Pershore Midsummer Brass Festival
6th July 2012
Jaguar Land Rover under the baton of Dave Lea closed the feast of musical entertainment at Pershore Abbey as part of the town’s popular Midsummer festival.
The band has been a regular visitor to the event since 1990, and this year provided two concert programmes (they made a quick dash over from the Angel Inn to make it in time for a 9.45pm start) that featured a wide variety of genres and high class solo contributions.
The lively Angel Inn audience had already enjoyed a long day brass band entertainment before Jaguar squeezed into the open ended marquee to add a touch of well rehearsed gloss with excellent solos from Lara Jones on horn with ‘The Piper O’ Dundee’ and trombonist Kevin Lea with a cracking rendition of ‘Mona Lisa’.
The whizz bang ‘Armenian Fire Dance’ brought things to a well oiled close (for everyone concerned, as the bar takings must have been astronomical), before the band picked up their instruments to decamp to the magnificent Abbey, for a slightly less imbibed climax to the day.
There was a fine crowd packed into the hardy pews as Dave Lea unveiled an intelligent selection of music that fitted neatly into the lively acoustic of the Gothic architecture of the old building.
Philip Sparke’s arrangement of the Neil Diamond classic ‘America’ worked well, with the MD keeping a tight leash on the dynamics to emphasis a flexible appreciation of style, before a little gem in the form of the rarely heard Norwegian composition, ‘The Valdres March’ – once again played with an intelligent combination of precision and flexibility.
Cornet soloist Paul White delivered a finely controlled performance of ‘Meditation from Thais’, which was followed by the band’s sensitive playing of ‘Hine e Hine’ played by request and in memory of the brother of a band member.
‘Dundonnell’ from ‘Hymn of the Highlands’ brought a touch Celtic passion to the usually more refined airs and graces of this well heeled Worcestershire town, before principal euphonium Ian Wright delivered a very classy account of ‘Bring Him Home’ from ‘Les Miserables’.
All that was left was for a very appropriate finisher in the form of ‘Glorifico Aeternum’, delivered with a balanced thump of ensemble quality.
With the final notes ringing out on the stroke of 10.30pm, there was just enough time for a soft drink and chin wag before the journey home for an audience that had enjoyed a long day of highly enjoyable music making.