Classical Summer Proms at Broxbourne

A capacity crowd enjoyed the Classical Summer Proms event held at Broxbourne Civic Hall on 12 July 2009. The concert featured the Enfield Citadel Band (Bandmaster Jonathan Corry), a 100-voice festival chorus (Tina Shepherd, conductor), and several outstanding soloists, including Dudley Bright (trombone), Helen Parker (vocal) and Ralph Brill (trumpet), along with piano accompanist Roy Kirsopp.

The festival chorus was made of vocalists from several different choirs, including Broxbourne U3A Singers, Hoddeson Womens Club Choir, The Lynmore Singers, and Salvation Army songster brigades from Enfield Citadel and Waltham Abbey Corps.

The band opened the concert with a fanfare from the ballet La Peri (Paul Dukas, trans. Richard Holz). The next item featured the festival chorus singing God’s Garden, uniting words by Alan Leggett to the melody of Beethoven’s Piano Trio, opus 97, skillfully arranged by Leslie Condon. The compère for the evening, Major Geoff Ashdown (corps officer at Waltham Abbey Corps), then made the introductions for the concert.

Following the introductions, the program continued with the band presenting Michael Kenyon’s transcription of the overture from The Magic Flute (W. A. Mozart). Next was a vocal presentation of The Heavens Are Telling from Haydn’s oratorio “The Creation”. This work features three soloists, representing the archangels Gabriel (soprano, Helen Parker), Uriel (tenor, Andre Price) and Raphael (bass, Jonathan Byfield).

Dudley Bright was the first instrumental soloist of the evening. Bright is one of the most accomplished orchestral trombonists in the world, having served as principal trombone for several major orchestras, including the London Symphony Orchestra (since 2001). On this occasion, he performed the Concert Piece for Trombone (Alexander Guilmant, arr. Ray Steadman-Allen). For the next item, the band and chorus combined to present one of the most well-known pieces of music of all time, the Hallelujah Chorus from Handel’s oratorio “Messiah”. This was followed by another of the featured soloists, Ralph Brill, who played the Andante from Haydn’s Trumpet Concerto, also arranged by Ray Steadman-Allen. A professional military musician, formerly principal cornet of the Band of the Welsh Guards and currently Band Sergeant-Major of the Band of the Scots Guards, Brill has been the principal cornet of the Enfield Citadel Band since 2004.

The featured vocal soloist for the evening, soprano Helen Parker, was next to perform, singing Laudate Dominum from Mozart’s “Solemn Vespers”, ably assisted by the festival chorus. The first of the concert concluded with the Overture from “Beatrice and Benedict” (Hector Berlioz, arr. Keith Wilkinson), played by the Enfield Citadel Band.

Following the interval, the band kicked off the second half of the program with one of the earliest classical transcriptions published by the Salvation Army, Mendelssohn’s War March of the Priests from “Athalie”, arranged for brass band by Frederick Hawkes. Turning to a classic in a different sense, the chorus presented the jazz spiritual When the Saints Go Marching In (Purvis/Black, arr. John Rutter).

Helen Parker returned to sing another work by Handel, Let the Bright Seraphim from “Samson”. Bandmaster Jonathan Corry provided the trumpet obligato for this performance. Ralph Brill then returned to show his flexibility as he played the Posthorn Galop (J. B. Koenig). The posthorn, used during the 19th century to announce the arrival of stagecoaches, is essentially a straight tube with a mouthpiece at one end and a bell at the other, without valves to assist the player. The final item from the festival chorus was Count Your Blessings (Johnson Oatman/Edwin O. Excell).

The last part of the program contained four items, some of which afforded the audience an opportunity to join in with their voices. The first was six movements of Sir Henry Wood’s descriptive composition Fantasia on British Sea Songs, concluding with Sir Malcolm Sargent’s arrangement of Rule, Britannia, all transcribed for brass band by Denis Wright. This was followed by Edward Elgar’s Pomp and Circumstance Military March No. 1. The melody of the trio section of this march, with the addition of words by Arthur Benson, is familiar as the song Land of Hope and Glory. William Blake’s short poem, Jerusalem, set to music composed by C. H. Parry, is a cherished British song that was next performed, using a brass band arrangement by Sydney Herbert.

The concert concluded with one of the most famous of all classical compositions, Tchaikovsky’s 1812 Overture. Written as a commemoration of the victory of the Russians over the forces of Napoleon Bonaparte, this work is instantly recognizable all over the world. For this occasion, the performance was enhanced by indoor fireworks and explosive effects to simulate the cannon shots included in the music. The brass band arrangement used is by Denis Wright.

Enfield Citadel Band web site

This article was posted in News on .