Edinburgh Bach Choir is a long established classical ensemble in Scotland’s capital. In December 2017, Brass Tracks augmented their quintet to a sextet to accompany the choir in a Christmas Concert featuring the music Christus Natus Est by Cecilia McDowall and James Whitbourn’s Missa Carolae under the direction of the newly appointed, Stephen Doughty. The concert will feature up to 100 members of the Edinburgh Bach Choir with Brass Tracks at one of Edinburgh’s most beautiful and impressive churches, St Cuthbert’s – situated beneath the rock of Edinburgh Castle on Lothian Road.
In Christmas 2017 The 45 Commando Royal Marines based in Arbroath, Scotland requested the services of Brass Tracks to perform at their annual Christmas Ball and dinner. This was a great occasion for Brass Tracks to entertain serving marine officers and their partners at their formal festive celebration. It was the first trip to Arbroath for Brass Tracks.
Brass Tracks returned to the Edinburgh Festival Fringe in 2017. Now in its 70th year the Edinburgh Festival Fringe is an opportunity for not only friends and family to hear Brass Tracks perform but also an international audience.
This year Brass Tracks have selected two wonderful venues to perform. The first concert was on Thursday 3 August as a 40 minute lunchtime recital in Scotland’s largest Church, St Mary’s Episcopal Cathedral in Edinburgh’s West End from 1310pm.
Brass Tracks followed up this performance with another at ArtSpace @ St Mark’s on Castle Terrace from 8.30pm on Wednesday 9 August. The link below goes directly to the official Edinburgh Festival Fringe online ticket office. Look out for Brass Tracks at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe again in 2018!
Torphichen Summer Nights Music invited Brass Tracks to perform their opening concert of the season. Celebrating its 17th anniversary (Summer 2017).
Torphichen’s concerts are altogether unique. Performances take place in the intimate setting of Torphichen Kirk where the audience can experience the music close-up. During the interval the audience can enjoy refreshments in the atmospheric and ancient Torphichen Preceptory which makes the evening even more memorable.
” Thanks again for a wonderful concert on Sunday, we had loads of great feedback from the audience. “
In March 2017 Brass Tracks made its way to the Carnegie Hall. However, the famous line ‘How did You Get There?’doesn’t quite seem right when its explained that it’s the Carnegie Hall in Dunfermline, Fife. Nonetheless, there is still much anticipation and nerves of playing our own concert there. Not to mention the last minute panic of replacing our replacement tuba player! Discovering at the eleventh hour that our dep tuba player had fallen ill in another rehearsal and realising many other tuba players were involved, like our permanent tuba member, in the Scottish Brass Band Championships in Perth, we would have very few if any suitable tuba players to join us last minute. Luckily, all was saved by our French horn player who knew of a very good tuba player who was not in a brass band and was available.
Dunfermline’s Carnegie Hall is a small jewel in the heart of Scotland’s former capital over three hundred years ago. A lot of course has changed and developed since, like the addition of this hall that is predominately used as a theatre with adjoining halls and rehearsal spaces, cafe bar and annex.
Our audience that evening – many of which are members of the Dunfermline Arts Guild in which we were being supported by, were very enthusiastic and warm in their welcome. Our programme of music continued our journey through Italian Renaissance and eventually by the second half reached the foot tapping tempi of The Great American Song Book.
The Art’s Guild Chairman said after our concert;
” They were TERRIFIC. Great playing, great programme, great audience rapport, great entertainment. I’d have them back in a heartbeat. “
John Simpson, Dunfermline Arts Guild, 12 March 2017
In Spring 2017 Brass Tracks headed to Newton Stewart cinema theatre. Situated in Dumfries and Galloway, Newton Stewart is a small town once a burgh. This performance was Brass Tracks first experience playing inside a cinema theatre. The theatre’s acoustic made the sound of a brass quintet very exposed yet lively enough to reach the back of the auditorium without too much effort.
Organiser’s simply said of our performance;
” Thank you for a fine concert last night. “
Fife Sports awards ceremony is an annual Spring event in Kirkcaldy.
Over the last four years Brass Tracks trumpet players, Finlay Hetherington and John Sampson have been in invited to provide bespoke fanfares for the ceremony. Each fanfare is matched to the sport or discipline which has an award.
Brass Tracks Review in The Isle of Arran Banner.
In the Arran High School theatre last Saturday, a very appreciative audience were treated to a delightful variety of music, brought to us by a brass quintet going by the name of Brass Tracks, writes Diana Hamilton.
These are five very talented professional musicians who, apart from excelling in their own instruments, play as one when they are together. Brass Tracks gave us a taste of a huge variety of styles, from Renaissance dances and sonatas right through to this century, covering some pieces from the classical and romantic periods along the way, and touching on Dixieland jazz, tango and some of Gershwin’s ‘classics’ from the 20th century.
Their sense of fun showed through in Beethoven’s Turkish March, Debussy’s Golliwog’s Cake Walk, and two novelty items, both of which were arrangements by the talented horn player in the quintet, Robert Newth. Both of these had the audience spellbound by the virtuosity of trumpeter John Sampson, although neither was played on the trumpet. In the first, The Post Horn Galop by Hermann Koenig, John played a genuine posthorn which is 100 years old. His articulation on this valveless instrument, and at such speed, was truly amazing. For the second, The Fairy Dance, a traditional Irish dance, John produced a sopranino recorder from his pocket and proceeded to wow the audience once more with his virtuosity, firstly unaccompanied and then with a wonderfully suitable ‘cushioned’ oom-pah accompaniment from the other four players in Robert’s arrangement.
Robert Newth’s talent for arranging was also displayed in his own version of Amazing Grace. This, in its haunting beauty, did indeed bring out the spiritual element contained in the words.
As is fitting for a brass group, the second half of the concert opened with a Fanfare (La Peri) by Paul Dukas, and to those of us who only knew Dukas’s music from The Sorcerer’s Apprentice, this was a surprise in its seeming modernity.
The serious side of this versatile quintet was displayed in their rendering of Victor Ewald’s Quintet No 1 from the 19th century and Quintet by Michael Kamen, a 20th-century composer better known for his film music.
The lighter side of 20th-century music was presented in the form of medleys – Four songs from A Chorus Line by Marvin Hamlisch, and Four hits for five, a medley of Gershwin songs, including ’S Wonderful, Embraceable you, The man I love and Strike up the band – and another Gershwin number, Love is here to stay. Brass Tracks, obviously comfortable in any style, seemed even more at home in these renderings, which they gave with a true sense of the style.
This most enjoyable and entertaining evening was rounded off with an encore of Spread a little happiness by Vivian Ellis.
Indeed they did – more than a little.
After the concert, we learned that you can see them playing in a modern version of 10 Rillington Place, to be shown on BBC 1 sometime in November. Look out for it.
The evening was organised by the Isle of Arran Music Society.
Greyfriars’ Kirk Lunchtime Concert (12 noon – 1pm) Thursday 13th October 2016, Edinburgh.