Northern Brass at Clitheroe Concerts Society: Review

Northern Brass, left to right: David Moore, Georgi Boev, Ben Millest, Lewis Musson and Katharine Curlett, who played for Clitheroe Concerts Society
Northern Brass, left to right: David Moore, Georgi Boev, Ben Millest, Lewis Musson and Katharine Curlett, who played for Clitheroe Concerts Society

It is 20 years since Clitheroe Concerts Society last hosted a brass group, so members keenly anticipated the visit by Northern Brass, five brilliant young players from the Royal Northern College of Music: David Moore on trumpet and flugelhorn, Katharine Curlett on trumpet, Georgi Boev on French Horn, Lewis Musson on trombone and euphonium and Ben Millest on tuba.

Despite their youth, the players can boast between them being finalists in the BBC 2 Young Brass Soloist of the Year and playing as principals with groups such as the Blackdyke Band, Brighouse and Rastrick Band, Marsden Silver Band, Wingates Band, the National Youth Orchestra of Great Britain and an appearance at the BBC Proms. At the British Open Solo Championships held in November 2010, Lewis Musson became National Euphonium Champion of Great Britain.

The quintet played a varied and entertaining programme, with Samuel Scheidt’s “Battle Suite, Victor Ewald’s “Brass Quintet No.3 in D flat major” and Derek Bourgeois’ “Sonata for Brass Quintet Op.21” all in the firt half.

The second half contained pieces in a much lighter vein and got off to a rumbustious start with a performance of “Two Worlds” arranged by horn player Georgi Boev. It was followed by Steven Sondheim’s “Send in the Clowns” then “Jenny Jones”, a piece based on a Welsh folk tune by Southport-born William Rimmer, the famous brass band composer and conductor.

Georgi Boev then showed his skill as a composer with a “A Walk Round Plovdiv”, in which he captures the variety of culture and spirit of his native city, Plovdiv, the second city of Bulgaria. The versatility of the quintet was then shown by their arrangements of three pieces by Claude Debussy, “Le Petit Nègre”, “The Girl with the Flaxen Hair” and the “Golliwog’s Cakewalk”. Finally they played a suite from Leonard Bernstein’s “West Side Story”.

The group were applauded enthusistically and had to return to the hall twice. Afterwards, some of the audience commented that they had not realised how versatile the brass quintet is and that this concert had changed all their preconceptions of brass music.