It displayed its brass band ancestry more clearly than the Ireland, notably in the central section where the cadenzas remain attached to the brass instruments. The effectiveness of its propulsive power is unquestionable, but I did wonder whether the power of the trumpet array was a little overstated.
Trumpet virtuoso Jens Lindemann then erupted on the scene, introducing himself in most entertaining fashion and going on to give an amazing display of virtuosity and musicianship. His chosen vehicle was fellow Canadian Alan Gilliland's Dreaming of the Masters III.
Gilliland is himself a former jazz trumpeter and this concerto is the third (for different instruments) presenting a panoply of jazz, blues and Latin. The concerto was written to show off Lindemann's superbly versatile technique and musicianship via a variety of musical styles using trumpet (a nice new blue one), flugelhorn and cornet. Everyone in the hall was bowled away by the humour, the strength of character, the innate musicianship and the amazing technical virtuosity, in music that had character, style, pace and contrast.
In conclusion the military musicians were joined by the Youth Band for a rowsing Stars and Stripes along with Rossano Galante's Resplendent Glory, a Hollywood style peroration ideally suited to this grandiose ending from over 100 massed wind players, but a great concert closer and a fitting end to a wonderful day.