Saturday, 12 April 2014

Sonic Fusion Festival


University of Salford Brass Band
Conductor: Brett Baker
Featuring: David Thornton 
University of Salford
Sunday 6th April

The University of Salford Brass Band’s contribution to the 3rd Sonic Fusion Festival was aptly called ‘International Explorations in Music’. 

The four day event itself involved a variety of performances from students, special guests and members of the University faculty headed by Artistic Director Steve Davismoon, with the brass band, conducted by Brett Baker, featured in a variety of new works from staff and student members.
Prelude to Peter

They opened with a brand new commission by Composition Tutor Dan Price, entitled ‘Prelude for Peter’, which was a musical ‘thank you’ to Peter Graham who retired from the University in February. 

Elements of the well-known compositions of a lecturer who served the university for 22 years were cleverly highlighted, including ‘Essence of Time’‘Shine as the Light’,‘Harrison's Dream’ and ‘Windows of the World’.
Non brass effects

Next was a new composition ‘Underture’ by MA student and Black Dyke percussionist Simon Oliver, which used various non-brass effects such as stamping, loosened valve cap sounds, mouthpiece buzzing and extra percussion.

The three movement work was fresh and uplifting, and like many other pieces featured, will be recorded at the end of the month by the University Band.

David Thornton performed Richard Rock's ‘Dick Tracy’, and wowed the audience with his range, sound and mastery, using a variety of electronic effects operated foot pedals, before he continued to explain some of his DMA research on electronics for solo euphonium showcasing, ‘Nightwalker’ by Kit Turnbull and, ‘Electric Counterpoint’ movements 2 & 3 by Steve Reich. 

The audience was very appreciative of hearing something that was very special, with David now looking forward to a lecture recital at the University of his DMA research later in the year.
Lords of Acid

Richard Rock’s arrangement of, ‘I Sit on Acid’ by Lords of Acid followed, and demonstrated a very different style of brass playing, whilst a brand new piece, ‘A Cotton Mill Worker’, by MA composition student Aaron Wolfe included a voice-over narration and varied sound effects.
Richard Rock’s own, ‘Funk Hop’ took its inspiration from a fusion of funk and hip-hop music used in bands Richard has been involved with.
Robin Dewhurst’s, ‘Ellis Island Lament’ from his ‘Celtic Fusion Suite’ was composed a decade ago and was a reflective work with off stage trumpet played by Leyland Band's Ryan Broad. It gave a complete contrast to some of the more aggressive and exciting earlier performances.
Well delivered

The band concluded with a rendition of Phil Harper’s arrangement of ‘The Incredibles’, from the movie film score by Michael Giacchino, which rounded off a well delivered and thought through programme. 

The concert celebrated the achievements of students and staff, and it was great to see such collaborations between the various disciplines at the University and the fact that many of the composers featured were also playing within the band itself. 

Congratulations to all concerned in what was a very memorable lunch time concert.

Tim France

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