Sunday, December 20, 2009


Back in 1990, I fell in love with a piece for solo cornet and band entitled Jubilance. It had everything I like in such a work: driving energy, technical virtuosity, and beautiful lyricism in its interludes. For nearly twenty years, I would find myself tonguing the main theme under my breath whenever I was nervous or excited. (If you want to hear it, perform a YouTube search on 'Phillip Cobb Jubilance'...I'd embed it, but in all honesty the sound quality is somewhat tinny).
Jubilance was just beyond my ability to play on my euphonium, when I was at the peak of my abilities. Which is to say, as solos go, it was mildly to moderately difficult.
My friend Craig, who is a professional trumpeter and phenomenal musician, sent me link on Facebook a month or so ago, to a piece by the Black Dyke Band called Immortal. I've ripped this to my iPod, searched (so far in vain) for a way to buy it, and played it incessantly, and now I'd like to share it with you.

Black Dyke, formerly the Black Dyke Mills Band, is the preeminent brass band in the world. Over their 154 year history, they've won countless awards. This piece, by Paul Lovatt-Cooper, taxes even can see some thinly veiled looks of relief as some particularly impossible passages are surmounted and I swear I hear at least two flubbed notes (though in a piece like this I can't be 100% certain).

At 4:50, the principal cornet, Richard Marshall, embarks on a truly magnificient solo of such unmatched lyricism it nearly brings a tear to my eye (and how he just sings out those high Ds without the slightest strain!)

This is just a stunning work from beginning to end. Even if you've never played a brass instrument, you owe it to yourself to hear this. It is, truly, immortal.

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