I've had this stuck in my head this week, although I can't think why...
It's been a long time since I've conducted or played for a brass band, but there is some incredible music written for the genre.
The brass band is a curious musical beast: like choirs, they can compete with one another, but there is a ranking system where the bands are organised into sections like football teams. The number of instruments in a band is precisely regimented for these contests and therefore brass band music is arranged and composed with these specific forces in mind. It is not uncommon to see non-contesting bands perform with variations on the number of players per part, but the basic structure of 10 cornets, a flugelhorn, 3 tenor horns, 2 baritones, 2 euphoniums, 3 trombones and 4 basses remains constant. These 25 players are often joined by a varying number of percussionists depending on the requirements of the repertoire.
Traditionally, the British brass band was a strong part of the community, often based around mines and mills.
There is an incredible amount and range of music written for the brass band, but of course one of the main types of music associated with them is the march. Remembrance Day services and summer carnivals are places you will hear the brass band and the march in all their glory.
One of the great exponents of the medium was Goff Richards. As well as writing and arranging for orchestral and choral groups, he was a prolific arranger and composer for the brass band. His work is always great fun to play and put together with extreme knowledge and skill. This march is a fine example of his gift for melody and structure. I'm just not sure why this Barnard Castle march keeps coming back to me this week...