Vaughan Williams on Brass

Released on 5 August

Tredegar Town Band

Ross Knight Tuba

Ian Porthouse  and Martyn Brabbins Conductors

Paul Hindmarsh Curator & Producer

Steve Portnoi Engineer & Editor

Phillip Littlemore Music consultant

Brangwyn Hall, Swansea, December 2021 / March 2022


For members of the brass fraternity and for those who simply enjoy marvellous melodies, this is for you! 

British Music Society

If one disc from this 150th anniversary is going to make it into my “recordings of the year” I suspect it might well be this.

Music Web International

Two years in the making, Vaughan Williams on Brass celebrates of the 150th anniversary of the great composer’s birth of Vaughan Williams. It has been one of the most satisfying project of many that I have put together over the past 30 years. The recording brings together the two musical passions that I have pursued for half a life-time – British music of the 20th century and brass bands. I have admired the music of Vaughan Williams for decades, but the closer acquaintance over the past couple of years has been a revelation, imparting a deeper understanding of the great man’s stature, originality and influence. My curation of the album sets the three pieces RVW composed for brass band – Henry the Fifth Overture, Prelude on Three Welsh Hymns and Variations for Brass Band – in the context of new arrangements of favourite folksong derived pieces and a brass band  version of the Tuba Concerto.

The production has been a fruitful meeting of minds. Without Phillip Littlemore’s life-long passion for RVW and his skills as an arranger/editor for brass band, the alum could not have happened. His new arrangements of the English Folk Song Suite in the original keys shed new light on a much loved work and his new edition of Variations has cleaned up a noxiously inaccurate original edition. I have also included a couple of my own arrangements (Rhosymedre and The Truth from Above) and a suite from RVW’s first Flik score, 49th Parallel, which Phillip and I assembled in 2008 for the 50th anniversary of the composer’s death.

Tredegar Town Band was on top form for the session, conducted by Musical Director Ian Porthouse with a very special guest conductor, Martyn Brabbins, who conducts Variations. The recording was made in Brangwyn Hall, Swansea and engineered by award-winning tonmeister Steve Portnoi. 

Ian Porthouse has been MD with Tredegar since 2008 and is currently Director of Brass Band Studies at the Birmingham Conservatoire. The release of this album coincides with the band’s two appearances at the BBC Proms ( 8 and 9 August).

Martyn Brabbins began his musical career playing the euphonium. His many recordings include the complete cycle of nine symphonies by Vaughan Williams (for Hyperion) and Albion’s Grammy nominated album Discoveries

The soloist in the Tuba Concerto is Ross Knight, solo tuba player of l’Orchestre de la Suisse Romande and, since September 2022, the Professor of Tuba at the Haute École de Musique de Genève. 

The album was made possible with the generous support of Lord and Lady Kinnock, The Vaughan Williams Charitable Trust, Timbercroft Publishing and PHM Publishing & Production.

ALBCD052    Vaughan Williams on Brass

Track List

  1. Flourish for Band *                                                  1’56

English Folk Songs Suite *

  • i          March: Seventeen Come Sunday                 3’24 
  • ii         Intermezzo: My Bonny Boy                         3’05 
  • iii       March: Folk Songs from Somerset               3’47
  • Sea Songs *                                                               4’06
  • Henry the Fifth                                                        8’38
  • The Truth from Above *                                          4’33
  • Prelude on Rhosymedre                                          3’51
  • Suite from 49th Parallel *                                        14’05
  • Prelude on Three Welsh Hymn Tunes                  7’11

Tuba Concerto in F minor

  1. i          Prelude: Allegro Moderato                           4’30 
  2. ii         Romanza: Andante Sostenuto                      5’17
  3. iii       Finale – Rondo alla tedesca: Allegro           3’18
  4. Variations for Brass Band *                                    11’49

Total playing time:                                                   79’30

* First recordings of arrangement or edition

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