BRITISH WIND BAND SOUND
Review of Bläserphilharmonie Süd-West
Conductors Tim Reynish & Jessica Kun
Marshall L’Homm Armé
Hesketh Danceries 2
Gorb Dances from Crete
August 8, 8pm, Pruem - Karolingerhalle
August 9, 7pm, Ludwigshafen - Philharmonie
August 10, 6pm, Koblenz - Goerreshaus
Bläserphilharmonie Süd-West under the direction of Tim Reynish and Jessica V. Kun in the Ludwigshafen ″Philharmonie″
In the ″Philharmonie″ in Ludwigshafen, where the ″Staatsphilharmonie″ have their rehearsal room, the Blaeserphilharmonie Süd-West were visiting. The ensemble, specialising in symphonic band music, presented an exciting concert under the direction of Tim Reynish and Jessica Kun, who took turns on the rostrum. At the end there was a lot of applause for a great performance.
There is a long tradition of ″Brass Bands″, of large wind bands in England who are dedicated to high-quality compositions. So the genre of symphonic wind band music developed which soon spread on the Continent as well. This also led to a very special repertoire.
In 1995, the ″Blaeserphilharmonie Sued-West″ was founded with skilled musicians mainly from Rhineland-Palatinate and adjoining regions to spread symphonic wind band music in the southwest of Germany. The members are students of music, young professional musicians and gifted amateurs. They meet twice a year for residential courses and concerts.
In Ludwigshafen the orchestra was directed by two conductors from the Anglo-Saxon area. Tim Reynish, an Englishman, is considered one of the leading conductors of symphonic wind music world-wide. His experience in dealing with wind ensembles and especially with young people can be felt in every bar and every gesture. He acts on the rostrum with unobtrusive authority and a British sense of humour and you can feel that the musicians like playing under his direction. So they do under the direction of Jessica Kun. The Canadian is the conductor of the Wilfrid Laurier univerxity wind orchestra and the Richmond Hill Philharmonic Orchestra in Ontario. She acted with consummate ease with the Bläserphilharmonie Süd-West who presented themselves as an orchestra on a high level, playing precisely with a clear sound full of subtle nuances and various beautiful solo passages – outstanding playing from the cor anglais and the alto saxophone should be mentioned. The percussion section did a very good job as well.
Some wind bands also offer popular arrangements of pop songs or of opera overtures. Here pure contemporary symphonic wind band music was presented, the most demanding piece right at the beginning - the variations on the old French soldiers' song „L’homme armé“ by Christopher Marshall from New Zealand. Tim Reynish introduced the work instructively and in a humorous way, he even made the audience sing the melody. Matching the military context, Marshall let the piece being and end in commotion. In between he unfolded an exciting plethora of ideas, evoked different styles and characters, sometimes almost too densely scored; a challenge for the orchestra but excellently mastered by the players.
The beauty of the following Passacaglia by Timothy Jackson, conducted by Jessica V. Kun, a late-romantic adagio with mounting intensity, almost lost some of its impact due to the other rhythmically bold pieces.
A catchy work was the „Gallimaufry“ suite by Guy Woolfenden, an Englishman who is also a renowned composer of film music, which you can hear in this composition including folk music elements.
Another very interesting work was the second suite of ″Danceries″ by Kenneth Hesketh, again conducted by Jessica Kun, in which the included old dances from the 17th century were not only arranged in a neo-baroque fashion but were colourfully scored and harmonized.
Last but not least the ″Dances from Crete″ by Adam Gorb are, like the work by Marshall, a commission by Tim Reynish in memory of his son who was killed in an accident: Atmospheric and expressive music in which the British sense of humour gets another say at the end – as a reference to Greek wedding customs one of the percussionists may smash a few plates.