Grimethorpe Colliery Band (Sunday 30 Jan 11.00am)


Ralph Vaughan Williams Overture Henry the Fifth
Liz Lane Innovation 216
Ray Steadman-Allen Sinfonietta: At the Edge of Time             
Jack Stamp Elegy (In Memoriam Gerard Schurmann)
Buxton Orr Caledonian Suite


David Thornton conductor

Concert supported by The Vaughan Williams Charitable Trust, in memory of Joyce Kennedy.


David Thornton (conductor)

Dr David Thornton is regarded as one of the foremost euphonium players and teachers of his generation and has a global reputation. His work as a soloist, conductor and educator is renowned throughout the brass playing world to have a distinct hallmark of extreme virtuosity, professionalism and an ability to connect with audiences like few others in his field.

His work within the brass band world has seen him at the top flight for almost twenty years. He has held solo euphonium positions with the Fairey Band (1997-2000), the Black Dyke Band (2000-2010) and the Brighouse & Rastrick Band (2011-2015) having won five National titles, three British Opens and one European Championship during this time. David is currently the musical director of the Grimethorpe Colliery Band.

David tutors at the RNCM, the University of Huddersfield and Chetham’s School of Music

Grimethorpe Colliery Band

Formed in 1917, during the First World War, Grimethorpe Colliery Band is a British institution. National and British Open Champions on numerous occasions, the band’s contest successes remain legendary. These include 16 Brass In Concert Championship titles, 11 times Yorkshire Regional Champions, two English National Championship victories, four times British Open Champions and four times National Champion Brass Band of Great Britain.

Grimethorpe’s diverse noted concert performances include those at the FIFA World Cup, BAFTA Awards, BBC Proms, Eurovision and London 2012 Olympic Games Opening Ceremony, together with a wealth of national and international television / radio appearances and professional recordings. The band has been the recipient of two gold discs, as well as a BAFTA nomination for its contributions to the global hit movie ‘Brassed Off’ for which Grimethorpe was the focal point.

The Royal Albert Hall, Symphony Hall, Barbican, Westminster Abbey, European Parliament, Sydney Opera House and more, have all played host to Grimethorpe. With tours to Australia, Hong Kong, Japan, New Zealand, and concerts & festival appearances throughout Europe, the band’s performance reputation remains unsurpassed.

In addition to continuing to delight audiences across the globe, Grimethorpe also continues to invest in and support its local community in Grimethorpe, Barnsley and South Yorkshire, particularly through its youth music initiatives and community performances, both locally and on a national scale.

Programme notes:

Ralph Vaughan Williams - Overture Henry the Fifth

Composed in 1933 for a pageant, this was Vaughan Williams’ first work for full brass band. It  celebrates the victory of Henry over the French at the battle of Agincourt. RVW uses four tunes, two English and two French. Brilliant fanfares (marked quasi trombe, ‘like trumpets’) introduce the 15th-century Agincourt Song, A tender version of the French tune Magali then leads to a French marching song Reveillez-vous, Piccars. A reprise of the fanfares, signal the English victory, which is celebrated in a noble version of William Byrd’s The Earl of Oxford’s March. The work resurfaced in 1980, a year after the manuscript had been unearthed from the British Library by Howard Snell.

Liz Lane - Innovation 216

Innovation 216 is a celebration of the beauty of flight through aspects of Bristol’s aerospace history, from the earliest Bristol Boxkite Biplane to the Blenheim Light Bomber, the Brabazon and Britannia, and Concorde.  Sounds of the aeroplanes as a timeline are represented, in particular wood of the early aircraft, progressing to metal, the rumble and anticipation of engines preparing for take-off, followed by a perspective of Concorde flying high, floating as though a bird (and a nod to the sound of the ‘sonic boom’).  The title represents the industry’s innovation and also relates to Concorde 216 (Concorde Alpha Foxtrot G-BOAF), the last Concorde built and the last ever to fly, returning to Filton Airfield (Bristol) from Heathrow Airport on 26 November 2003. In addition, the music marks the 150th anniversary of the Royal Aeronautical Society in 2016. [LL]

Dr. Lane is Grimethorpe Colliery Band’s Composer-in-Association.

Ray Steadman-Allen - Sinfonietta At the Edge of Time

A contemporary of Malcolm Arnold, Ray Steadman-Allen is best known for his major contribution to the repertoire of The Salvation Army. Within SA circles RSA was regarded as a musical adventurer, pushing the boundaries of hymn tune based music to the limits of contemporary tonal style. The composer writes:

“At the Edge of Time was commissioned for the Camberwell Citadel Salvation Army Band’s 1982 tour of the USA, Great Britain and Europe. The title relates to the promise that Jesus will return as Lord and King eternal. Christians await this Second Coming and their faith is reflected in the strong tune of the first movement –  St Magnus with its associated words ‘The Lord will come and not be slow.’ The central movement features tune When he cometh. The second verse of the children’s hymn linked with that tune begins ‘He will gather, he will gather the gems for his Kingdom’ which win shine ‘like the stars of the morning, His bright crown adorning.’ The final movement of the work is a vigorous scherzo. The tune Zulu Air is featured which is associated in the SA with the words ‘Never fades the name of Jesus, Nor is dimmed by passing time. Jesus’ name is everlasting….’ Later, there is a confession with the tune of Turner (‘We have not loved thee as we ought.’). After a climactic restatement of St Magnus, the music dissolves into a quiet epilogue before building to a dynamic conclusion.”

Jack Stamp - Elegy (In Memoriam Gerard Schurmann)

Currently serving as Grimethorpe’s International Composer-in-Association, Dr. Stamp recently served as visiting professor of music at Luther College (2018). He spent the prior three years as adjunct faculty at UW-River Falls. He recently retired from full-time position as Professor of Music and Director of Band Studies at Indiana University of Pennsylvania (IUP) where he conducted the Wind Ensemble and taught courses in graduate conducting.

This poignant Elegy was written upon hearing of the death of the distinguished film composer Gerard Schurmann. statement. On Solitude and Longing is a textural and at times minimalist look at the process of composing, often meaning a great deal of time spent alone. It is a romantic but slightly melancholy ode to missing those you hold dear. The final movement is called On Hope and Momentum, and is a marginally twisted and possibly sarcastic glance at what the future holds. The promise of good things to come and of striving to attain a the sort self-confidence necessary for a life in music.”

Buxton Orr - Caledonian Suite

The Glasgow-born composer Buxton Orr gave up a career in medicine in the early 1950s to study composition and conducting. His early professional work was in films and in the theatre. His compositions include songs, chamber music, works for brass and wind band, orchestral music and a one-act opera The Wager (1961). In 1965 he joined the staff of the Guildhall School of Music & Drama and in 1975 founded the Guildhall New Music Ensemble. Between 1970 and 1980 he was the conductor of the London Jazz Composers’ Orchestra, touring England and Europe and taking part in the 1972 Berlin Jazz Festival. His music has rather faded from circulation since his death in 1997. This is a pity, especially for the brass band community, because he was particularly adept at lightening his polytonal and serial idiom for amateur musicians without any sense of  ‘writing down’. His John Gay Suite for winds and the four movement Caledonian Suite (1980) are prime examples.