The Essential Dyke Volume IV appeared in 2004 and, with the same conductor and principal soloists, reflected a more settled period in the band's history. In addition to a busy concert and contest schedule, Black Dyke Band was now producing a large number of CDs, a massive 22 in the years 2001-2004, partially due, no doubt, to the strong bonds between band and recording company. Amongst the CDs were a number dedicated to the music of a particular composer. To date these featured Arthur Butterworth, Michael Ball, Peter Graham, Wilfred Heaton (two albums) and Eric Ball, a ground-breaking sequence.
Marches recorded on Volume IV were Knight Templar (its second appearance in the series), The Pondashers specially composed for Black Dyke and dedicated to its many fans by the late Major G H Willcocks, one of the band's former highly successful professional conductors, and a celebrated transcription of Tchaikovsky's March Slav as the CDs finale. With the overture to Mozart's The Marriage of Figaro and Brahms€™ Academic Festival Overture the CD had a pronounced 'classical' feel and, along with Langford€™s Sullivan Fantasy and the evergreen All in the April Evening, the emphasis was very much on tradition.
2004 proved to be a good year on the contest platform, with a win in the National Brass Band Championships in the Royal Albert Hall, which was 'converted' to a further win in the European Championships in Groningen, Holland, in the following spring.
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