Category Archives: News Article

Towermill Theatre – Hawick

On 21 April 2018, Brass Tracks performed in Hawick at the fantastic Towermill Theatre. The venue is home to Visit Scotland Visitor Information Centre, meeting rooms, a theatre company and a cafe. The venue houses a 108 seat auditorium and hosts concerts by Hawick Music Club. Brass Tracks were invited by the club to close their concert season with a bit of fanfare.

The auditorium at Towermill Theatre, is a dry acoustic but works well for brass. The clarity of sound is ideal especially in fast, highly articulated music.

Brass Tracks received a warm welcome from the Music Club organisers and were pleased with their feedback from the concert.

Chair Mary Sherwood wrote, “Brass Tracks are such a lovely quintet. So professional and slick without being cocky or showing off. Really entertaining, they had the audience engaged from start to finish with just the right balance of information about composers and accomplished musicianship. The post horn was amazing and the playing of it so skilled.”

Brass Tracks continue to be supported by Enterprise Music Scotland via the music clubs and Societies that every year programme professional chamber music groups based across Scotland.

 

 

Press Reviews

Brass Tracks returned once again to the Edinburgh Fringe in 2023 and the ArtSpace@St Mark’s with a family friendly accessible programme featuring the finest film soundtracks. Brass Tracks are fortunate to enjoy a home audience at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe with a consistently high attendance over the past few years. A four star review in the Edinburgh Guide states, ‘What is so wonderful about this quintet is the strength they bring to the quality of sound with their particular blend of instruments, filling the air with an emotional charge of memories…’ Read the full review in the following link below.

https://edinburghguide.com/festival/2023/brass-tracks-2023-artspace-at-st-marks-review-21259

Brass Tracks have been previously sponsored by the company Hidden Hearing, to support the importance of ear protection. Hidden Hearing produced banners at the performance and a free goodie bag for all. In 2019 William Williamson, a professional singer from Dumfriesshire, sang the Scottish folk song, Annie Laurie with the quintet arranged by the group’s horn player, Robert Newth. This was the first time of introducing a singer within the ensemble.

Brass Tracks (Three Weeks)

By | Published on Saturday 17 August 2019

Monteverdi was a bold (and chronologically correct!) start to this professional brass quintet concert. The band quickly established a rapport with their audience by introducing singer William Williamson in their own touching arrangement of ‘Annie Laurie’ for brass quintet and voice. ‘Night on Bare Mountain’ was highly dramatic, displaying a good partnership between trombone and tuba in an atmosphere of booming menace. Bizet’s ‘Carmen’ was enjoyable, and the chat between music was entertaining and informative. ‘St Louis Blues’, the original 12 bar blues, was also great- a memorable highlight during a lively concert. Brass concerts offer variety, joie de vivre and camaraderie – this one was no exception!

artSpace@StMarks, run ended.
tw rating 4/5 | [Louise Rodgers] (Three Weeks)

Brass Tracks Quintet, artSpace@StMark’s, Review

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Rating (4 out of 5 stars)

Brass Tracks held before us “a kaleidoscopic musical brass journey spanning the last 500 years” – and they certainly delivered on their promise. This was a thoroughly enjoyable performance, that took us to different eras and across different landscapes.

Reflecting the fact that 2018 is the Year of Young People in Scotland, many of the pieces chosen would have been familiar to the audience from childhood years. The concert was very family-friendly (there were quite a number present), and a particularly nice touch was the performers’ acknowledgement and interaction with the children.

Good humour flowed throughout the evening, and ensured a comfortable and easy atmosphere, in which people were able to relax in enjoying the music performed. Each item was helpfully introduced, often with accompanying humorous anecdotes. The repertoire of pieces was incredibly wide-ranging, from ‘Pastime with Good Company’ by Henry VIII, to ‘Tico Tico’ which featured in the closing ceremony of the 2016 Brazilian Olympics.

An upbeat feel was always maintained, and the performance became technically more solid and accurate as it progressed; even the more sombre items, recalling the 100th anniversary of WWI, were enjoyed with a gentle reminiscence of another age and generation.

