BASBWE London Festival - Saturday 24th March 2012
XBY Concert Band (Dennis Mycroft - cond.)
XBY Concert Band and Dennis Mycroft gave splendid performances of two new pieces, but started with Timothy Mahr's Imprints (Kjos Conservatory), written in 1991 to depict his mentor at College. This has an impressive opening and was very well handled by the band.
Joy Ellis's A December Day on Cocoa Beach was our second BASBWE competition piece, and a deserved winner amongst excellent finalists. Joy deftly conjured up a splendid sound world, ably illustrating the unusual landscape and wildlife around the JFK space centre.
Philip Sparke's Savannah Symphony then received its first UK performance. XBY were comfortable, assured and powerful in handling this impeccably crafted work. It contains all Sparke's customary colour and presentation, but includes some quite new sounds - notably the excellent depiction of the Cotton gin (mill) in the middle movement, and the off stage trumpets in a different key in the last movement - along with Sparke's trademark warmth and melodic gift, most notably in the opening 'settler's melody' which returns in the third movement to mark post-civil war reconciliation.
The band concluded with the ever popular Global Variations by Nigel Hess. If you're looking for entertaining light music that's properly written for band then do this and not selections from shows!