WASBE 2001 - Lucerne Conference Review

Carm - Campaign For Real Music

First appeared in WASBE Newsletter - revised and updated 04 November 2004

Part of this article appeared in the WASBE Newsletter, producing vehement protests. I have revised it, and reprint it since I believe that it opens up some issues which the wind movement needs to face. One is the almost complete lack of professional criticism of our concerts; until the press take us more seriously, we will be able to continue to get away with poor conducting or messy programming, Galimaufries or hotch-potches of styles.

This raises the other problem, that of programming. At a concert in almost any other genre, the punter knows what he is going to get, and votes with his feet. It is up to the management, especially the marketing boss, to sell the product. We just do not have that clear identifiable product. We will happily play an avant garde piece, perhaps alienating half our audience, and follow it with Selections from Phantom of the Opera or Bugle Boogie Boy, thus alienating the rest. I have a lasting vision of the publisher from Novello who had travelled to Boston in 1987 to hear the world premiere of Richard Rodney Bennett's Morning Music, sitting with his head in his hands as he listened to Selections from Hello Dolly.

Campaign For Real Ale

Some years ago in England, a whole cluster of enthusiasts, who were totally opposed to the homogenised, pasteurised mass-produced stuff that passed as beer in our chains of pubs, began a society called CAMRA, the Campaign for Real Ale. I have been wondering whether in the world of wind music we need a similar approach, and whether we should scrap WASBE, BASBWE,CBDNA, NBA, Old Uncle Tom Cobley and All, and start a new society called CARM, Campaign for Real Music, or possibly SPORM, Society for the Protection Of Real Music.

Not A Composer To Say Things Once When Half A Dozen Times Will Do

I sometimes wonder whether our movement might be healthier if our composers and conductors were taken more seriously by critics. At present, I cannot believe that anyone would write about a wind band concert as my old colleague Geoffrey Norris did some time ago in The Daily Telegraph about a distinguished American composer:

It is hard to imagine an evening of more stultifying, unremitting tedium than this one devoted to UK premieres of three orchestral works by the American composer Philip Glass......It is not that Glass's music is offensive. Far from it, but its very inoffensiveness makes it resemble anodyne. Hotel-reception muzak, or the musical equivalent of beige wallpaper. It is music to which you feel you should be doing something else, rather than sitting still and letting its dull, lulling repetitions be the sole focus of attention. Glass is certainly not a composer to say things once when half a dozen times will do.

The WASBE Web site contains pages entitled A Brief History of WASBE. This is traced through the Conferences; occasionally composers are mentioned, rarely a piece of music, and the main thrust of each paragraph is on the bands that played and the clinics given, totally non-controversial and politically correct, re-inforcing another of my beliefs that we treat the wind orchestra/band/ensemble as primarily a social vehicle, for entertainment, ceremonial or education, and while we do this again we will never be taken seriously.

At a recent summer school, everyone was invited to bring one work which they felt should be in the International repertoire. One European student brought a symphony, hugely successful internationally but so mind-blowing in its naivety, that the students, without prompting from me, decided unanimously that it was in the same style as the music of Lord Andrew Lloyd Webber, the most successful English composer since Elgar, giving instant gratification to a mass audience who are not invited to exercise any critical faculties whatever.

I believe that it is important that our music be reviewed, preferably by professional critics, or by several critics who represent a broad spectrum of taste. There are dangers in writing critically; some of the following material was used in the WASBE Newsletter, and I was taken to task severely by two furious composers and one wind orchestra manager.

Tuneful And Rhythmically Energising

One or two critics have recently grasped the nettle. David Denton writes: One of the problems facing composers in this sphere of music is the basic task of pitching the composition into the appropriate marketplace. Bands, by tradition, perform to audiences that expect middle-of-the-road music, tuneful and rhythmically energising. At the same time composers are eager to prevent band music from stagnating, and find themselves treading a tightrope between the two objectives.

Elsewhere Stephen Ellis writes in a record review: This CD begins with two celebratory works for the new century/millennium. Unfortunately they suffer from a condition that haunts so much wind music: the tendency to let brilliant sonorities fend for themselves, with little or no support in the way of melodic distinction or depth of invention.
Emotion In Music

David Whitwell, the editor of the WASBE Journal of 1998, wrote in his Preface that we have arrived at a stage of development in wind band performance which exhibits remarkable technical achievement in the performance of commendable literature, but which nevertheless, often leaves the listener unmoved.

