Saturday, September 26

Brighton Philharmonic Brass

- February 10, 2020

The Brass section stands for excitement and ceremony. It also includes the kool kids of the orchestra. This afternoon was their turn to shine and express their jovial character. Sadly, the performance was rather like the weather, blustery and somewhat damp.

While there was an abundance of innate musicality on stage, especially in the trombones’ super-smooth ensemble playing, it did seem as if they had been pressed for rehearsal time. With such exposed parts and elaborate arrangements every slip tells and there were far too many for comfort.

The programme was an unsurprising mix of Baroque formality and laid-back 20th century showpieces. It would have worked better if someone had spoken between the numbers. Instead, there were clumsy gaps while the players rearranged themselves, and some silly, officiously formal business with music stands.  It was embarrassing when they all marched off before Koetsier’s Symphony for Brass because we could hear them talking off stage. They had missed a chance to chat with the audience, perhaps a word or two about their collection of trumpets, an anecdote about the legendary Philip Jones Brass Ensemble or something about the tuba’s mute (the size of a beer keg!) which dominated the centre of the platform. This would have relaxed the proceedings and given the artists time to rest their lips.

The strings section had triumphed with a risky programme that not all the audience liked. This brass showcase was safe and untidy.

Dome Concert Hall,
9 February 2020
Rating: ★★½☆☆
Andrew Connal

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