Published on December 1st, 2016 by gavin

Stern Spring Festival Tests Announced

The British Open is pleased to announce the Test Pieces for next year’s Spring Brass Band Festival to be held at The Winter Gardens, Blackpool on Saturday 13th May .

The Test Piece for The Grand Shield will be Stephen Roberts’ ‘Reflections on Swan Lake‘ with Dr Peter Meechan’s ‘Fragile Oasis’ for The Senior Cup and ‘Salute to Youth’ by Gilbert Vinter for the Senior Trophy.

‘Reflections on Swan Lake’ which takes its inspiration from the famous ballet by Pyotr IIyic Tchaikovsky was commissioned for the 2015 British Open. Following its original use, Stephen Roberts has revisited the score and in agreement with the organisers, the bars from the end of bar 473 to the beginning of bar 501 are to be omitted and not performed in any of the performances.

‘Fragile Oasis’ was commissioned by Leyland Band and Michael Bach, and partly funded by The John Golland Trust, for their appearance at the 2013 European Brass Band Championships in Oslo, Norway.

Dr Meechan states that: “Fragile Oasis is the name of a collective who describe themselves as …a grass-roots participatory initiative that connects the shared perspective of astronauts from different countries and cultures with people on Earth, encouraging all to work together so that our planet is not only visibly beautiful, but beautiful for all.”

Many involved in the project are astronauts on the International Space Station (I.S.S.), who post, on their website ( many different details of their experiments, photos from space, and some incredible video footage of our Earth. The work is in five sections and each relating to an aspect of the video – either something literal or something more metaphorical

Gilbert Vinter’s first major composition for brass band appeared in 1962 at the Regional qualifiers for the National Brass Band Championships and was soon to be labelled exciting and different. ‘Salute to Youth’ was used as the British Open in 1985 at the Free Trade Hall and formed part of an illustrious treble by Black Dyke and Major Peter Parkes that year. The suite of three movements, each reflects an aspect of youth. Whilst each of the movements, ‘Resilience’, ‘Romance’ and ‘Relaxation’ stand on their own, together they are musically complimentary but not linked.

The publishers of the three test pieces are as follows:

Reflections on Swan Lake:
Published by Tanglewind Music and available from:
E-mail: [email protected]

Fragile Oasis:

Fragile Oasis

Salute to Youth:
is published by Josef Weinberger and available through Studio Music

A spokesperson for the Spring Festival told A4B: ‘The interest from bands wishing to gain entry to the qualifying contests for The British Open remains as popular as ever with the highest placed band in the Championship Section at Bolsover Festival of Brass and Wychavon Festival of Brass (who is not already invited) and we would like to offer our congratulations to The Shepherd Group and Eccles Borough whose performances in the Championship Section at those competitions earned them an invitation to compete in the Senior Trophy. A further qualification place in the Senior Trophy will be made available for the highest placed band in the Championship Section at next year’s Brass at the Guild on Sunday 29th January.’

Details of the start times, prizes, the competing bands, adjudicators, venues and ticket information will be announced in due course.

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