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Best of Brass in Surrey

Despite the competing attraction of Guilfest with its headliner Sam Ryder, there was a near capacity audience for Friary’s joint concert with the Surrey Brass ensemble at Christ Church, Guildford last Saturday evening.


After jointly opening the programme with the fanfare from Janacek’s Sinfonietta, Friary played their set ranging from Berlioz to Lionel Ritchie and including Thames and Rockall from their innovative Brass in Concert programme.  Peter Meechan’s moving Song of Hope, featuring Friary’s Richard Straker and Hannah Richards and Michael Chapple from Surrey Brass, ended the first half.


Surrey Brass - modelled on the acclaimed Philip Jones Brass Ensemble - took the floor for the second half, again with a varied programme including Gabrielli’s antiphonal Canzon Duodecimi Toni, Joplin’s Easy Winners and conductor Jonathan Spencer’s arrangement of Butterworth’s The Banks of Green Willow:  an appropriate choice of composer for Armed Forces Day, given Butterworth was awarded the Military Cross but was killed on The Somme before receiving it.

The joint concert brought together Friary’s Richard, Lauren and Chris Straker with Richard and Chris’ brother Michael, trombonist with Surrey Brass and the ‘Straker quartet’ was featured in Sondheim’s Company.  Joint items of Bach’s Toccata and Fugue, Leuona’s Malaguena and Fillmore’s Rolling Thunder, played at breakneck speed, brought the evening to a rousing conclusion.

Friary chairman David Wicks commented: ‘This concert was postponed from last year due to lack of a suitable venue, but It was certainly well worth waiting for!  The talent of Surrey Brass was evident and the contrasting programmes together with the various joint items made for a marvellous celebration of brass music,’ he added.  

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