On Friday 28 June the Central Band of the Royal Air Force, made a welcome return to the wonderful Regent Hall to deliver a spectacular lunchtime concert right in the very heart of London in Oxford Street.
Building on the success and popularity of previous appearances of the Symphonic Brass Ensemble, the musicians of the Central Band embarked on an ambitious and varied programme featuring everything from old works reimagined in new and wonderful ways, to altogether brand-new commissions (as well as several amusingly unconventional musical instruments).
Proceedings started with Michael Markowski’s Joyride; this lively work proving a popular choice amongst the audiences, as it combines John Adams’s well-known Short Ride in a Fast Machine, with the unmistakeable Ode to Joy, from the finale of Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony.
This was dramatically followed by two world premieres. Chris Roe’s tempestuous and triumphant Spitfire Suite proved to be particularly poignant as the music accompanied several evocative images featuring the famous aircraft in flight. The Central Band’s next offering came in the equally emotive Stone, Mountain, Magic by Tom Davoren, who – having worked closely with the band over the years – is a very much endeared figure to the musicians of the Central Band.
Such a programme demanded a truly epic close; a welcome challenge ably met by the musicians of the Central Band, whose performance of Johan de Meij’s Extreme Makeover proved just so. The work consists of several musical metamorphoses on a theme by Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky. The most striking of these features a rather unconventional instrumental group: ten tuned bottles, played by members of the wind section, before the work – and indeed the concert itself – drew to a festive conclusion.
A special thanks, as always, for the warm reception of the Salvation Army to the musicians of the RAF.
Live recordings this concert can be viewed again on the RAFMusic’s Facebook page.
Article: Senior Aircraftman George Bailey.
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