So I offer this review of the Lucerne conference as an aide memoire of some incredible music which we might easily forget, with the caveat of course that One man's meat is another man's poison. I hope that anyone perusing my meanderings might find an idea of an unfamiliar piece worth following up. Those who love Macdonald Hamburgers and the music of Andrew Lloyd Webber should take all of my criticisms with a pinch of salt.... and ketchup.

Lucerne Conference 2001

I have attended eight WASBE Conferences, regrettably missing Skien and Valencia, and there have been many memorable experiences. In fact, each has its own strong personality, but for me, the combination of one of the world's greatest concert halls, an incomparable setting, fine weather, traditional Swiss hospitality and under Felix Hauswirth and Peter Bucher, superb efficiency, must make this rate as one of the best.

The first day of the Conference was Swiss Day, two fine Swiss bands, one the town amateur band the other surely one of the leading professional bands of Europe the Swiss Army Band.

Stephen Jaeggi inhabits the world of the first part of the 20th century. His work is romantic, full of the post-19th century gestures which can be found in the weaker works of Strauss or Elgar, familiar to us in so much of the brass band repertoire. Albert Benz was a great supporter of WASBE, and he and I were in discussion about new British repertoire for this band at the time of his untimely death in 1988. His four miniatures for alphorn cleverly exploit the open harmonics and if you had a solo alphorn player to feature, this is the work for you. Besancon's The Little Rogue is attractive, its minimalist material is for me a little too foursquare and limited in its melodic ingenuity and harmonic colours, but his music is well scored and has a rhythmic energy. Oliver Waespi's First Suite for Wind Orchestra flows attractively, little canons and fugatos give everyone an interesting time and while his harmonic style is conservative, he uses traditional methods with some flair and ingenuity, nothing new but very pleasant music.

The Army Band featured Thomas Riedl a fine young euphonium soloist in a performance of Joseph Horovitz' Euphonium Concerto, a fitting tribute to WASBE member Horovitz' 75th birthday who was present to receive the plaudits of the capacity audience. In the first half the Jodlerclub Giswil were guest choir in a work commissioned by the conductor Josef Gnos, mellifluous harmonisations after a Wagnerian introduction, and this was preceded by a slightly heavily played set of Alpen Dances by the late Francesco Raselli and Skies by Oliver Waespi, an effective programmatic piece. Franco Cesarini's Tom Sawyer Suite brought the concert to a close - should it have been played in a programme such as this? This was light music in a post-Rodeo vein without Copland's wit, very possible for an open air "pops" concert but for me too derivative for the main work of a gala concert, with only its attractive scoring as a redeeming feature.

Symphonisches Blasorchester Des Bruckner-Konservatoriums

  • Suite No 2 op 24 "Niemansland"Hans Eisler
  • DivertimentoErland Freudenthaler
  • DivertimentoErland Freudenthaler
  • L'Heure du BergerJean Francaix
  • ConatusThomas Doss
  • "...und so sich Wort und Ton geselt..." Gunter Waldek
  • Ebony ConcertoIgor Stravinsky

This, for me was an elegant programme by new WASBE Council member, Johann Mosenbichler; three very interesting and intense world premieres by young Austrian composers, nicely balanced by three witty cabaret or jazz inspired masterpieces. Eisler's Suite no 2Niemandsland is a twelve minute work in the genre of Kurt Weill, and a splendid addition to the repertoire. L'Heure du Berger by Jeann Francaix was given a nicely pointed performance conducted by WASBE President Felix Hauswirth and the concert ended with an idiomatic Ebony Concerto by Stravinsky/

The three world premieres were for me very interesting, three composers all below fifty, all making bold uncompromising statements in this wonderful new medium of wind band, all inspired by lines from the poet Hermann Hesse, all deserving second and perhaps repeated hearings. Freudenthaler's Divertimento introduced four faculty members as soloists, oboe, clarinet, saxophone and trumpet, and was a strongly argued work. I was a little confused by Thomas Doss's work at first; there were many effects, menacing glissandi in the trombones, outbursts of tuned percussion, slashings across the strings of the piano, crashings in the percussion. However, the conflict between brass and percussion was exciting and well sustained, and there is real tension built up, suddenly dissipated by contemplative quasi minimalist sections and an extraordinarily beautiful diminuendo in the coda. A twelve minute work of great contrasts which has a lot to say.

