Review – Brassed Off – Brassed Onwards

King’s and Queen’s Performing Arts Centre
24 August 2013
Conductor: Karen Knudson
Guests: Calla Knudson-Hollebon (soprano), Joel Amosa (bass-baritone) and Justin Muschamp (soprano cornet)

St Kilda Brass has presented themed concerts in King’s and Queen’s Performing Arts Auditorium over recent years.

Its latest attracted a good-sized audience on Saturday evening for a programme entitled “Brassed Off – Brassed Onwards”. The 1996 film Brassed Off featured a colliery brass band and a national band competition, and a number of Saturday’s items featured in that movie.

Local musician and choral conductor Karen Knudson made her debut as conductor of a brass band, and her daughter, Calla Knudson-Hollebon, was guest soprano soloist, along with bass-baritone Joel Amosa.

Compere for the evening was Peter Stockwell, who introduced each item with historical trivia.

Some brass band test pieces from last century provided a challenge, and seated to one side of Row B, I was more aware of rough edges and blend not always heard with the best of balance, but there were some impressive passages along the way in numbers such as Flowerdale (Sparke), and The Three Musketeers (Hespe).

Amosa’s I Got Plenty of Nuttin’ (Gershwin) and a Toomata arrangement of The Trumpet Shall Sound (Handel) with Invercargill guest, New Zealand soprano cornet champion Justin Muschamp, were highlights.

Knudson-Hollebon (17) gave a credible and professional performance of numbers such as Londonderry and O For the Wings of a Dove, although at times despite subtle amplification, the 26-piece brass band overshadowed some of the beautiful lyrical quality of this emerging soprano.

An arrangement for brass of Mussorgsky’s Night on the Bare Mountainended with one long bar of the most beautiful sound of the entire evening – three muted cornets in harmony, and William Tell Overture at a fast tempo literally became a breathtaking finish to an enjoyable recital.

Elizabeth Bouman

Review taken from the Otago Daily Times (August 27, 2013)

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