Atlantic Crossing – true, all true, as next weekend sees this exciting bunch of musicians giving their all in New York.
As ever Keith Allen and the Birmingham Symphonic Winds turned up trumps with an exhilarating, innovative programme.
One admires promotion of new compositions by this splendid ensemble. Eleven works this evening including five specially commissioned. Brave indeed, with each delivering musical imagination and interest to the delight of the capacity audience.
The programme was totally accessible, beginning with an exuberant blast for full band: Sparke’s Second City Ceremony. Possibly more contrast in expression would have worked wonders in the Hess Shakespeare Pictures, but Woolfenden’s Divertimento charmed with spiky toccata and pleasing solo snatches.
Percussion soloist Simone Rebello starred in Ellerby’s The Canticle of the Sun. An anticipated array of instruments graced the stage, but thankfully slick technique compensated for physical movement between them.
Vibraphone chords and marimaba tremolos looked good, but often inaudible. Intriguing interplay between band percussionists gave interesting dimensions with solo elements.
Jenkin’s Euphonium Concerto: beautifully mellifluous, to a Cossack dance and troika. A triumph for soloist David Childs delivering a wide variety of intriguing sounds and captivating pyrotechnics.
Finally both soloists joined in foot-tapping Sousa, finishing with stormy approval by all.
Rating * * * * *