Waldek's und wo sich Wort und Ton gesellt... is scored for Baritone and Winds, and I enjoyed this as much as anything in the Conference. A free approach to tonality and a rich orchestral scoring underpins an essential lyricism of the sort found in Berg or Schoenberg, nothing to frighten the horses but a very useful 8 minute setting of a poem by Hesse.

Chamber Music Style

The evening concert was given by one of the world's leading professional chamber ensembles,Detroit Chamber Winds, conducted by one of our greatest wind conductors, Robert H Reynolds. For me, these fine players were kept a little too much on a tight rein, I always encourage a small wind ensemble to be as expressive as possible in the 19th century repertoire, and see my role as merely indicating where the accompaniment moves, curing sentimental excesses but encouraging a freedom of phrasing and rubato which the solo players themselves generate. This might be a European stylistic trait rather than American, since it was suggested by several colleagues in discussion of this that American professional players prefer to have interpretation dictated, and that the dictatorial tradition of Szell or Toscanini dies hard. A story was told of the problems found by the Cincinnatti Orchestra in following the obscure beat of von Karajan. Although experience conducting the big wind orchestra or band mitigates against much of this freedom, I used to try to carry the freedom of the chamber concept to performances of Holst and Grainger, and the more musical contemporary works.

Theirs was a wonderfully innovative programme; the only really familiar work was Wendt's arrangement of the Overture to The Marriage of Figaro, there was a lovingly prepared Reinecke Octet, an enjoyable Serenade in Bb by the 19th century composer Wilhelm Emilius Hartmann, a real find, and a splendidly energetic and excellently crafted Mimetic Variations by Timothy Kramer.

Is Maslanka The Mahler De Nos Jours?

Tuesday had three concerts, two by professional groups, two throwing up questions about programming. In the morning, the University of Arizona gave performances of two old war-horses, Bennett's Suite of Old American Dances, and H Owen Reed's La Fiesta Mexicana, old war-horses to anyone from the States, perhaps less familiar to many in Europe, but nevertheless readily available in recordings. One such work might be a good idea as a balance to too much contemporary music, two is surely too much. Their second half was devoted to the Maslanka Concerto for Alto Saxophone and Wind Ensemble by David Maslanka. This work caused heated discussion; at nearly forty five minutes, is the work too self-indulgent and rambling in its length, or is it simply cast in a Mahlerian mould? Are the many quotations from Bach chorales and the almost naïve simplicity of much of the material cheap methods of gaining acceptance, or is the music of Maslanka, and much Colgrass, the wind world's answer to the introspective spirituality of Gorecki, Paart or John Taverner? Is the musical material strong enough to sustain such a programme of religious vision? There is no doubting Maslanka's sincerity, there are some imaginative effects, some striking scoring, some enormous risks undertaken with total involvement, and above all some wonderfully soft music, and the work stimulated discussion about musical and aesthetic values, rather than about "band".

De Volharding

In the afternoon Orkest de Volharding gave a raunchy energetic account of five works, and again discussion raged. Here I must confess that I have a blank spot about minimalism. If a composer writes a phrase, basically a melodic, rhythmic and harmonic cliché, and then repeats it endlessly without any change of scoring, without change of dynamic except getting louder, is this composition? I must admit to having problems with many of the static minimalists of today, and I mistrust the integrity of much of this street music. As one distinguished conservatoire professor suggested, because a composer is loud and crude and shouts "f!!!k" very often it does not necessarily mean that he or she is creating great art. David Lang's Street was at least different, sustained discords, and I can imagine it being extremely effective if played pianissimo on strings. Andriessen's On Jimmy Yancey convinced me that his reputation is built on a phony premise, though the little jokes were neat; Martland's Dance Works started with eight barely altered repetitions of a reasonably striking but not very original phrase, and then went into minimalist mode, confused and noisy. The other movements for me were scarcely better, a drunken pub pianist, playing in 7/8 instead of 4/4 might have the same amount of harmonic and melodic ingenuity.

