Reviews - CDs and DVDs

Highlights of the 2017 European Brass Band Championships - Ostend

Euro champs 2017 low res 0001

Highlights of the 2017 European Brass Band Championships, live at Ostend.

Various Bands 

Doyen Label:  DOY 373


This double CD presents performances from the Championship Section, Challenge Section, Youth Contest and Gala Concert and each of these elements highlight some quite remarkable playing.

Destination Moon by Paul Raphael { who is actually Philip Harper } is effectively a 19 minute journey through space; so descriptive and wonderfully played by the Cory Band with a totally breathtaking pppp close- superb!

The Youth Section allows our younger generation an opportunity to display their talents also, and Youth Brass 2000 under Chris Jeans present a terrific performance of Himes’ ‘Jubilance featuring Thomas Fountain, and you marvel at the mature playing of such young players.

Elland Silver Youth Band continued their impressive form as Section winners in the Development Section with their programme opener Fanfare for a New Age by Goff Richards.

What follows next is the Gala Concert opener with Cory giving a blistering performance of Harper’s arrangement of Nordic Polska which I heard at last year’s Sage, but yet again unbelievable playing right around the stand.

Rhapsody in Blue conjures up thoughts of Grand piano and Orchestra, but here we hear Guest Soloist  Jeroen Berwaerts with the EYBB, and using only three valves instead of eighty eight keys this was quite an incredible performance equal to superb arranging by Steven Verhaerts who admirably captures the style of Gershwin’s original scoring.

EYBB continue with an exciting interlude in Jan Van der Roost’s Flashlight before a further epic follows featuring Valaisia Brass in Kevin Houben’s Where Angels Fly which is most dramatic both in technique and detail and a wonderful Chorale section --- great playing and a scintillating conclusion to CD 1.

 Italian Brass Band open up CD 2 with their winning performance of Insomnia which rather unusually is based on a poem by Rossetti, which is read by the band very quietly. This is a most descriptive and moving test-piece which features many mood changes and dramatic rhythmic effects vividly portraying the turmoil of Insomnia; some really fine playing, albeit the odd problem of tuning in the higher register towards the close

EYBB continue with Tom Davoren’s exciting Vision of the Kolk his featuring some excellent soloists before the first of two hymn tunes in Crimond which is beautifully balanced to open, although the tune appears somewhat ‘buried’ in second verse, yet some lovely controlled ensemble playing

In complete contrast we are treated to an amazing display of technique and artistry as  Tom Hutchinson is joined by his Cory band in this stunning Harry James arrangement of Carnival of Venice, just brilliant!

Young Brass Band Willebroek give their winning performance of Peter Graham’s Dimensions, and when we consider this was a 2nd Section Area test-piece it really is amazing that such a young band are able to produce such wonderful rich tonal qualities in such a mature sound—bravo!

The penultimate track yet again features Cory in a beautiful rendition of Abide with Me, and Cory demonstrate the real art of hymn tune playing, so moving and glorious sounds’

So to the finale, and what a finale! Contest winners Eikanger produced a stunning performance of Fraternity, written reflecting on a major mining disaster in 1906.Written in several short movements, each depicting drama , often tranquil and hauntingly solemn before closing sections full of energy with remarkable percussion section and absolutely brilliant playing from the Eikanger Band as they bring a glorious close to an outstanding CD, in particular for us all to be impressed, encouraged and delighted with the ‘younger players’.



1.  Destination Moon - Paul Raphael Cory Band MD: Philip Harper [19.02]

2 . Jubilance - William Himes Cornet Soloist Thomas Fountain with Youth Brass 2000 MD: Chris Jeans [8.34]

3.  Fanfare for a New Age - Goff Richards Elland Silver Youth Band MD: Samantha Harrison [1.42]

4.  Nordic Polska - Anders Edenroth & Matti Kallio Arr: Philip Harper Cory Band MD: Philip Harper [3.54]

5.  Rhapsody in Blue - George Gershwin Arr: Steven Verhaert Jeroen Berwaerts with the European Youth Brass Band MD: Rof  van Looveron [13.11]

6.  Flashlight - Jan van der Roost European Youth Brass Band MD: Rof  van Looveron [2.04]

7. Where Angels Fly - Kevin Houben Valaisia Brass Band MD: Arsene Duc [17.34]

8. The Four Seasons - Vivaldi Arr: Philip Harper The Cory Band MD: Philip Harper [3.16]



1. Insomnia - Bart Picqueur Iitalian Brass Band MD: Filippo Cangiamila [13.24]

2. Visions of Kolkhis - Tom Davoren European Youth Brass Band MD: Rof  van Looveron [6.17]

3. Crimond - Irvine Arr: Goff Richards European Youth Brass Band MD: Rof  van Looveron [3.30]

4. Carnival of Venice - Harry James Arr: Mark Freeh Tom Hutchinson with the Cory Band MD: Philip Harper [3.03]

5. Dimensions - Peter Graham Young Brass Band Willebroek MD: Frans Violet [8.08]

6. Abide with Me - Monk Arr: Karl Jenkins Cory Band MD: Philip Harper [3.19]

7. Fraternity - Thierry Deleruyelle Eikanger -Bjorsvik Musikklag MD: Ingar H. Bergby [18.43]

J. Stuart Fawcett