Imaginative and Challenging
Philip Wilby -
'Nothing stands still for long ...'
Although Philip Wilby was for several years a violinist with the Covent Garden and Birmingham Symphony orchestras, it is as an imaginative and challenging composer for brass bands and symphonic wind ensembles that he has established his major reputation. A Yorkshireman, born in 1949, Wilby is able to keep close to the heart of brass band activity as a Yorkshire resident -- he is Professor of Composition at Leeds University -- and many of his pieces were written for and featured in British National Championships. This first CD devoted entirely to his music for brass presents a series of contrasting pieces which include two solo songs of a similar musical atmosphere -- one a setting of an Unholy Sonnet by the American poet Mark Jarman, and another a movement from A Brontë Mass first performed in 2007 -- a highly atmospheric setting of words by Branwell Brontë.
Listen -- Wilby: Memory -- A Fragment (Brontë Mass)
(track 6, 2:04-2:53) © 2009 Naxos Rights International Ltd
Wilby exerts impressive control over the nervous energy of A Breathless Alleluia, a tribute to the legendary music director of the Black Dyke Mills band
Listen -- Wilby: A Breathless Alleluia
(track 1, 0:01-1:16) © 2009 Naxos Rights International Ltd
and many demonstrations of his technical wizardry with the band throughout the Paganini Variations, the earliest work on the disc, written in 1991 to a BBC commission.
Listen -- Wilby: Paganini Variations
(track 2, 2:59-4:21) © 2009 Naxos Rights International Ltd
Cyrano is a concertante work built around Rostard's famous drama, with the tuba as its central character, and Amazing Grace, a set of dramatic variations with Philip Gault as the baritone soloist and the composer as organist.
Wilby's Euphonium Concerto, completed in 1995, is both exciting -- as in the lively Greek dance movement 'Zeibekikos'
Listen -- Wilby: Zeibekikos (Euphonium Concerto)
(track 9, 0:00-0:52) © 2009 Naxos Rights International Ltd
and beautifully lyrical in its slower second part.
Listen -- Wilby: Part II: Andante (Euphonium Concerto)
(track 10, 3:51-4:53) © 2009 Naxos Rights International Ltd
Nothing stands still for long in this concert of Wilby's best of brass, and there is far more colour than an invitation to a brass band evening may, for some, suggest!
Copyright © 15 September 2009
CD INFORMATION: PHILIP WILBY: A BREATHLESS ALLELUIA