Pattaya resonates to the sound of brass


Brass bands…like Marmite, you either love it or hate it.  From the attendance on Sunday 26th October at the Parkview Rooms in Siam Bayshore a lot of people like them.

Pattaya International Ladies Club (PILC) in co-operation with Pattaya Classical Music (PCM) presented one of the UK’s most outstanding and successful brass bands, The Desford Colliery Brass Band.

Starting with an arrangement of the HM the King’s anthem they then went into the first piece: “Fanfare and Flourishes for a Festive Occasion” by James Curnow.  What a way to open any concert… it is a spectacular short work that mixes all the pageantry of a military tattoo with the well known “Te Deum” by Charpentier.  The latter being the theme for the Eurovision Song Contest.

The Desford Colliery Brass Band performed at Siam Bayshore in Pattaya on Oct. 26.The Desford Colliery Brass Band performed at Siam Bayshore in Pattaya on Oct. 26.

Following this they played what is probably the most famous of all pieces by Franz Von Suppe, “The Light Cavalry Overture” and looking around there was a lot of foot tapping going on.

In contrast, the next piece by Franz Schubert was the gentle and evocative “Ave Maria”

Then came Philip Sparke’s “Madrigalum” the title derived from Madrigal, in true style it opens with percussion and then a solo trumpet fanfare based on a rhythmic figure (a long and two short notes) with various sections repeating this until it moves into a fast coda to finish.

Cornet Soloist Lucien Ray now had his chance to shine in an interpretation of “Concert Etude” that was met with thunderous applause.

This was followed by “Canterbury Chorale” a quiet piece with broad tones that was inspired by a visit to Canterbury Cathedral.

In contrast came Major George Willcock’s “The Champions”, originally written for the Black Dyke Mills Band.  The last section features the hymn tune Maccabeus.

Penultimately in the first half we were treated to a beautiful rendition of “Myfanwy” by Joseph Parry.  It is a woman’s name and means beloved.

Finally came J.S. Bach’s “Toccata in D Minor” arranged by Ray Farr.  Starting in the conventional way, it moved into an almost jazz like centre before giving us back to the Toccata for a rousing finale.

During the interval the Band members came into the foyer where they could mix with and talk with the audience.

The second half opened with another piece by James Curnow, “Blenheim Flourishes”.  This is an advanced work and is often used as a test piece in competitions.

Following this was “Soli Deo Gloria” (glory to God alone) by William Himes.

In contrast “Hungarian Dance” by Johannes Brahms had the feet tapping again.

An evocative rendition by trombone soloist John Barber of “Autumn Leaves” was greeted with ecstatic applause (this ensured that every one of his CDs was sold).

Next came another gentle piece “Letter from Home” followed by an exercise in euphonium playing by soloist James Mcleod.  This piece, “Brillante”, tests the ability of the player and has the theme of “Rule Britannia” within it, but with a twist in the middle it becomes “Men of Harlech” before reaching the climax.

The penultimate piece “Mansions of The Lord” will be familiar to cinema goers as it was written for the 2002 film ‘We Were Soldiers’.

The climax of the evening was a combination of “America” and “Somewhere” from West Side Story and apart from the foot tapping there were a few surreptitious hands wiping tears from eyes during this rendition.

The end of the concert… No, no, no because the band launched into not one but two rousing encores to finish and be subsequently greeted with a standing ovation.