Friday, March 31, 2017

Belgium (Brass Band Buizingen)

Brass Band Buizingen
Brass Band Buizingen is a championship caliber brass band from Halle, Belgium.  They are the cultural ambassadors of Flanders.  The band originated out of a fanfare band from a local porcelain factory in 1879, but the current brass band was founded in 1975.

The current band has won the Belgian and European championships.  The video above is from the 2014 Belgian championships.  This selection is Electra by Martin Ellerby.  The group has worked with many fine soloists, and has recorded several discs of music.  The most familiar name on their soloist roster, for me anyway, is euphonium virtuoso Steven Mead.  I grew up in Professor Brian Bowman's neighborhood so I have a bias for euphonium and tuba soloists.  

This particular group appears to have grown from humble community origins to professional ranks.  I am not sure of the vocations of many of the musicians, but the organization has corporate and private sponsorships available.  It is very possible that the band operates much like a small or mid-sized American orchestra based on the level of advertisements, recording information, and perceived business model.  I wonder if there is government support here too, since they are cultural ambassadors?  

Electra is a test piece written in 2012.  It is one of over 20 original works that Ellerby has written for Brass Band.  He has also written for orchestra, concert band, choir, and chamber ensembles as well.  His Euphonium Concerto is quite stunning, but that is my bias opinion.  Two works that have received some attention here in the States from the concert band world are:  Paris Sketches and Elgar Variations (brass band transcription.)  His fellow countrymen Philip Sparke and Adam Gorb have both received more attention in the States than he has when it comes to concert band music.  I feel, it may have to do with accessibility of performance by our academic ensembles.  

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