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‘Brassketeers’ excel in the Burgh Hall

Three ‘Brassketeers’, -Mark O’Keefe (trumpet), Lauren Reeve-Rawlings (horn), and Lewis Bettles (trombone) really excelled themselves at last Sunday’s Cowal Music Club concert in the Burgh Hall.

Their playing was remarkably assured throughout in all respects – sound, accuracy, rhythm, ensemble, dynamics - so much so that their programme , which included some really challenging pieces, arrived effortlessly. All 3 players demonstrated remarkable agility and assurance. It was remarkable too, to learn that Lewis Bettles (BBC Young Musician of the Year Finalist 2014), had stepped in at short notice to play trombone (impeccably!), due to the illness of Cillian O’Ceallachain.

After some beautiful chording in the first piece, ‘Aquales’, dating from 1847 by Bruckner, the following piece by Londoner Peter Longworth, entitled ‘Parade’, sounded quite exhilarating, with some sections perhaps reminding listeners of a part (‘Sunday Morning’) of Benjamin Britten’s opera ‘Peter Grimes’, and including all manner of rhythmic devices. The next work, ‘Voyage’ by Polish-American Robert Muczynski consisted of 7 short but intriguing movements linked by a common vivacity, and were remarkably effective. Three movements arranged from a Bach French Suite for harpsichord concluded the first half of the concert.

The audience were treated to some interesting introductions by the players throughout the afternoon, and these certainly helped keep the audience’s attention, not least, for example, the presentation for English composer Ryan Linham’s work entitled ‘Elements’. This piece has 4 movements entitled Air, Water, Earth, and Fire, and was especially effective, with a great variety of sounds/effects, as well as references to La Mer & Vltava(water), folk music(Earth), and ‘The Firebird’/Stravinsky(Fire). Ryan appears to be a rising (trumpeter) star in London, where, only in his thirties, he teaches at the Brass Academy.

The concert ended in lighter vein with entertaining and lively arrangements by John Mortimer of two Beatles songs – ‘Yesterday’ and ‘Yellow Submarine’, which everyone attending thoroughly enjoyed, -as demonstrated by the prolonged applause.

The next Cowal Music Club concert is scheduled for 19th March, when the Scottish Traditional Music Group ‘The Whistlebinkies’ will perform – definitely a date for the diary!


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