Check out this showstopper performance by one of the world’s greatest brass bands, Wales’s The Cory Band.
I tried but failed to get Argonotes to play every single piece at this speed, mostly because if it didn’t sound great, at least it would be over sooner.
In this performance please note
- The tempo, which seems to be about a blistering ♩ = 180, or as P.D.Q. Bach called it, Come un pipistrello fuori dall’ inferno [Like a bat out of hell.]
- The delighted reactions of the choristers in the back
- The pure joy of the conductor Philip Harper. We should all aspire to enjoy our jobs this much.
my favourite movie conductor
Naturally this reminds me of the finale of one of my favourite films, Brassed Off, in which the (fictional) Grimley Colliery Band performs this piece at the national championship. They’re not going quite as fast though.
Things you might note from this film –
- They’re not going quite as fast, only about ♩ = 150
- Also an outstanding cornet solo
- The conductor in this clip is the actor Jim Carter, later to find much success as Mr. Carson in Downton Abbey. (In the film, he’s a tuba player temporarily filling in for bandleader Pete Postlethwaite, whose character is too ill to conduct the final scene, but he gave one of the all time great acting-conducting performances. Carter isn’t conducting quite up to that standard.)
- On tenor horn, Ewan McGregor, later to find much success as Obi-Wan Kenobi
- the band in this film is actually the Grimethorpe Colliery Band, posing as a different coal-mining-community brass band in a film that I think you absolutely should watch.
In Argonotes we used to joke that our slogan was Faster + Louder = Better.
The Cory Band is proving it to be true.