Within the brass band repertoire there are a number of €˜favourites' which have stood the test of time and remain as popular and widely-played as the day they were first performed: Herbert Howells' Pageantry; Eric Ball's Journey Into Freedom; and Philip Wilby's Paganini Variations are all good examples.
It has to be said, however, that one of the reasons this kind of piece is regularly performed is that, as well as being an inspired creation, it ticks many of the boxes required to be suitable for a successful contest performance: Big solo moments - check. Broad singable melodies - check. Epic ending - check.
This recording deliberately focuses on equally inspired brass band pieces which, for whatever reason, are rarely if ever heard, despite their obvious musical qualities. Maybe Wilfred Heaton's Partita is too long, too abstract, or maybe just too darn difficult for many? Perhaps the integral narration in Elgar Howarth's Fireworks is the reason for its rarity, and probably Henze's Ragtimes & Habaneras rules itself out because of its scoring for brass only, without percussion. And what is the reason for Gilbert Vinter's Symphony of Marches €˜out of fashion' status? These are all unanswerable questions. But what is not in doubt is that these are all fine pieces which deserve to be heard, appreciated and enjoyed much more than they are. They are all examples of the brass band's neglected treasures.