This issue of Track of the Week is off to the opera with a double-bill of solo features. There is much of the operatic to be found in brass bands, from the use of selections from grand opera as some of the first ever test pieces (all the way back in the 1850s and 60s - some appearing less than a year after their source material was first performed), to the vib-heavy performance style still occasionally seen in use today. The euphonium (trans. ‘sweetvoiced’) is, as its name suggests, often played with a particular sense of the dramatic. This underpins the first choice on this week’s agenda: Nessun Dorma (that’s ‘None shall Sleep’ for all you Italian fans out there), which is dedicated to Elin and her family as they say hello to their brand new bundle of joy. Babies in general have an innate sense of the operatic dimension to everyday life, never being far away from an emotional outburst when tired, hungry, bored, sad, happy, lonely or covered in sweet potato. The heartbreaking climax of the aria Vesti la Giubba (or, ‘On with the Motley’, here in its version for soprano cornet), as the protagonist dons a clown outfit to go on stage alongside an unfaithful wife, can surely only be equalled in intensity by the catastrophic despair of a small person who has not been allowed to have bacon and egg for breakfast. If you thought Mr. Chuckles from Brassed Off was bleak, he has got nothing on this.
Nessun Dorma - Spotify
On with the Motley - Spotify