The musicians had clearly done their homework in researching the history of the pieces, and this was reflected in the how they spoke of and performed them. From the battlefields of France to the highlands of Scotland, there was something in this concert for everyone. The performance finished at 7.35pm.

Brass Tracks Quintet, Monday 13th August, 6.30pm, artSpace@StMark’s

4 star review from The Edinburgh Guide for our Edinburgh Festival Fringe Concert 2018. https://www.edinburghguide.com/festival/2018/edinburghfringe/brasstracksquintetartspacestmarksreview-19450British Bandsman Review : Edinburgh Festival Fringe, August 2017

(Click on link) Dunfermline Press: March 2017

Brass Tracks close Newton Stewart’s Season.

(Click on link). Arran Banner, Review, October, 2015

(Click on link). Arran Banner, Preview Autumn 2015

Brass Tracks first appearance as a group in Glasgow Evening Times, 2013.

Isle of Arran Banner – Concert Review

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.

brass tracks

Website and Digital Media Go Live!

After several weeks of tinkering and refining we are delighted to finally have our website up and running!

We’ve been busy recording audio tracks and filming video content for the site and with the help of Z-Studios, Jacobyte Photography and Morningside Creative Studio we are very happy to announce that the website and the digital media content are now up online to share with you all. A big thank you to Mike Cameron, Fraser Fulton and Stephen Tierney for all their hard work.

We’ll be updating the website regularly with news and event information so please be sure and check back in to find out everything you need to know about what’s going on with Brass Tracks!

We’d also be very interested to get your feedback on the site and the content so please feel free to leave comments and suggestions.

bath comedy festival

Brass Tracks for Bath Comedy Festival?

Anyone who has had the pleasure of seeing the Brass Tracks perform live will be well aware that the members of the quintet consist of one or two frustrated comedians! It is then no surprise that The Bath Comedy Festival is interested in Booking Brass Tracks to play their light entertainment programme this year.

The director of the festival was in Edinburgh for the Fringe Festival and came along to hear ‘Brass Tracks at Teatime’. After the performance he caught up with John and enquired about the possibility of the quintet performing in Bath as part of the Comedy Festival this December. John performs regularly in Bath, most recently with poet laureate Carol-Ann Duffy, and is a big fan of the city.

Brass Tracks are still waiting on the programme for The Bath Comedy Festival to be confirmed so check back at our events page for details.

The festival director will have his work cut out in the coming months trying to figure out how to get a Tuba on an Easyjet flight!

silent movie project

Brass Tracks Silent Movie Project

Brass Tracks, in partnership with The University of West of Scotland, have organised a competition for film students to create a five minute silent film exploring the theme of ‘Scotland After the Referendum’. The winning entries will then have music commissioned and performed by Brass Tracks at Edinburgh festival Fringe 2015.

On September 18th this year Scotland will got to the polls to vote on the question ‘should Scotland be an independent country?’. This is an issue that has been debated for months at dinner tables, workplaces and pubs across the country and provides an exciting opportunity for student filmmakers to explore these themes using the medium of silent film.

The filmmakers will create five minute films for submission which will then be considered by Brass Tracks and University of West of Scotland. Over the course of the next six months the competition will be whittled down to six eventual winners. These six films will then have music commissioned by Brass Tracks from composers resident in Scotland and the finished piece will then be performed as part of Edinburgh Festival Fringe 2015. Brass Tracks will work closely with the competition winners and the composers to create the soundtrack for the silent movie and the finished piece will then be performed live with a narrator linking the six pieces of work.

The upcoming referendum is an exciting time for Scotland and gives artists the platform to explore the issues surrounding the big question of Scottish independence and Britishness in the 21st century. Brass Tracks are excited to see this project come to life and are looking forward to working with the eventual competition winners to create a silent movie snapshot of ‘Scotland After the Referendum’.

We have had a lot of excitement about this project. What direction the films take is of course determined largely by the result on September 18th!.