Programming Issue

To promote symphonic bands and ensembles as serious and distinctive mediums of musical expression and culture

But then was the evening programme a better way out? The first half by the Goteborg Musiken, one of the few remaining professional wind orchestras in the world, consisted of two thoroughly 19th century pieces of Swedish music by Alven and Erland von Koch, no contrast, pleasant but not of any lasting interest, while their second half began with Toch's Spiel, one of the great pieces of wit for orchestral winds, and ended with Sparke's Year of the Dragon, an arrangement of a brass band piece and a strange finish to a programme for a gala evening concert at a specialist Conference. Actually it was not quite the end, unfortunately - stranger still was the first encore, a raucous Big Band version of Brass Explosion, totally offensive and misjudged in my view, which was greeted with rapturous applause by much of the audience, by apoplexy by the rest. This was absolutely suitable for a Big Band concert by the lake, completely inappropriate in my view for the climax of a gala concert at a Conference of an Association whose first rule is - To promote symphonic bands and ensembles as serious and distinctive mediums of musical expression and culture. But then for me, de Volharding would be better heard in its original street situation, with a noisy background of traffic and alcohol... went to the bar and sadly missed the selections from Abba.

In a heated exchange of letters after my review was published, the Swedish musicians insisted that they aimed to show the wide range of music they cover. That is fine, but a gallimaufry like this is merely confusing the issue. I am happy to hear Big Band music - when in Lexington Kentucky I was delighted to go to hear DoJo every month, the Di Martino/Miles Osland Big Band, and I heard Frank Mantooth shortly before he died. I would not want to hear a piece by Varese, Hindemith, Robert Russell or Richard Rodney Bennett, nor Andrew Lloyd Webber, in an evening of traditional and modern big band music, but I would be happy with a jazz version of Brass Explosion or Abba numbers, if that is the way the evening went.

Japanese With Passion And Without Pretension

I found a welcome lack of pretension about the concert by the All Aomori Prefecture High School Band. The opening work, a Prelude to the Shining Day, was predictable in its gestures, and Taguzo's Three Japanese Folk Songs seemed to have a limited harmonic palette, but surely here was more imagination and contrast than in the programme by Volharding. The first featured Japanese drumming, a fairly static but energetic introduction, the second movement consisted of three versions of a lyrical modal melodic line beneath a high pedal note, each with more intense scoring, dying away on a little coda tag. A third movement was a moto perpetuo in compound time with considerable energy, with harsh screams from woodwind, rough interjections from brass and percussion. This was Volharding for school band, a useful piece. I usually enjoy Kushida's music and his Ritual Fire was no exception. Go for Broke (7.10 minutes) began with striking gestures ranging swiftly across the whole band, dissolving into a long modal theme in low wind and brass, the basis for a set of free variations. A series of Mahlerian fanfares and marches superimposed in a cacophony of polytonality, rather heavily scored but effective, (a little too filmic for my taste) give way to a simple oboe version of the melody, itself replaced by a grandiose ending, the sort which will get a standing ovation. Alfred Reed conducted a song from the Merry Widow (I idly wondered why) and the concert ended with a Japanese war-horse, An Ancient Festival by Hiroshi Hoshina, given a performance of considerable passion, with far more emotion than one often finds in a young Japanese Band.

Clash Of Cultures

One of the great wind orchestras of the world is undoubtedly the Royal Harmonie of Thorn under their conductor Jan Cober For such a large group of amateur players to have achieved such an amazing technical facility and such control of dynamics is quite extraordinary, but their programme once again raised the problem of programme building and what is appropriate for a gala concert at WASBE. They had a nice idea of playing an intermezzo between each item, based on the old Dutch tune, I have a little house, but this added many minutes to a long programme, and the concert ran for well over two and a quarter hours.

Two romantic Dutch works by composers who flourished in the first half of the last century were not without charm, and if you want to feature two oboists as soloists, the Alexander Voormolen concerto is probably the only vehicle of original repertoire, though there must be opening works which are more memorable than the Piet Hein Rhapsody by van Anrooy. Many delegates were suggesting that a good transcription would be a welcome addition to the repertoire. Vijf Kleine Parades brought the energy of the marching band to the concert hall; the movements had brevity and some wit with nicely turned melodic ideas and the odd harmonic surprise.

The Badings Quadruple Concerto for saxophone quartet was a welcome reminder of the wealth of repertoire in the catalogue of the American Wind Symphony as well as what a great craftsman Badings was. This work is well worth any orchestra exploring, in three movements cast in a not excessively modern idiom, in fact with the finale in a Latin American mode. The final work Nomenclatura opened up all the old arguments and discussions on what is good music.

The introduction of explicitly popular material into a WASBE gala concert is a difficult issue. Clearly with this kind of repertoire, a mix of traditional romantic Dutch music, one unchallenged masterpiece, and works more suited to the "pops" concert, the conductor attracts enormous support from very skilled players, but if the orchestra includes a work such as Nomenclaturaby Peter Kleine Schaars, who is incidentally the composer of Funky Fugue meets Willie Waltz, we should have guessed that Salsa Suspension and Cargo Funk might be totally offensive to delegates who had travelled half way round the world to explore repertoire and to discuss how to lead the wind band world forward.

