BBC Young Musician 2018 Brass Final

Topline insights from this episode are that I really do quite like Josie D’Arby, and I didn’t pick the winner.

That’s not to say I didn’t agree with the winner. Contrary to some opinion, I’m not a cold-hearted bastard.

What follows are notes, nothing more. It’s been a bit of a demanding few days.

Isobel Dawes. The Malcolm Arnold seemed a little raw – wasn’t convinced she was convinced of her performance when she’d finished. That’s partly do with what is in a way quite an unforgiving camera shot, tight on the face of the performance just as they’ve relaxed their embouchure and, no doubt, every muscle in their body has relaxed too. A similar thing happened at the end of the Bach though this was far more successful – rounder tone, more control. The Jongen entertaining and a solid affair.

Will Thomas – Henze was tight and fascinating. Piazzolla felt thin and vulnerable in places. Cole Porter – gorgeous gorgeous tone. More convinced by Will’s presence on stage. He has a twinkle in his eye.

Michaias Berlouis on trombone. The Semler-Collery – really strong personality comes through in his playing. Were there some intonation issues? Brahms Four Serious Songs No.3 – the long sustained lines gave the impression that this was a significantly more demanding play for Michaias at this point in his performance. I wasn’t hugely engaged in the Lebedev, but I’ll be completely honest, I love the sound of the bass trombone. High-point of the category final so far.

Annemarie Federle. Bissil. Loved this. Fascinating piece which Annemarie seems to own. Moments when I wondered whether her nerves affected the vibrato. Glazunov – gorgeous. Still some nervy shakiness in the vibrato, but I love watching her play. Bozza – that same stillness and poise is evident; she has a riveting elegance about her when she plays.

Sam Dye. Remarkable young man. Great spirit. In the John Kenny, he creates some amazing sounds. Solid. Captivating. Jongen – expansive. Serocki – amazing.

Read notes from the BBC Young Musician Strings, and Woodwind Finals. The semi-final is on Friday 11 May. The grand final is on Sunday 13 May. 

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