Lloyd, Cuthbert Howard, arr. Alan Fernie

We’ve had a march, some film music, a couple of solos and a few test pieces, so it should come as no surprise that this edition of Track of the Week is moving on to tackle a further mainstay of the brass band repertoire - the ‘slow’ item. Readers’ opinions may differ, but speaking personally I have often had a bit of a love-hate relationship with these sorts of pieces, particularly when used in any sort of competitive setting. It only takes words like ‘elegy’, ‘nocturne’ or ‘romanza’ cropping up at the top of the page to get the goggle-eyed obsessives leaning forward in their seats, smacking their lips at the prospect of calling out every last split, fluff, or intonational inexactitude that is no doubt shortly to ensue. Persecution complexes aside, however, there are one or two mostly quiet and slow pieces out there that I do enjoy. Indeed, one of the nicest pieces of musical feedback I’ve ever received came from a gentleman who used to live next door to the rehearsal room of a band of which I was previously a member, who said that his favourite things to listen to every week were the hymn tunes we used to play at the start of each practice. Sir - if you are reading this, I don’t know if you purposefully went out every week after we’d put the red books away, but either way I salute you on your excellent taste.

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