Tredegar Town Band (Saturday 29 Jan 3.00pm)


Ralph Vaughan Williams Flourish for Brass

Ralph Vaughan Williams English Folk Song (first performance of new performing editions by Phillip Littlemore)

i. March: Seventeen Come Sunday
ii. Intermezzo: My Bonny Boy
iii. March: Folk Songs from Somerset

Simon Dobson Shift (Trombone Concerto No 1)

i. On Frustration and Confusion
ii. On Solitude and Longing
iii. On Hope and Momentum

Ralph Vaughan Williams (arr Paul Hindmarsh) Rhosymedre (from Three Preludes founded on Welsh Hymn Tunes)

Judith Bingham These are our Footsteps

Ralph Vaughan Williams Variations for Brass Band (first performance of new performing edition by Phillip Littlemore)


Peter Moore trombone
Ian Porthouse conductor

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

Peter Moore’s appearance is supported by Getzen.

Peter Moore (trombone)

Peter Moore astounds international audiences with expression directly from the soul and masterful technique, complimented by his boundless versatility and instant personal connection. He has leapt from rising star to become one of the key exponents of his instrument.

In 2018/19 as part of the ECHO Rising Stars Scheme, Moore gave recitals at venues throughout Europe, and has undertaken recital tours across China, Japan, Korea, Australasia and South America, exhibiting a wide range of repertoire from early Baroque music to romantic Lieder transcriptions, whilst introducing new audiences to original trombone works.

As a soloist, Moore has appeared with the LSO, BBC Symphony Orchestra, BBCNOW, BBC Concert Orchestra, Ulster Orchestra, Lucerne Symphony and Polish Chamber Orchestra. He is featured frequently on BBC Radio 3 and was a New Generation Artist between 2015-2017. He has given multiple performances at the Wigmore Hall and in 2018 made his US debut at the Spoleto festival. World premieres by Francisco Coll, Roxanna Panufnik and the UK premiere of James Macmillan’s Trombone Concerto signify Peter’s desire to bring the trombone to the forefront of contemporary music.

Peter came to national attention in 2008 at the age of twelve when he became the youngest ever winner of the BBC Young Musician. He is the Principal Trombone of the London Symphony Orchestra, where he has been a member since 2014. Alongside his performing career, he is Professor of Trombone at the Royal Academy of Music and Guildhall School of Music and Drama.

Ian Porthouse (conductor)

Ian Porthouse is regarded as one of the brass band movement’s leading conductors, educators, performers and teachers. The Head of Brass Band Studies at Birmingham Conservatoire hails from a musical family in the heart of Cumbria, where he became principal cornet and a founder member of the Cumbria Youth Brass Band.

His first connection with Tredegar Band came in 1995 when he became principal cornet and conductor of their youth band, before moving north two years later to become principal cornet of Yorkshire Building Society Band.

In 2008 he made his long awaited return to Wales when he accepted the position as Musical Director of Tredegar Band – a move that has since seen them become one of the world’s leading contest and concert ensembles; winning a unique Grand Shield/British Open ‘double’ in 2010 and consecutive All England Masters International titles in 2011 and 2012.

Those achievements saw Tredegar voted ‘Band of the Year’ and Ian voted ‘Conductor of the Year’ by the influential online magazine in 2010, whilst under his direction they have also released critically acclaimed CD recordings and in 2015 performed alongside the Rambert Ballet Company at Sadler’s Wells.

Tredegar’s current position as the number 5 ranked band in the world has been substantiated by further major championship success under Ian’s direction.

Tredegar Town Band

The origins of Tredegar Town Band can be traced back to 1849, although it wasn’t until 1876 following victory at the Welsh National Eisteddfod that they were formally constituted. Over the last 40 years they have become one of the world’s elite performers – as well as multiple winners of major competitions; claiming the British Open title in 2010 and again in 2013. Voted 4Barsest ‘Band of the Year’ with MD Ian Porthouse ‘Conductor of the Year’ in 2010, they continue to represent the town that bears their name with pride. This was literally so with the 2014 BAFTA Award winning film, ‘Pride’ where they provided a major part of the musical score and made a cameo appearance.

The band continues to enhance its reputation for innovative artistic collaborations – performing at the ‘Changing Britain’ retrospective at the Southbank in London, whilst their ‘Dark Arteries’ recording was awarded 2015 ‘CD of the Year’ from every leading brass band publication – a feat repeated in 2016 with the critically acclaimed ‘War Memorials’ release.

2016 saw further success – winning both the televised Band Cymru title and becoming Champion Band of Wales for the eleventh time. In May, 2017 they came 5th at the European Championship in Ostende. In 2017 they received a substantial Heritage Lottery Fund award to develop a multi-media project to celebrate their 140 year musical history.

