Authoritative and Uplifting Playing from the Fairey Band

United KingdomUnited Kingdom Various Composers, At the Movies!: Fairey Band / Tom Davoren (conductor), Methodist Church, Lytham, Lancashire, 16.4.2016. (MC)

John Williams Star Wars
Kenneth J AlfordColonel Bogey
Tom DavorenAlaw
John Barry arr. Richards James Bond Collection
Engelbert Humperdinck arr. ChildsEvening Prayer from Hansel & Gretel
Paul McCartney arr. FarrLive and Let Die
Stephen Bulla Melita
James Horner arr. BarrySomewhere Out There
Leonard Bernstein arr. CreesAmerica from West Side Story
Harold Arlen arr. LastOver the Rainbow from The Wizard of Oz
Elmer Bernstein arr. Ellerby The Great Escape theme
Joaquín Rodrigo arr.Adagio from Concierto de Aranjuez
Kenneth Heskey Masque
Elton John arr. HarperCircle of Life from The Lion King
John WilliamsHymn to the Fallen from Saving Private Ryan
Max SteinerTara’s Theme from Gone with the Wind
Eric CoatesThe Dam Busters March

It was good to have the renowned Fairey Band back in Lytham for a concert in the Methodist Church, a space with an acoustic that felt ideal for a brass band. The well constructed concert programme ‘At the Movies!’ comprised 16 highly melodic works virtually all with strong associations to the silver screen, several of which were played in their original brass arrangements.

Displaying considerable personality Tom Davoren gave a helpful introduction of each work and conducted with noticeable assurance from the first note to the last. Setting the mainly uplifting tone for the evening was the main theme from Star Wars by celebrated film composer John T. Williams with the memorable melody ringing out splendidly. The agreeable piece Alaw written by Tom Davoren with its plaintive theme was competently played by soloist principal cornet Paul Hughes. Enjoyable too, in the arrangement of Paul McCartney’s Live and Let Die from his days with Wings, was the solo soprano cornet of Jonathan Probert who energetically jumped the rail to reach his music stand.

In James Horner’s Somewhere Out There with its haunting melody, teenage tenor horn soloist Siobhan Bates excelled in her solo part showing considerable potential.  Of the evening’s soloists taking centre stage was Lucy Cutt on flugelhorn with the much loved Adagio from Rodrigo’s Concierto de Aranjuez, “That’s Orange Juice to you” from the film Brassed Off. With considerable authority, Cutt provided a sunny Spanish atmosphere equalling the quality of the miming Tara Fitzgerald as soloist Gloria Mullins in the film. Slightly disappointing was the band’s interpretation of America from Leonard Bernstein’s score to West Side Story that didn’t quite have the level of Hispanic swing of the finest performances and I wanted a little more vitality and punch in the title theme from Elmer Bernstein’s score to The Great Escape. Providing the most impact was the ever popular James Bond Collection from John Barry’s film scores with the players coming together with remarkably unity. Over the evening one or two problems with intonation were hardly noticeable as the band played with impressive ensemble and an elevated level of expertise.

I can’t imagine any of the large Lytham audience that packed into the church being anything but delighted by the visit of the Fairey Band. Here’s to the next time!

Michael Cookson