6 Aug
6 Aug
6 Aug
The Royal College of Music, London
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70th Anniversary Celebration Concert

The National Youth Brass Band of Great Britain in concert at The Royal College of Music, London under the direction of Guest Conductor Martyn Brabbins with Guest Soprano Voice Soloist Nardus Williams.

Guest Conductor Martyn Brabbins

Guest Soloist Nardus Williams (Soprano Voice)


1. Martyn Brabbins: Here and There

2. Peter Graham: Hyper Link (World Première)

3. Eric Ball: Resurgam

4. John Pickard: Men of Stone

5. Martyn Brabbins: There and Back

6. Denis Wright: Tintagel

7. Cantelouble: Songs of the Auvergne (Soloist: Nardus Williams)

8. Derek Bourgeois: Serenade

9. John Ireland: Comedy Overture

Maestro Martyn Brabbins is the guest conductor with the National Youth Band of Great Britain this summer when the band continues to celebrate its 70 th Anniversary. Martyn’s programme is strong and eclectic and features Nardus Williams as vocal guest soloist. His theme Nature, Places, and Celebration gives the musical programme both cohesion and variety.

Both halves of the concert commence with two quirky compositions by Brabbins titled Here and There and There and Back which fall nicely into the ‘place’ part of his theme. Other places visited on this musical journey are Tintagel in Cornwall, a work written by the founder of the NYBBGB Denis Wright. Tintagel is in three movements and highlights the story of King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table. Our capital city London is featured but hidden behind John Ireland’s brass band title Comedy Overture. Martyn has conducted this work many times in its orchestral form which the composer re-named A London Overture. We revisit Cornwall with Malcolm Arnold’s Padstow Lifeboat, the music describes a typical rescue mission, the launch, storm and return home and is as popular today as it was when written in the 1960s.

Peter Graham was commissioned to write a work to celebrate the National Youth Band’s 70 th Anniversary and asked to celebrate the history of the band, its many luminaries, and significant events over the years. He has titled this new work Hyper-Link, and as the word suggests the many facets of the NYBBGB’s history are connected by music. This is a very exciting piece and will be premièred during Martyn’s concert.

Another exciting feature of the summer course concert is the inclusion of a vocal soloist. British soprano Nardus Williams is an English National Opera Harewood Artist of 2019/20 and was a member of the Houston Opera Studio for the 2018/19 season. She is a former Jerwood Young Artist at Glyndebourne and Kiri Te Kanawa Scholar at the Royal College of Music.

Nardus was also a finalist in the 2018 Kathleen Ferrier Competition. Her musical contribution in the concert will transport the audience to France as she sings a selection of Cantelouble’s beautiful Songs from the Auvergne.

The Nature element to the programme is found through John Pickard’s Men of Stone. This is part ofa larger work for brass band call Gaia Symphony. Gaia after the Greek Goddess of Earth, mother of all life. Gaia Symphony is in four movements representing the four natural elements: fire, water, air and earth. Men of Stone refers to the fourth element, earth.

Finally, Martyn wanted to include an element of tradition in his programme with two tenuous links to places and nature. He remembers playing Derek Bourgeois’ quirky Serenade originally composed by Derek for his own wedding somewhere in England. Eric Ball’s Resurgam is one of the most cherished works in the brass band repertory. Eric Ball was a deep thinker and interested in all areas of human nature, for a period in his life he studied spiritualism, this was the period when he
composed Resurgam.