This disc features the Salvation Army’s International Staff
Band (ISB), based in London. The ISB is the Army’s premier band
and one of the finest brass ensembles in the world. First established
in 1891, it is similar to other British-style brass bands in that
it comprises only brass and percussion instruments- no winds, strings
or other instrumentation. The basic brass band has 25 or 26 members
with two or three percussionists. Salvation Army bands differ from
other brass bands by adding an extra tenor trombone and sometimes
an extra tenor horn and baritone horn, and by re-arranging the cornet
positions. The Salvation Army bands have a long tradition of composing
and performing much of their own music, and have been led by many
outstanding musicians and composers over the years. These have included
Richard Slater, Peter Graham, Wilfred Heaton and Ray Steadman-Allen.
On this CD the ISB performs ten numbers that demonstrate their excellence
and dedication to their ministry and their musicianship.
One of my favorite pieces here is Scottish Folk Variants.
features three Scottish folk songs: Bonnie Dundee
, The Skye
and The Dashing White Sergeant.
Derick Kane showcases
the marvellously rich timbre of the euphonium. Often compared to the
cello in the orchestra, the euphonium has an extensive range similar
to that of the baritone and the trombones. Derick plays his solos
with strength and agility. Another standout is Soul-Full,
the band gets a chance to swing. This features soloist Richard Woodrow
and his flugel horn. Brass bands traditionally have only one flugel
horn. Similar in size and range to the cornet, the flugelhorn is the
same length as the cornet but has a much wider bore, which give it
a fulsome effect. Its darker and more mellow sound is often featured
on melodic or jazzy solos.
The band demonstrates wonderful balance between the instruments. The
numbers work well due to the inspiring and thoughtful arrangements,
as well as superb musicianship. Brass bands are traditionally bottom-heavy,
with basically four tubas and a bass trombone. The bass parts here
are played with great sensitivity, allowing the mid-range conical
instruments (euphoniums, tenors and baritones) as well as the trombones
the freedom to articulate the spirit of each piece.
The program notes give good descriptions the music. They also provide
a brief history of the ISB and a biography of Dr. Cobb. The band personnel
are listed in the notes.
Gary Fountain (Soprano Cornet), Kevin Ashman, Carl Nielsen, Paul Sharman,
Ian Wilson, Martyn Bryant, Nicola Redhead, Kevin Coates, Nigel Hills,
Darren Bull (Cornet), Richard Woodrow (Flugel Horn), David Winch,
Andrew Dickinson, Stephen Hanover, Gary Terrar (Tenor Horn), Iain
Parkhouse, Darren Willis, Anthony Smith (Baritone Horn), Andrew Justice,
Lyndon Moorby, Stuart Hall (Tenor Trombone), Bradley Turnbull (Bass
Trombone), Derick Kane, Jonathan Evans (Euphonium), Michael Calland,
Carl Woodman (E-flat Bass), Martin Tiplady, Trevor Caffull (B-flat
Bass), Robert Hayward, Ashley Durrant, Christopher House (Percussion).