WASBE should not impose what are imagined standards of taste; I have no problem with light music being played in the appropriate concert and appropriate arena if that is what the conductor, players and audience want, but anyone who was drawn into the arguments of the Badings Concerto would, I suspect, be offended by the idiom of Nomenclature. So for me, but clearly not for everyone else, this was an especially fine orchestra, playing some mediocre repertoire, one great piece and one absolutely terrible piece in a programme which was far too long.

Made In England

Thursday began with another long concert by the Birmingham Conservatoire Symphonic Wind Orchestra; they began with Danceries by Kenneth Hesketh, a brilliant "dishing-up", to quote Grainger, of tunes from Elizabethan times, superbly scored. Fergal Carroll is the son of a WASBE stalwart, Danny Carroll, and I feel that his Amphion, splendidly conducted by Eric Hinton, has wonderful ideas which need a little more variety of pace and tonality as contrast; however his is an exciting new voice. Martin Ellerby's Clarinet Concerto is too thickly scored and often descends into cliché, but published by Studio with a piano accompaniment, it will surely find advocates. Guy Woolfenden was the skillful arranger of Malcolm Arnold's energetic Pre-Goodman Rag, and also publisher all of the works in the second half, Eseld Pierce's deeply feltA Name Perpetual, Dominic Muldowney's Dance Suite which probably needs a lighter more sophisticated performance than this to put over its Waltonesque wit, and Guy's own French Impressions, the latest in a line of charming and very successful pieces which includeGallimaufry, Illyrian Dances and from the WASBE 1991 Conference, Mockbeggar Variations.

I felt that the afternoon concert gave us some of the best conducting of the Conference by Walter Ratzek, who in October of this year takes up the appointment of conductor of the Symphonic Band of the German Forces in Siegburg. His technique is organized and controlled, and the very large Landesorchester Baden-Wurttemberg achieved some wonderful sonorities. Kurt Weill's Violin Concerto was the major contribution from the 20th century, though I welcomed another chance to hear Stephan Adams' Movement Symphonique. Major new works by Frank Zabel and Rolf Rudin completed the programme. Rudin's ....bis ins Unendliche... is a large scale choral work, serious in intent and very effective.
The evening concert by Omnibus, in their third successive appearance at Conference, was sheer delight, an excellently planned programme, superbly played

Cabaret Encores

The Friday morning concert by Orchestra di Fiati della Valtellina, conducted with great refinement by Lorenzo della Fonte, was for me another mix of great, good and mediocre, the best original piece being Cherubini's L'Hymne du Pantheon with male voice choir, a sonorous and a welcome addition. Mark Rogers transcription of La Forza del Destino is thoroughly idiomatic and a good argument for transcriptions and arrangements. The Casella Introdzione, Corale e Marcia is a major work, and I thoroughly enjoyed Boccalari's Fantasia di Concertofor euphonium and band. I thought the encore, a very funny and brilliantly played exhibition by Stephen Mead, was totally misjudged; he had given a wonderfully convincing performance of the exciting and very interesting Fantasia, but of course after his circus tricks, everyone came out talking about his world class virtuosity, not about the music. His would have been an amazing cabaret act during the Gala Dinner.

Reading Session

In the afternoon we heard the extremely good Orchestra di Fiati della Svizzera Italiana under Carlo Balmelli in a Reading session organized by Craig Kirchhoff. The excerpts were tantalizing, but nearly every work can be thoroughly recommended.
For chamber ensemble, the Bennett Reflections for Double Quintet are wonderfully evocative, the Brotons Sinfonietta da Camera is a neo-classic masterpiece, and Adam Gorb's Symphony no 1 in C for the same combination as the Strauss Serenade is one of those funny pieces that actually work.

For school, community or College symphonic band, Makris's Improvisations-Rhythms published at last by Ballerbach, is a exciting introduction to aleatoric concepts, ending in a wild Greek dance in mixed metres, and two works which did not get played, Marshall's Aue (Maecenas) and Frantzen's Poem (also Ballerbach) are worth investigation by any band who enjoys Grade 4 music.

