We caught up with Leeds Best of Brass compere Simon Lindley ahead of the 2019/20 season which opens at Morley Town Hall on Saturday 19 October with a performance by the Carlton Main Frickley Colliery Band.
What has been the highlight so far of compering the Leeds Best of Brass series?
There have been so very many highlights for me personally as well as professionally that this is a fairly difficult question to answer! But I much enjoy the experience, not least meeting with regular members of the audience and seeing things from their standpoint and that aspect, of course, applies to the musicians as well.
What’s the best and worst things about compering?
The best thing is when you present an introduction or a back announcement to a work that's accurate, interesting, audible to the audience and, above all of the right length (but not in excess of it!) that covers the preparation of the instrumentalists and doesn't keep them, or the audience, waiting for the succeeding piece unless you have a really important piece of background/information that it's essential that they're kept waiting for a minute or two more (but smooth joins are the aim!). The worse thing is looking up and finding you've rambled on and exceeded your sell-by date! For many years, its been my privilege to accompany cornet virtuoso Phillip McCann on the piano and organ - he invariable casts a glance in your direction if it's time to get on with the next piece!
What can the audience expect from a Leeds Best of Brass concert?
Colour, vitality, thrilling sonorities - certainly the magically quiet and the tremendously triumphant volumes are hugely memorable, but the very best bands are those that thrill with controlled levels of intermediate dynamics and invariably manage a mezzo-piano or mezzo-forte with the assurance of their louder and quieter playing....
Can you explain what is so special about listening to a live brass band?
There are a number of significant characteristics unique to brass band scoring, notably the melodic significance of lower sonorities as well as the usual melodic registers as found in a symphony orchestra; thus the best bands have invariable and fascinating interplay between melodies provided by the solo cornet line/s and those of the euphonium. I'm a great lover of the textures that emerge from the baritone/s and the flugel horn as well as the main horn section (the only direct sound invariably found in the symphonic textures of Wagner, Bruckner and others as those of the brass band repertoire).
What’s your favourite piece of brass band music?
I'm not certain about a single favourite, but anything by Eric Ball [especially Resurgam] would be at the top of my list, as well as the original compositions and transcriptions of Goff Richards and Gordon Langford, or course, both of whom I knew; in the more recent compositional field, Paul Lovatt-Cooper and Ben Hollings always have some thrilling and heart-warming to say in their music.
View the Leeds Best of Brass 2019/20 brochure online
Leeds Best of Brass Series 2019/20:
Saturday 19 October 2019 - Carlton Main Frickley Colliery Band
Saturday 16 November 2019 - Tredegar Town Band
Saturday 7 December 2019 - Leyland Band
Saturday 18 January 2020 - Black Dyke Band
Saturday 8 February 2020 - Grimethorpe Colliery Band
Saturday 7 March 2020 - Foden's Band
Saturday 4 April 2020 - Brighouse & Rastrick Band
Saturday 25 April 2020 - Rothwell Temperance Band