As the title suggests, this collection is a live recording of a concert held at Boscombe Salvation Army in February this year, on which both bands are featured individually before joining forces for the final four tracks.
Boscombe gets the event underway with Stephen Bulla’s intriguing march, Star Lake 70, which seems all very well until the original and best Star Lake march by Eric Ball is heard three tracks later. Brett Baker is on sparkling form as the guest soloist in Bruce Broughton’s Sarah, and Boscombe closes its set with an accomplished reading of Peter Graham’s Dance Before the Lord.
Following the aforementioned Star Lake, Foden’s is at its brilliant best in Ray Steadman-Allen’s three-movement work, Starmaker (a lot of ‘stars’ on show here), and one of the few illuminating facts from the rather perfunctory programme notes is that we might hear it as a test-piece one day, which really is something to look forward to, as there hasn’t been enough RSA on the contest platform.
Alan Fernie’s New Grandfather Clock is next on the programme, played with typical virtuosic panache by Glyn Williams, with excerpts of Frolic for Trombones, William Tell, Chopsticks, Pie Jesu, Stars and Stripes Forever and Alpine Echoes thrown in along the way for good measure. All good fun, but this is one that would have worked much better on DVD.
Eric Ball’s Song of Courage completes the Foden’s set in magnificent style and the massed bands lead the congregation in Peace in Our Time before Brett Baker gives a beautiful, reflective performance of Howard Snell’s Oration.
Variants on The Triumph of Peace is RSA’s tribute to Eric Ball, and a fitting one it is too, likewise providing a fitting and rousing finale before the benediction, John Rutter’s The Lord Bless You and Keep You.
Despite the obviously crowded stage, the recording is of a high standard, as is the playing throughout the concert. The result is an excellent CD well worth listening to.
British Bandsman, Saturday 19th July 2008