For the University wind ensemble or for the professional band, An American Song by Alan Fletcher, recently winner of the West Point Composition Prize, is a most imaginative scoring of traditional American ideas, Permont's Hilulah should be published and added to the repertoire, and Kenneth Hesketh's Masque is already published, and is a great piece for anyone looking for an upbeat opening work reminiscent a little of Walton and Malcolm Arnold.

Two of the final concerts alone would have made the journey to Lucerne worth while. Under Timothy Foley, another conductor who has complete control of dynamics, phrasing and ensemble with an unostentatious beat, The United States Marine Band, which I still rate as probably the best in the world, gave a beautifully planned programme beginning with a Harmoniemusik arrangement of William Tell (a nice gesture to our hosts), ending with a superbLincolnshire Posy, and including two standards, the new edition of Stravinsky's "Symphonies of Wind Instruments" and Copland's The Red Pony which really should be played more often. The second half began with the world premiere of David Rakowski's Ten of a Kind, a concerto for ten clarinets, who are in fact but one of many concertante groups drawn from the orchestra. I loved the sound world, I found the ideas flowed naturally and the contrasts were finely drawn. Unfortunately we had to miss the US Marines, playing to yet another capacity audience in a programme which featured the Joseph Schwantner Percussion Concerto. I was lucky enough to be invited to the morning rehearsal, and could only marvel at the sheer virtuosity of Christopher Rose, virtuosity put at the service of music, not just to entertain, though it certainly achieved that as well.

An Unknown Masterpiece

On Saturday morning there was an extraordinary performance in the beautiful Jesuit Church of Nicolas de Flue by Honneger, a large-scale oratorio for speaker, children's choir, chorus and wind orchestra. This I found to be profoundly moving, the more so since I had no idea it existed.

The final concert by the International Youth Wind Orchestra was remarkable for some superb conducting, demonstrating very different styles from Larry Rachleff and Baldur Bronnimann. Again there was controversy, should they play more middle-of the-road repertoire, should they include popular items? The programme was certainly too much of the same type of music, energetic, hard-edged. Rachleff's Hindemith Symphony in Bb was very personal, especially the slowing down of sections in the first movement, but it was a fine performance. Unfortunately he only gave us the finale of the Stravinsky Octet. Bronnimann played an interesting world premiere of Thuring Bram's Prospero, which seemed to have just too many ideas but will repay a second hearing, Wilby's Catcher of Shadows which seemed a little dull and muted in this performance, and an exciting reading of Judith Bingham's histrionic Three America Icons, another topic of heated conversation.

In the evening, those lucky enough to attend the banquet were entertained by a traditional village band and an Alphorn Trio; few of us will ever forget the echo thrown back to us by the rock face, the amazing panorama of Lucerne and the surrounding villages, as the sun went down, and above all our Swiss hosts and their wonderful meal.....it was an unforgettable experience.

The Question Of Encores

Many of the concerts threw up the question of encores. After the world premiere of a large- scale work about the Apocalypse, do we really need to hear a performance of Alfred Read's El Camino Real, performed with all noise and no detail. Later in the Conference, there were ill-judged offensive encores which were totally out of place. Do these have a place in what is supposed to be a serious conference. The encore by the Japanese school children combined Big Band gestures with traditional Japanese, but was more acceptable after a lighter concert in a pre-lunch situation.

Clash Of Cultures

Am I being a curmudgeon? I understand that the Chicago Symphony in Vienna's Musikverein might well follow Mahler Five with The Stars and Stripes for Ever, possibly it was suggested because the State Department would be helping with the funding, and I remember the excruciating clash of cultures when a fine performance in Boston of Daphnis and Chloë was followed by James Barnes' Texan Cowboy. I personally do not want to hear some pop music which I would not choose to go to hear following a great performance; Larry Rachleff got round this cleverly by repeating the last sixteen bars of the Hindemith Symphony, which left us satisfied but not alienated. After the suite of six short movements which is A Lincolnshire Posy, march encores seemed natural, whereas I remember a superb performance of the Hindemith Symphony at a CBDNA conference, after which I just did not want to hear a Sousa March.

Records Available

Very often after Conference concerts, discussion is about how good the band is. I found at this Conference discussion often raged about the music and the conducting. This perhaps is a sign of maturity, as well as an indication of how successful the week was. So, to sum up, a superb conference with great camaraderie as always, an unusually high standard of performance, some dreadful music but some great pieces which I would certainly recommend to you for your future programnmes. Selections from every concert are available on 6 CDs from Amos; these are highly recommended and I shall certainly listen to many of them again.