Programme notes:

Vaughan Williams on Brass

Through his excursions into the English countryside collecting folk songs in the first decade of the 20th century,  Ralph Vaughan Williams established a distinctive and democratic voice for the British music of his time. As one obituary writer opined in 1958, ‘he found in folk song the affirmation of his musical philosophy: that music is a “spiritual necessity” and that the making of music is not just the prerogative of the chosen few”.  The essence of folk song, in particular its modality, became absorbed into the DNA of his instantly recognisable compositional voice. His prolific work list is full of music founded on folk song, from simple harmonisations and choral settings to music for wind and brass fashioned for musical pageants popular between the two world wars. In 1939 he composed the most substantial of many flourishes or fanfares  in modal, hymn tune style for the opening of the pageant Music and the People at the Royal Albert Hall. The music disappeared after that but in 1971 Roy Douglas found it in the British Museum (now Library) and edited the wind band original. He also made a brass band adaptation, which appears to be lost, so to open Tredegar Town band’s concert, expert arranger and RVW fan Phillip Littlemore has prepared a new version of this stirring tune.

The English Folk Song Suite for military band (1923) is one of RVW’s most popular works, and was subsequently arranged for orchestra by his pupil Gordon Jacob and for brass band by Frank Wright. This version has become a popular test piece for third and fourth section bands. However, being pitched a fourth below RVW’s keys, it lacks the light, bright colour profile of the original.  With the permission of the publishers and the RVW Trust, Phillip Littlemore has fashioned a new performing edition in the original keys, thus transforming the sound of the music on band but making it somewhat harder to play!

In 1920, RVW published Three Preludes for Organ founded on Welsh Hymn Tunes, the second of which Rhosymedre (or Lovely), based on a melody by Rev. John Edwards of Ruabon,  N. Wales,  is the best known. Vaughan Williams weaves some lovely strands of modal counterpoint around it. In 2008 Paul Hindmarsh made this brass band version in collaboration with senior RNCM students as part of a brass arranging course.

A ‘composer for the people’ like RVW might have been expected to write more original music for brass band. Truth be told, he preferred the bracing tone of trumpets and trombones to, as he wrote in his note to the score of Henry V, ‘the vulgar sentimental vibrato which disfigures most brass band performances’.  However, that all changed in 1953, when he heard the International Staff Band of the Salvation Army playing in Dorking. He loved the expressive sincerity of the playing and variety of tone they produced under Bernard Adams. He composed Prelude on Three Welsh Hymn Tunes for them and four years later one of his final works was Variations for Brass Band.  Philip Catelinet assisted the great man in the scoring of the Prelude. That task went to Frank Wright for the Variations and the association proved to be rather difficult. Both score and parts are littered with errors and inconsistencies that have not been fully addressed until now. For a recording of Variations made last month, Tredegar Town Band used a new performing edition prepared by Phillip Littlemore, who explains how it came about:

“I have studied and conducted the Variations over many years and was aware of the plethora of mistakes in both the score and parts. With the help of a colleague from the US, Dr. Stephen Allen, who had also found a handful of errors, we began to put together an errata list. Much of the work was carried out by studying the printed score. However, I had been aware for some time of manuscript sketches in The British Library and so, as the recording approached, I thought I would take a look at these to see if they shed any further light on the work. To my surprise one of the books turned out to be a fully notated brass band score. There are some major differences in scoring between the original manuscript and the final published version, but I had to ignore these assuming that these changes were made by Frank Wright and likely authorised by RVW. That said, there were discrepancies in both notes and rhythms that could only have been made by incorrectly copying from the original score, which were further exacerbated by copying errors in the final published version. The corrections do not alter the music significantly, although those with a keen ear will notice some subtle changes.”

Simon Dobson - Shift (Trombone Concerto No 1)

The brass band music of Simon Dobson, who turned 40 at the end of last year,  is now part of the repertoire of bands world-wide. His approach brings together many different musical ‘worlds’ – from classical to jazz, rock and contemporary. Shift was commissioned by Paul Hindmarsh, with funds from Brass Band Heritage Trust and the PRS for Music Foundation for Peter Moore to play here at the RNCM 10 years ago. The composer writes:

“The first movement, On Frustration and Confusion, is a dissonant, jazzy and aggressive race through feelings of disquiet and the perception of the unsettling hectic nature of the modern world as a musician. The movement is built on a row that is heard in the trombone soloist’s opening 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.”

Judith Bingham - These are our Footsteps

Between 1992 and 2000 Yorkshire born Judith Bingham composed four brass band works for concert performance.  The works are amongst the most inventive and personal to have been composed for the medium in the last 30 years, but their composition and reception has not been without controversy. In 2003 there was significant and at times vociferous resistance to her 1995 BBC Commission Prague, being used as a regional test piece.  This is the composer’s view of her brass band history:

“In the late 1980s I was approached by Bram Gay of Novello’s to write a band piece and came up with a piece called Brazil. I thought it was pretty lousy and unusually for me, withdrew it. I had made all the classic mistakes, it was bottom heavy and I just didn’t rate it but I immediately received two commissions on the back of it and wrote Four Minute Mile for Leyland to perform at the BBC Festival of Brass and The Stars above, the Earth below for The Royal Northern College of Music Band. After that I thought that’s it, I am not doing anymore brass band music but immediately got the commission for Prague in 1995 and in spite of vowing once again that I was finished with bands wrote These are our Footsteps in 2000 for the Guildhall and RNCM bands.  The thing is it’s such hard work producing them but when you hear the way the bands play it is just so exciting!”